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Sr. Mary Jo Sobieck on Her ESPY Nomination: Faith First

Sr. Mary Jo Sobiek, Guaranteed Rate Field, Comiskey Park, Chicago White Sox, Marian Catholic. Now, she's been nominated for an ESPY.
Sr. Mary Jo Sobiek on the field at Sox park before her historic first pitch Saturday evening. Now, she’s been nominated for an ESPY. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Vote for Sr. Mary Jo here: Best Viral Moment.

Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Since her pitch seen ’round the world last August, Marian Catholic’s Sr. Mary Jo Sobieck has been busy — besides her usual “classroom busy.” Her curveball opening pitch at Guaranteed Rate Field happened on a Saturday. Two days later she was on Good Morning America, which broadcast her appearance from the West Gym at Marian. Not long after, she was flown to New York to appear on Fox and Friends. Now, Sr. Mary Jo is nominated for the ESPYs.

The Chicago White Sox called it one of the “most impressive first pitches of all time”:

Students still come first, and when we caught up with Sr. Mary Jo this week she was at Marian Catholic working with students on the school’s yearbook, a project she has moderated for several years.

What’s are the ESPYS?

“ESPY stands for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly,” Sr. Mary Jo said. “So, ESPN hosts the ESPYs every year to recognize those individuals in sport who have excelled. Whether in their individual sport or in humanitarianism, perseverance, getting through obstacles.

“There’s the Jimmy Valvano, Jimmy V award for perseverance that’s given every year and the gentleman that’s going to receive it this year is Rob Mendez. 

“Rob Mendez was born without any arms or any legs and he has always aspired to be a football coach. He’s always loved football as a kid and so he is receiving that award this year. This year is his first year of being a head coach. He coaches a junior varsity, high school team in California. This is the first time he’s been given a shot.

Vote for Sr. Mary Jo here: Best Viral Moment.

“So it’s really all about the spirit of sports and how it inspires communities and people to just push forward in life, and in whatever it is, they’re after. So the ESPYs really represent all of that, you know, and so that’s what the ESPYs are.”

Sr. Mary Jo was nominated in the category of best viral sports moment.

The ESPYs are on Wednesday, July 10th, Sr. Mary Jo said. “They’re televised on ABC and ESPN. There is a red carpet prior to the event and then after the event, at Microsoft Theater in downtown LA, there is an after-party.”

What will Sr. Mary Jo wear on the red carpet?

“I will be wearing my traditional Dominican habit. God sees the soul, not the swag. That’s my message. And I know that like St. Francis says, ‘Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words,'” she said.

Sr. Mary Jo Sobieck, O.P., belongs to a Dominican order, officially called the Order of Preachers. Dominican sisters and priests typically put “O.P.” after their names. The religious order was founded by St. Dominic de Guzmán in France, approved by Pope Innocent III. The sisters who sponsor Marian Catholic are from Springfield, Illinois.

“Dominic is all about, you preach in the signs of the times what is the truth,” Sr. Mary Jo said. “And so I have to believe that God has continued to maintain this momentum of whatever good news that first pitch kind of put out into the world, to continue to inspire and bring a message of whatever God intends for me when I’m in the company of the greatest of this generation of sport.”

“A faith life also takes perseverance and discipline and everything that sport does,” she added.

“I have to believe that a lot of those athletes are men and women of faith who have a deep belief in something beyond them that draws out of them their best potential too. To be great and to give back and to inspire. And all of those spectators who watch them, someplace in their life, it touches something that draws them to be their greatest too,” Sr. Mary Jo said.

“Whether it’s a parent, a student, a coach — whatever, in all walks of life. And so I’m just excited to be a part of it and I’m really looking forward to the event and just allowing the Holy Spirit to work,” she said.

The ESPYs are on Wednesday, July 10, on ABC and ESPN at 8:00 p.m. Central.

Vote for Sr. Mary Jo here: Best Viral Moment.


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