August 3rd, 2016

Hyland's Heroes: Matt Fike

Samantha Stallings

Staff Writer


Hyland's Heroes: Matt Fike
From Left: Tricia, Max, Matt, Alex, and Mary Alice Fike / photo provided by Matt Fike

The following feature is a part of a bi-weekly series, sponsored by Hyland Insurance. "Hyland's Heroes" is a series of profiles that spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports.

Know someone that you think should be featured as the next "Hyland's Hero”? Send your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

This week's Hyland Hero is Matt Fike. Matt grew up in New Orleans and moved to Louisville in 1998. He married his wife, Tricia in 1999 and they have three children.

Alice graduated from OLOL and will be a freshman at Assumption, his son Alex is in 8th grade, and Max is in the second grade. Outside of coaching and family activities, the Fike family enjoys spending summer weekends sitting on their pontoon boat at Rough River.

When and how did you get your start with Our Lady of Lourdes?

My family and I joined Our Lady of Lourdes in 2007.  We had several family members and friends in the parish and it was a perfect fit for us.  Not being from Louisville, joining Lourdes was a great way to meet new people and get involved in a church community. Today most of our good friends are also parishioners. I didn’t grow up in a Catholic community like Lourdes but I understand why it was important for our kids to have this experience.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

My nephew started playing football in third grade and I was asked if I wanted to help coach his team. My son Alex started playing football the following year and I have been coaching ever since.

What sports did or do you volunteer to help and for how long?

I started coaching the third grade football team in 2009 and I am currently coaching the seventh and eighth grade team. I’ve been coaching at Lourdes (now as a part of the Holy Trinity team) for seven years and I can say football season is my favorite time of year.  I can’t wait for it to start and am sad when it’s over.

What’s the connection with your faith and giving your time to student athletes?

It’s been such a great experience for me to coach the children in our parish as well as the other parishes that make up our team and see them grow as both players and spiritually.  We know when we’re coaching, we’re not only teaching the game of football, but instilling important lessons in character and faith.  We pray at every practice and game to make it clear what comes first.

Who was the most influential person on your volunteer career?Why?

My parents Don and Joyce Fike, my wife and kids, and all of the others in our parish who volunteer their time inspire me. It’s amazing to me how much gets done at our parish by volunteers alone.  

What are your major themes/principle as a volunteer?

I really want the kids to enjoy being part of a team and focus and having fun. Be a good teammate and a good person first, be a football player second. Looking back, most of what I remember about football was the fun that I had with my team and not the wins or losses; I really hope they will too.

What does your role at Our Lady of Lourdes bring your family?

We have met so many great families and many friendships over the years; it’s been a great experience for all of us. Football families are a close knit group because of the number of practices and games. We spend a lot of time together.  In addition, I love the time I get to spend with my son on the field, but also one on one in the car on the way to and from practices.

What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of your volunteer time?

Our third grade team was in a very close game and one of the kids seemed especially nervous. I asked him if he was worried about the game and he said “no, I hope I get a new fish today.” I was worried about winning the game and he was worried about getting a goldfish.  It helped me keep things in perspective – although games can seem very important at the time, when they are over its most important that the kids walk away having fun and learning about being a good person. 

 

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