Brian and David Ringhofer: Sharing the Faith through Family and Coaching
Oct 19, 2018
David and Brian Ringhofer are brothers—obviously—but now, they are also fellow St. Anselm parishioners and CYC soccer coaches.
Brian and David and their other brother, Eric, grew up with their parents just east of St. Anselm on Conway Road. All three attended DeSmet Jesuit High School. Brian and his wife, Melanie, and their three children joined St. Anselm Parish a few years ago, while David and his wife, Amanda, and their three children joined the Parish just about a year ago.
Q. What first drew you to St. Anselm Parish, and what about the Parish has made you stick around?
Brian: We first went toward St. Anselm because of the kids' friends. We started in our official parish of CPOP. However, we quickly realized that we were a border parish, with almost all our kids' school friends going to St. Anselm. So, it could be said that friends and soccer brought us to St. Anselm. We have come to like the parish because of the community it brings. We really have enjoyed PSR and the Family Mass.
David: We selected St. Anselm for our wedding venue based on the fact that is was the closest church to my childhood home and (largely) that my mom was accustomed to attending its services due to proximity and the beautiful architecture of the church. Amanda and I were married by Fr. Benedict and enjoyed the journey he took us through prior to the service. We joined the parish when we built a house which happened to be closer to the church. We built in the same neighborhood that Brian and Melanie live and found that the neighborhood had a mix of families with St. Anselm and CPOP (our former parish). We decided to shift parishes on account of keeping the cousins together, as well as that many of their new friends from the Mason Ridge community were active in CYC sports with St. Anselm.
Q. What ministries or organizations are you involved with in the Parish?
David: I am coaching my daughter's first-grade girls soccer team with St. Anselm and assisting in the coaching of my son's third-grade boys soccer team along with Coach Lohman. I continue to support the junior soccer program at CPOP and look for opportunities to have the two communities leverage each other's strengths. Amanda pours her time and attention into the kids' school. She has been parent coordinator every year in some capacity, assists where not formally appointed, leads Sasha's girl scout troop, and helps me coordinate CYC sports with all the real work (planning, communicating, procuring the never-ending equipment for the kids).
Brian: My wife and I really enjoy sports. We believe in the challenges that sports bring that help develop children into better adults, both physically and mentally. So, I have volunteered as a coach for my sons' teams in soccer (through St. Anselm CYC), but also basketball and baseball in other venues. We have been doing this since kindergarten with my oldest, who is now in fifth grade. I try to help with the athletic association by being the volunteer coordinator for the referee program. I look forward to starting up the volunteer coaching for our youngest as she starts soccer next year as a kindergartener.
Q. How do you integrate your faith into your coaching? What makes your CYC teams different from a secular sports team?
Brian: I don't pretend to know what makes a good faith or ministry, but over decades of trying to learn Catholicism and life in general, I have come to believe the Golden Rule. So, I wanted our CYC sports teams to be based upon such. We wanted the team to foster community and inclusivity, so we encouraged everyone from school to join. We didn't want anyone feeling left out. We wanted balanced teams so no one felt they were part of the 'good' or 'bad' team. We wanted everyone to have equal playing time with a sense that we will win or lose as a team. We think sports brings kids and families together that might otherwise not get a chance to know each other. These are kids and families that will probably grow up through high school together. So, we hope this early foundation will make those future—and often more challenging—years better. We encourage success for all. Winning is not the primary goal, but we play to win. Not every kid's strength is sports, but we foster the idea that a team succeeds by every player giving their best.
Sports is a great place to challenge our kids to try something they didn't think they could do. Kids can learn how to 'fail' with minimal consequences. We can learn to compete against someone without having to think of them as the enemy. We can learn to respect our competitors. We can learn that we should not judge ourselves by 'wins' and 'losses,' but whether we truly gave it our best. Most importantly, a good sports environment will allow a kid to 'fail' at something while learning resiliency that will allow them to try again until they find success. We therefore try our best to make the primary mission be about developing team and individual success, which helps shape these kids into better people. Coaching is just an extension of parenting. It is very rewarding to help kids find smiles and pride as they succeed in sports.
David: Having played countless years of sports (each of Brian, Eric, and I, were captains of multiple sports at DeSmet, respectively, including football, basketball, volleyball, and track), I approach youth sports with similar tenants that I learned from DeSmet, whose motto is "Men for Others." In that spirit, I strive to make myself available to help the children learn to grow as members of the community with a definitive focus on the values I take with me from my Catholic education years. On the field, a win measured by the scoreboard is less important than each player achieving personal victories (having fun, developing skills, friendships, cooperation, and sportsmanship). I approach secular teams in the same manner, but with CYC I know that parents and sponsors should share and encourage my values. In secular sports, parents may be excited to see that that the game was won. But with CYC, the opportunities to win continue even after the final whistle.
I think it's important to point out that we coaches have approximately 2.5 hours per week during the season with the children to impart what we can—both in terms of training the physical skills and developing the other intangibles. When those 2.5 hours are spread among 12 kids on the team, it doesn't give as much opportunity to reinforce what each child needs on an individual level. This is why parents, grandparents, siblings, and fans need to use every opportunity to support the coaches and not detract from it. That includes positive reinforcement in the car on the way to the game and after the game, good sportsmanship cheering on the sidelines (not coaching), and being cognizant of how they enjoy (or criticize) players and coaches while watching professional sports.
Q. Obviously, you are brothers as well as fellow parishioners and coaches. What is it like to be in the same Parish family? Do you feel that it has brought any sort of new dimension to your brotherly relationship?
David: There is definitely a "Ringhofer" way of focusing on fun and self-development through our coaching. It has made it easier for me to feel at home with St. Anselm, knowing that Brian is nurturing the same values on his teams. It is additionally reassuring to know that our other brother, Eric, is doing the same at Incarnate Word with his girls, and therefore the CYC community as a whole is continuing in the right direction.
Brian: Its fun to be able to have a brother be doing the same thing in the same parish. Too often, the time commitments to these sports pull us away from family. So it is very nice to not feel like we are sacrificing family for sports....that, and we often can figure our carpools to all these practices and games much easier.
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