See the links below to find out more information about the history and traditions of Holy Family athletics.
“Superior Spaghetti Chef”, Dominic Bartolone started the tradition that continues to this day. When it exactly started still remains a mystery. Dominic’s son, Chris Bartolone, found a receipt from Kohl’s Food Store dated 1978, so we can use that as our starting point. Dominic Bartolone, along with many other volunteers which included Nick Marino, Jim Papin, Tom McCormick, Jim Shire, Tom Engel, Ron Turk, Tom and Donna McCotter, Jim and Gerry Kohler, just to name a few, helped make the Spaghetti Dinner an annual event.
“Holy Family was very important to my father, not just athletics.” explains Chris. “I remember as a kid, watching my father and many other volunteers fix the gym floor after it would buckle from the humidity, or carry down sets of steel lockers for the locker rooms. He also provided the Christmas trees for the church altar that he was able to get from Schlitz Brewery where he worked. He was not able to write a huge check, but he dedicated his time and talents every chance he could.”
Chris got involved as a kid doing the dishes, helping tote around the supplies, and taking out the trash. “I got more involved with the cooking after I did a student teaching clinical at St. Joan Antida.” Chris remembers. “There was a little old lady, Rosa Azzerello, who took me under her wing and showed me some great tricks. Once my dad got sick with cancer, my dad and I worked on it together.”
Chris feels the same way his father did about the dinner. It is a ton of work, but there is not a year that goes by that he doesn’t look forward to it.
“I love the spaghetti dinner. It is one of my favorite meals of the year.” says current athletic committee president, Tom Kister. “The Bartolone sauce and meatballs are second to none – and he annually makes over 1400 of them! While I love the food, my favorite part of the dinner is the student-athlete servers. Before we ever decided to send our kids to HF, the spaghetti dinner was one of the first events we attended after joining the parish. We could not have been more impressed with the servers and how they behave themselves. When we decided to send our kids to the school, that experience played a role in our ultimate decision.”
The Spaghetti Dinner is truly a team effort and could not happen without a dedicated group of volunteers. Each year the Spaghetti Dinner is held on Sunday in the fall. If you have never come before, make this year your first. The student athletes, along with other volunteers, will welcome you, make you feel like family, and make sure you don’t go home hungry!
“It is very important for my wife and I that our children see the sacrifice the people of our parish make for them and we hope they will continue to do their part when called upon to help any way they can.” says Chris.
Much of Italian life revolves around family and the dinner table. That held true for Dominic Bartolone and holds true for his son, Chris. Holy Family is more than a community, it is a family. So what better way to celebrate than to invite your family to the dinner table at the Spaghetti Dinner!
As they say in Italy, “Mangiare Bene, Ridere Spesso, Amore Molto”, which means, Eat Well, Laugh Often, and Love Much.
In 2003, Kevin and Peggy Long ran into Tim Shaw at a local basketball clinic. The clinic had been far too complicated and boring for their then K-3rd grade children. “During one of the local basketball clinics the coach was making the kindergarteners do a drill called the 3 man-weave. It ended in a bloody nose, looks of confusion and even more tears.” remembers Shaw. “I looked at the Longs and told them ‘There has to be a better way.’”
Soon after Tim’s comment of finding a “better way”, Peggy Long asked Shaw if he was willing to coach if she organized a program. “Not thinking about what I was getting myself into, I replied ‘sure’ and went on with my day.” says Shaw. A few days later, Peggy emailed Tim that the first Little Dribblers flyer would go out to the school families next week. And Little Dribblers was born.
The plan was in place, now they just needed players. And the players came. In November of 2003, over 140 boys and girls signed up!
“The goals of Little Dribblers were to make the sessions fun, teach the fundamentals and show the kids what it was like to be on a team.” states Shaw. “Just as important was teaching the older kids the importance of giving back to their community and they did an amazing job.”
“Mary Ellen, Molly and Katie Long would show up every week and help their mom (Peggy) be the official greeters in to the gym. They would provide a name tag for each player so the coaches would know the players by name.” says Tim.
It was decided that 4-one hour sessions would be held for 5 consecutive Saturdays in November and December for girls and boys in K4 through grade 4. “We asked other parents to help coach as well as the middle school players at HF.” explains Shaw. “We wanted to make sure that all the kids were welcome so everyone could experience the awesome HF community.”
The key theme was to teach the fundamentals using games as the method of learning. Favorites over the years included: Mr. Fox to teach dribbling, Pizza Man and Cookie Jar to teach shooting, and Foot Fire to teach defense.
Over the years, approximately 1,300 players have gone through the Little Dribblers program. “I was there every Saturday until 2016. Now current HF parent, Steve Chitwood, has graciously agreed to continue and lead the Little Dribblers program.
“Jeff and Michelle Carew, Jim Seewald, John Desing, and dozens of other great parents and students have made this a wonderful program. Seeing the look and joy for the young players when their names are announced during starting line-ups on Game Day, or watching a first grader dive for a loose ball as if their life depended on it, are just a couple of my favorite memories.” says Shaw. “I have also loved coaching the players and watching their progression from K4 Little Dribblers to an 8th grader playing at Mt. Mary in the Padre Serra Tournament. Some kids probably decided basketball wasn’t their thing, but I think they learned a little more about the game and had some fun along the way.”
For more information about Little Dribblers, contact the Holy Family Parish School office.
Sports can offer children a variety of benefits other than physical activity. Participation in sports is a great way to build self-esteem and confidence, to learn teamwork, allow for risk taking, and can teach the benefits of goal-setting and practice.
Holy Family Parish School is proud to offer their students a chance to play sports starting in 5th grade. The sports available are boys and girls volleyball, basketball, track and field, and tennis. Six years ago, the Holy Family School Athletic Board decided to invite Holy Family’s Religious Education families to join the school sports teams.
Holy Family School has an enrollment of 200 students. The average class size is about 20 students, therefore some classes don’t have enough interested students to field a team. Prior to the combined program, Holy Family School students had to play up a grade or play for another school. Accommodations were often made to combine with St. Eugene’s or St. Robert’s athletic programs, which already invited parishioners to play. That caught the attention of the Holy Family Athletic Board.
“We were essentially sending players to play with other religious education students but did not allow them to play with the religious education students under our own roof.” said Jim Seewald, current Athletic Board President. “John Elliott and I worked with the Archdiocese on the conversion process.”
“There are many positives,“ explains Seewald. “The biggest is kids meeting other kids and becoming friends. I was lucky enough to coach the first group of boys that went all the way through the program. Parents meet parents. I noticed that all five of the families from the original team attended last year’s second round Padre game.”
Those who have coached enjoy the new energy the combined program brings. “It is great to see these two groups of students working together, and truly becoming a team.” says Jackson Mansfield, who is a Holy Family School parent and has coached several teams.
“As a coach it is fun to see these two groups of students begin the season kind of shy, and playing with only those that they know, but by the end of the season they are just one team of friends.” Mansfield says.
And the positive impact is seen by the parents as well.
“We are so thankful for the opportunity our girls have had to play on the Holy Family sports team for the past 4 years.” Says Jill Patty, whose daughters play on the 8th grade and 6th grade teams. “We feel fortunate that they are able to play a team sport that is not offered through their own school as early as 5th grade. Most importantly, my daughters have developed friendships with their Holy Family school teammates that will outlast their years of playing sports at Holy Family.”
“One of the best things about athletics in general is that it creates a team.” Jackson states. “As a coach, you get to see great emotional and psychological growth through athletics- teammates cheering each other on during moments of triumph, and picking each other up during tough times. With all the competitive sports that our children do these days, I’m glad Holy Family has cultivated an environment that this message remains front and center.”
The combined athletic program really shows that Holy Family is inclusive and we are all one Holy Family.
If you have ever been part of a basketball season in a Catholic grade school, you definitely know the prestige of getting invited to play at the Padre Serra Tournament.
The Padre Serra Tournament is a long lasting tradition in the Milwaukee area. It started in 1959 by Father Max Mankowski and Jack Andrews, and was originally dubbed “The Catholic Midget League Playoff”. Three years later the name was changed to the Milwaukee Archdiocesan Catholic Grade School Invitational Basketball Tournament. And in 1985 the tournament was once again renamed to the name it is today, the Padre Serra Tournament, named for Padre Junipero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan friar from the 1700s who spent his life doing missionary work in what is now California .
This year, Holy Family School’s 8th grade boys and girls basketball teams received an invitation to the Padre Serra Tournament. Since this tournament has such a longstanding tradition and is by invite only, it is a huge honor to be included. But, there is another very personal reason why this is so special for Holy Family this year. Patrick Sherlock, 8th grade student and basketball player at Holy Family School, is the grandson of Frank Crivello, one of the founding members of this tournament. The Padre tournament has been in his blood for over 50 years.
Frank became involved in 1961, when he was the basketball coach at St. Peter and Paul. At that time, they played their games at Gesu because they needed a gymnasium. That is where it all started. Joe Harden, the mastermind behind the idea, recruited Frank and 4 other men.
All the referees, coaches, parents, and students know Frank and have great respect for him. “The North Shore League is very fortunate to have someone with the integrity and the dedication Mr. Crivello has. He has been the one constant in the ever changing league. If and when Mr. Crivello decides to retire, the league will miss him and be very lucky to find someone of his stature to replace him,” says referee, Peter Geittmann.
This year, having his grandson playing in the tournament has a whole new meaning. “It’s a dream come true,” says Frank about seeing his grandson play in the Padre. “I had two daughters, but then girls weren’t allowed to play. It wasn’t until 1983 that girls were allowed.”
Frank has been to almost every school gym, watching games and tournaments. What advice does this veteran of the Padre tournament have for future teams?
“Go out and enjoy it! You’re on the big stage!”