SDSU Skulltec Converted by CYAS San Diego
“We live too much in the exterior. Too often there is in us a host of inclination, ideas, and strong passions which makes us turn to creatures and induce us to give them our hearts, build our hopes on them, and find consolation in thinking about them. We live in this superficial world which absorbs us so completely that it makes us forget the more profound life, the really interior life where a soul may live in intimate union with God. The Lord waits for us, so to speak, in the depths of our soul, but we do not go into these depths, taken up as we are with our affairs, to which we give all our interest.”
- “Divine Intimacy” – Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen
Building community is the focus of Catholic Young Adult Sports (CYAS). This vision of bringing people together has grown to be a tangible outlet for young adults in faith. In 2010, the founder and president of CYAS successfully established the ministry in Denver. Three years later, Paul felt a call from God to expand his ministry to San Diego. With a focus on bringing people together through faith, Paul met Nathan Poe and eight other young adults interested in promoting and building the CYAS ministry in the area. It was through this ministry that Joseph Enright became involved in the San Diego CYAS community through what he described as ‘an invitation’.
An engineering classmate, Christine Jaboro, casually asked Joseph if he was going to “Mega Mass” (something he had never heard of before) and was welcomed to attend.
Although born and raised Catholic, Joseph's faith was challenged when he started college at San Diego State University.
"It was a different lifestyle," Joseph explained. “College was an amazing time in my life where I was away from home for the first time and had the opportunity to make my own decisions and establish my identity.”
Joseph shared that this transition encouraged his priorities to shift towards fitting in, making new friends, and figuring out what he wanted to be when he grew up. Thanks to the foundation of faith that was instilled in him through his parents, Joseph never felt disconnected from the church, but with all the pressures and distractions present in his life at the time, church life was not a priority for him.
“I undervalued my faith and focused my energy on things in my life that I could control, and things that were fun, things that affected me in the now,” Joseph confessed.
One of the biggest outlets for Joseph’s enthusiasm and energy came in the form of San Diego State’s Aztec basketball. For Joseph, sports were a tremendous way of breaking up the monotony between day-to-day class schedules and work shifts. The games were a colorful, dynamic, and entertaining way to spend time and connect with friends.
Joseph joined the SDSU Student Section known as “The Show” in November 2007 and ultimately created an alter ego for himself known as “Skultec.". As Skultec, Joseph would wear the San Diego State school colors (red and black) and eventually even paint his face like a skull before every basketball game as a sign of school spirit.
The concept behind “Skultec” was inspired by one of the founders of “The Show”, Conor Mongan, when he designed the skull on one of his shirts distributed at the basketball games. Today, the skull is synonymous with “The Show” and can be found on the back of hats, the Show Banner unveiled at home games, and even on the Jumbotron as a giant animated entity intimidating the Aztec’s opponents and firing up their fans.
Having a passion for Aztec basketball and The Show, Joseph wanted to share that enthusiasm by introducing new students to “The Show” and Skultec. Soon enough there was a line of people asking to get their faces painted as well. To Joseph, the face paint was an invitation to be engaged in every play of the game. Some students may have heard of the Show, or seen a game on television, but when they came in-person to a game it was important for them to realize that they had suddenly become a part of something bigger! This was the kind of energy that Joseph lived for. Everyone in the Show is unique and can bring something different that contributes to the environment at SDSU.
“My school spirit was and is an expression of myself, and I’m lucky to have found a great group of friends who share that enthusiasm for life and all things Aztec,” said Joseph.
By the time he graduated in late 2011, everyone recognized Skultec, but only a few ever got to know the real Joseph. Though he played a dynamic role and became a well-known presence in his college community, Joseph felt alone and that he was missing something whenever the final buzzer sounded and the long off-season began.
Fast forward to August 2013; Joseph was introduced to CYAS at the 2nd Annual Mega Mass celebrated by the late Bishop Flores; a Mass held once a year specifically for young adults at the Immaculata Catholic Church in San Diego. Thanks to a simple invitation by a friend, Joseph discovered a new community of people connected by faith and recreational sports. He challenged himself to meet at least six new people at the reception following the mass (a modest number considering the hundreds of young adults in attendance) and finished the evening going out to dinner with a group of over a dozen! The experience was overwhelmingly positive, and Joseph was happy to realize that he was not alone. CYAS revived his faith and gave him a new outlet for his energy. Many of the people Joseph met encouraged him to come back and become involved with the community.
Joseph met Nathan Poe, the Director of Programs for San Diego CYAS, when he played in the Ultimate Frisbee league for the first time. Because Joseph had no immediate family in San Diego, he celebrated Thanksgiving in 2013 with Nathan and his family. Over the past year and a half, Joseph’s involvement has grown considerably from casual participant to one of the regulars at many CYAS events outside of sports leagues, including movie nights, hiking trips, Adoration and more. Attendance at gatherings can range from a dozen to over a hundred individuals. Today Joseph is a proud promoter of the CYAS young adult community in San Diego.
For Joseph, it has always been all about the experience! He had a transformed passion for his faith through the introduction to CYAS. The Skultec face paint is gone, but a revived enthusiasm for life remains. Through CYAS, Joseph has found not just a community but a family, one that is steadily increasing and growing stronger every day.