Parent athletes share lessons learned on and off the field

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Gabrielle Wheeler '23

The Parents’ Association’s panel of parent athletes share their experiences, challenges, and successes.

The Parents’ Association’s Fathers’ League presented a panel December 10 consisting of parent athletes who shared their experiences, challenges, and successes in their respective athletic careers.  The panel, moderated by junior Dylan Drury, featured Sacred Heart parents Mr. Scott Bacigalupo P’24, ’25, Mr. Christopher Drury P’22, ’28, Mr. Nick Greisen P’27, and, Mr. Douglas Brown P’19.

Each of the panelists grew up with early exposure to athletics, allowing them to develop a passion for sports.  Mr. Drury grew up in Trumbull, Connecticut with a hockey rink and baseball field in close proximity to his home. The accessibility of a training facility and community fostered his love of hockey.  Mr. Drury currently works in the sports industry as assistant general manager of the New York Rangers. 

Mr. Scott Bacigalupo reflects on his athletic experiences as a freshman in college.  Gabrielle Wheeler ’23

Both of Mr. Brown’s parents were teachers at New England preparatory schools.  In the first ten years of his life, he lived at five different campuses.  During the school year, he always had a hockey rink within 100 yards of his house and a lacrosse field within 50 yards.

Mr. Greisen grew up in a small town in Wisconsin with an older brother.  He had the ability to tag along with his older brother and his friends, playing all kinds of sports.  Much like the other panelists, Mr. Bacigalupo expressed that sports played a key role in his childhood. 

“It was constant.  Everyday we were figuring out what we were doing, what sport we were going to play,” Mr. Bacigalupo said.

Much of the panel discussion focused on the importance of healthy athleticism, especially in the later years.  Mr. Bacigalupo went to Princeton University as a freshman to play football and lacrosse.  He advises having a game plan before arriving at college.  College will not only be a new series of challenges in terms of being away from home to maintaining healthy habits, but also in adjusting to the level of commitment and work that college athletes put toward their success.

“It’s really important that when you show up, freshman year in college, for me, and really you have to have some thoughts, how do I want to do this, how do I want to prioritize, how do I want to structure my day, and how do I need to figure out, not only going to school every day and studying, but how do I figure out practice,” Mr. Bacigalupo said. 

For students who may not have an interest in college athletics or becoming a professional athlete, the panelists shared lessons that hold true for all regarding teamwork and support systems. 

“What’s great about any sports team, is that hopefully you all have the same goal and you are all working toward that goal and willing to put your own successes to the side to help the team accomplish whatever it is that they’re trying to accomplish,” Mr. Greisen said.  “Sometimes that’s why people think athletes are a great fit for their organizations and that’s who they want to hire because sometimes, you see what the prize is at the end of it and you’re willing to sacrifice the things needed to go and get that and sustain and accomplish what that goal is.”

Mrs. Lisa Fallon ’89, P’22, ’25 thanks the panelists for sharing their experiences with the Sacred Heart community.  Gabrielle Wheeler ’23

Not all athletes end up with a professional career, but few want to give up their sport.  As the panelists shared, there are many ways to continue to stay involved in your sport without actually playing the sport.  Mr. Drury coached his son in hockey when his son was younger and Mr. Bacigalupo runs the Bronxville youth lacrosse program.  After Mr. Greisen’s career-ending knee injury, he connected with a United States football program that teaches children how to properly tackle.  He has since stayed a part of the athletic community with a career in insurance for athletes.  Similarly, Mr. Brown found himself coaching his children’s hockey and lacrosse teams after his retirement.

“Nothing I enjoy more than teaching the children how to be good people and play the sport they love,” Mr. Brown said. 

Mr. Greisen offered parting advice for students considering collegiate and professional athletic careers. 

“Any advice I would give to somebody who is either going to go to college and not have your family around, or play professionally and you’re not going to have your family there because you’re out there to do a job, is to maintain your faith,” Mr. Greisen said.  “That was one thing that kept me, was I was never alone, I had my faith that I took with me everywhere I went.  So I think that’s something that you should definitely take advantage of and that you are able to do and learn here at Sacred Heart.”

Featured Image by Gabrielle Wheeler ’23