When the Catholic Sentinel was founded in 1870, one of its chief jobs was to defend the Catholic faith from the so-called Oregon establishment, which was largely Protestant. The early editors let loose great walls of persuasive prose to guard their tradition, choosing the name “Sentinel” quite intentionally. Later generations would call our newspaper the Defender of the Faith.

We don’t hold forth with such style now, but we still admire good defense, an underappreciated art. In sports, defenders get little glory. As Christians, those selfless players appeal to us because ours is a religion of the humble and dutiful, not the superstars. In Trail Blazer terms, we are more Kent Bazemore than Carmelo Anthony. 

Ask any coach: defense wins games.

To promote team-minded defenders in our local Catholic culture, we are about to launch a small but mighty sports feature called Defender of the Month. We’ll be searching out great defensive players in Catholic high school sports and making them known via a photo and statistics on our schools page.

These young players may not make the TV news or get recruited by colleges. But in our paper, they are heroes.

You know them. They are young people who work harder than anyone on the court or field. They instinctively distinguish between good defense and the irritating trait of being defensive; the difference is that defensive people are in it for themselves while good defenders are in it for the team, the common good.

Hats off to them in this era when too many people seek to dominate and bloviate.

— Ed Langlois