SAN ANTONIO – Competitors who stand opposite each other on the line of scrimmage were working side by side on Labor Day at the Guadalupe Community Center on a joint project ahead of Saturday’s Holy Bowl at Alamo Stadium.
The idea, proposed by Paul Garro, president of Central Catholic High School, was for Central Catholic and its rival, Holy Cross of San Antonio, to team up to serve the common good.
At first, “People were questioning, 'What is this? What’s this about?' This is new. This is change," Garro said.
Football practice was never like what both teams were asked to do on a hot, humid day. They prepared a garden to grow organic produce for the community center’s food pantry, hand-painted signs with spiritual messages, washed windows and painted walls.
“No one ever thought that on game week that we’d actually be working together as teammates in a sense,” said John Montelongo, a linebacker for the Central Catholic Buttons.
“I get to make a new friend here that I’ve never met before," said John Olivares, who plays for the Holy Cross Knights as a running back and other positions.
Montelongo and Olivares were each putting a fresh coat of paint on handrails leading to the community center’s entrance.
Polo Botello, a coach and teacher at Holy Cross, said he hopes the players will understand the importance of what they did.
“Yes, we played a football game together, but we did something bigger for our community,” Botello said.
“Look at us and see what we’re doing. Maybe older people will change their perspective of the world and want to help people who are less fortunate," said Kalijah Michael, a Holy Cross middle linebacker.
Photo Courtesy: Catholic Charities