By Thomas M. Loarie

BOOK REVIEW: Filling the Vacuum: “Have a Purpose” & “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.”

September 15, 2015
Column: CEO Learnings

Sports and Faith: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is the third Pat McCaskey authored book I have reviewed. The first two were Bear with Me: A Family History of George Halas and the Chicago Bears, and the Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships. McCaskey knows the power of the pen and appears to subscribe to Samuel Johnson’s belief that writing can be a force for moral improvement.

Sports and Faith will broaden one’s range of awareness and provide an occasion for introspection. In it, McCaskey writes about the integration of faith in his life and in the lives of others who share a love for sports.

McCaskey’s grandfather, George Halas, found the Chicago Bears and helped create the NFL. Many of the early pro football pioneers – Halas, Art Rooney (Steelers), and Tim Mara (Giants) – were faith-based. “The early football pioneers needed great faith and courage just to hang on!” he notes.

In addition to playing an active role with the Chicago Bears, McCaskey helped create Sports Faith International which honors high school, college and professional athletes, coaches and teams that epitomize the integration of faith into their life or organization. He also created WSFI, a Catholic radio station (88.5 FM) serving northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.

“WSF, launched in December 2013, offers Christian programming that promotes the faith. Both Sports Faith International and WSFI are reminders that God performs miracles for people of faith who diligently work together,” says McCaskey, adding that he is “hopeful that the world will not end until WSFI has paid off its bank loans!”

In his latest book, McCaskey draws on his years in high school, college and professional athletics as well as his work with Sports Faith International to provide more than 60 short stories and biographies. Included are stories about Dave Casper, Jeremy Lynn, Josh McCown, Bob Cousy, Stan “the Man” Musial, Bob Ladouceur (DeLaSalle High School), Bill Casey, Fran Willet, Mike McCoy, Howie Long, Jamie Moyer, three religious who gave up sports careers (Burke Masters, Michael Lightner, and Grant Desme), three martyrs (Dr. Jerry Umanos, John and Gary Gabel) who died in cold blood at the foot of a cross in Afghanistan), and intimate portraits of the Halas-McCaskey family.

Hi chapter titles give us a glimpse into McCaskey’s inner life:

  • One Spirit, One Body
  • Seasons of Faith
  • Prayer and Work
  • For the Sake of the Call
  • We are Humbled
  • A Journey to Faith
  • Where Would I Be
  • Paying it Back
  • My Strength and My Shield
  • Good Works and Good Health
  • Promoting Sports and Virtue
  • Serve the Lord
  • Faith by Example

Sports and Faith includes Biblical stories, Pat’s quirky poems (they grow on you) and some of his creative writings. It is a fun read.

Recently, I have received a number of books to review that are, I believe, trying to fill a vacuum today in our culture. These books are focused on character, integrity and authenticity. Sports and Faith, however, is the only one that highlights these qualities in the world of athletics, an area that touches so many of our youth and young adults. It is a welcome and much needed addition to the conversation.

McCaskey closes with remembrances of his grandfather and includes some of the truisms his grandfather passed along. Two that resonated for me were “many people flounder about in life because they do not have a purpose” and “nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.”  It is clear that Pat McCaskey is a good steward of the Halas-McCaskey tradition as he has a purpose, and he gives his best at all times.



Thomas M. Loarie is the CEO of BryoLogyx, a rotating host of THE MENTORS RADIO SHOW, and a senior editorial advisor and columnist for Catholic Business Journal. He may be reached at

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