Coaches discuss what it means to be a Marauder in 2020

Plank Article Matt Parks ’21

Established in 1963, Jesuit High School Sacramento’s mascot was chosen to be the Marauders. This fall the significance and meaning of that mascot was explored by various perspectives within the Jesuit Community  — each member asked a variation of “In 2020, what does it mean to you to be a Marauder?” Over the next few weeks, the responses will be released in a series of articles  — this first one visits the perspectives of Jesuit’s coaches.

Jesuit High School Sacramento has long been known as a parochial powerhouse in athletics. While victories are often credited to athletic skill, coaches have emphasized the importance of character. To start the conversation on what it means to be a Marauder, coaches give their insights on what it is to act as one, both on and off the field. 

In 2020, diverging ideologies, social isolation, and a global pandemic have shaken lives around the country. Cross Country Assistant Coach and Science Teacher Nick Lai sees a Marauder as being connected to the community, especially this year. 

“This year, being a Marauder highlights what it means to be men and women for others in a time when it may be the most difficult to do so,” Coach Lai said. “It means being available to help those around us, realizing we are all going through different stages of anxieties and mental and physical hardships. It means being open to others and opinions different from ours and understanding that everyone’s experiences are valid and unique. It also means that we sacrificed and continue to sacrifice things that we were looking forward to in order to keep others safe and healthy, and that we recognize and appreciate the sacrifices of others.” 

A major part of Jesuit is the development of brotherhood bonds — something that is exemplified by role models. P.E. Teacher and Head Varsity Football Coach Marlon Blanton relays his part in helping student-athletes develop what he sees as Marauder attributes. 

“My job [is] to assist the student-athlete in finding the best version of himself and then be that constantly and consistently,” Coach Blanton explained. “A Marauder must be willing to be a part of an environment where we can build meaningful relationships that allow us as people to be ourselves and accepting of one another. The best part of being a Marauder is when the Brotherhood is no longer conditional, it simply becomes unconditional. That is true ‘Marauderhood.’ The spirit of acceptance.” 

When reflecting on what it means to be a Marauder, Sports Performance Coordinator Coach Jay Nacionales thinks of the John Wooden quote: “How you run the race — your planning, preparation, practice, and performance — counts for everything. Winning or losing is a by-product, and aftereffect, of that effort.”

“I strive to continue to be a resource to students, faculty & staff and take opportunities that are presented to better myself and better those around me,” Coach Jay said on how being a Marauder manifests in him. 

A coach for basketball, swimming, and track over the course of his 41-year career, Head Varsity Soccer Coach and History Teacher Mr. Paul Rose explains how being a Marauder is intertwined with camaraderie and prepares students on how to approach situations in life. 

“To be a Marauder means working together toward common goals,” Mr. Rose said. “It means enjoying success when it happens and picking up teammates or classmates when things don’t go well. High School is important because of all the life lessons that it provides for students. How we respect and interact with people in life; how we handle successes (with humility) and failures (with grace); how we embrace our relationship with God… all of this will determine the true value of our life and our value as a Jesuit grad. This is what it means to be a Marauder… whether challenged by COVID-19, our current political environment, or smoke… how we hold to our core values and care for our fellow humans is the measure of our ‘Marauder-ness.’” 

For Mr. Timothy Kelly, the head varsity basketball coach, director of student activities, and social sciences teacher, the attributes of a Marauder are timeless and a necessity for navigating the complexities of 2020. 

“I think being a Marauder in 2020 is about developing a lot of self-discipline and perseverance where we continue to work hard through uncomfortable times,” Mr. Kelly said. “It is also about being a man for others by following the virus mitigation rules we have at school and in our communities to help take care of each other. And, as always we continue to be good to each other. Being kind, working hard and being thankful never goes out of style! It worked in 1963, it works in 2020 and it will work in 2050.” 

JV Golf Coach Father Aaron Engbretson agrees with Mr. Kelly, citing that the meaning of Marauder has not changed since the school’s original founding.

“Being a Marauder means listening to how Jesus is calling you to more closely imitate his life,” Fr. Engebretson said. “It does not matter if it’s 1963 or 2020 the call is always the same.”

For Jesuit coaches, the meaning of what it is to be Marauder encompasses teamwork, community, kindness, resiliency, and generosity of spirit among many other attributes that lead to the growth of character — all of which are timeless.