UP Catholic 04 01 2016 E Edition Page 5

L ike many other Sparty fans, I was left stunned, disbelieving, shocked and saddened by Michigan States unlike- ly exit in the first round of the NCAA mens basketball tournament. As the final seconds ticked off, and upstart Middle Tennessee State, a mid-major many people had not even heard about, dribbled out the clock. In that moment, the magic of the NCAA tournament, the air in my basketball bubble, seeped out in one collective gasp. Yet, in a magical kind of way, one that defines inter- collegiate athletes and sym- bolizes the rebirth associated with the Easter season, a freen and white story in the Detroit Free Press grabbed my attention. My sorrow soon turned to joy. Within hours of witnessing a monumental upset that left me deflated, basketball was relegated to just that: a game. Senior Matt Costello of the Spartans isn't an All-Ameri- can. A hard-working post player, Costello isn't a player whose next gig will likely be hang- ing with the big men in the NBA. What he is, though, is someone with a heart bigger than his size-12 sneaker. MacKale McGuire of Cadillac stole that heart earlier this season. The 11-year-old boy bat- tling cancer became a good friend to Costello, who gladly assumed the unenviable roll of big brother to a child fighting for his life. MacKale, born with hemophilia, a genetic bleeding disorder, was diagnosed in early Oc- tober with osteosarcoma. Eleven weeks of chemotherapy began almost immediately, followed by leg surgery and more chemotherapy. The heartfelt Free Press story said he lost his appetite, experienced fever and nausea. Watching sports and reading sports stories were MacKales diversion. MSU is his favorite team. In the hospital, the staff had to schedule testing around MSU sports. Enter Costello, introduced to MacKale by the latters aunt who had a nephew on the var- sity basketball team in Cadillac. They video chatted for a few minutes and a beautiful rela- tionship was born. Costello asked for MacKales phone number and text messages soon started flying. Said Costello in the Free Press story: I thank the Lord for putting me in that position and giving me somebody like MacKale that I can talk to try to give me pur- pose. We play a silly game with a ball and some hoops and he's fighting for his life. It just puts things in perspective. During the season, McGuire sat in Costello's chair in the Spartan locker room. Together, they went through items in his locker, includ- ing a pair of green shoes from the 2012 season that were now his to keep. Costello escorted him to the practice gym and to coach Tom Izzo's office. He made the young boy feel special, wanted, a part of the Spartan family. The relationship with Costello helped Mac Kale get through the treatments, the tough times. His mother said Matt had been a special angel that God had sent to distract MacKale and bring a smile to his face. The fitting end piece to the story? MacKale found out on Christmas Day (what else?) that he would attend an MSU basketball game with his grandparents. After the game, Costello rec- ognized MacKale and gave him a big hug. We, in turn, can feel it. When we read stories like this, were quick to forget final scores. Wins and losses mean little. And, as Costello said, we develop perspective. God does indeed work in mysterious ways. Certainly, MSU's upset loss will stay with Costello and his teammates for a while. The relationship Costello built with the young boy, however, will be life-lasting. (Editor's note: LaJoie is a member of St. Paul Parish in Negaunee. He welcomes reac- tions to his column at jlajoie@charter.net.) www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY April 1, 2016 5 CAMP INDEPENDENCE: SUMMER CAMP COUNSELORS AND LIFEGUARDS: MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN SOMEONE'S LIFE! Counselors and Lifeguards needed for Camp Independence, a one-week recreational summer camp for adults with physical disabilities. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, enthusiastic, responsible, and enjoy working with adults. Dates of camp are August 19-27, 2016. Salary, room and board, and a very personally rewarding experience! For information contact : Bay Cliff Health Camp at (906) 345-9314 or baycliff@baycliff.org, or visit us at www.baycliff.org or www.facebook.com/baycliff SUMMER CAMP EMPLOYMENT: COUNSELORS and ACTIVITY INSTRUCTORS are needed for summer camp for children with disabilities. Located on the shores of Lake Superior in Big Bay, MI. Must be enthusiastic, responsible, and love children. Camp dates are June 12 through August 7. Earlier start dates and later end dates are possible. Salary, room and board, and a wonderfully rewarding experience provided. For information contact: Bay Cliff Health Camp at (906) 345-9314 or baycliff@baycliff.org, or visit us at www.baycliff.org or www.facebook.com/baycliff e-claim Your Health! R If you are a Physician, health & fitness professional or an organization that specializes in one or more of these areas... Join us! For rate information contact: Deacon Steve 1-866-452-5112 Email: upc@new.rr.com AD SPACE DEADLINE: APRIL 18TH In our May 6th Health & Fitness Issue! Rvbmjuz gvsojuvsf bu xipmftbmf qsjdft A Catholic family owned & operated company since 1979 Members of the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan Ejojoh Sppn Pggjdf Gvsojuvsf Nbuusfttft Vqipmtufsfe Tfut Ljudifo Dbcjofut Cbuisppn Dbcjofut Cfesppn Mjwjoh Sppn Cretens Furniture Factory & Showroom Qfsljot Spbe Qfsljot NJ xxx dsfufotgvsojuvsf dpn N G Tbu Mpehf Dbnq boe Dpuubhf tuzmf gvsojtijoht MSU player's compassion takes sting out of NCAA loss FROM THE SIDELINES Jim LaJoie WITHIN HOURS OF WITNESSING A MONUMENTAL UPSET THAT LEFT ME DEFLATED, BASKETBALL WAS RELEGATED TO JUST THAT: A GAME.

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