Prison Sports Ministries has been involved with the sports program at CSP-SQ for almost 18 years. It began with Pastor Earl Smith and the San Quentin Pirates Baseball Team in 2002. That evolved into the San Quentin Warriors Basketball Team in 2004, followed by The Q’s All Madden Flag Football Team in 2007. Athletes who play sports against prisoners at The Q say it’s one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives..
When asked their reaction to an email inviting them to play ball at San Quentin, the usual answer is, “Sign me up! I wanted to come in here!”
First-time players have described the experience as they turned the corner at the top of the hill and saw the field and the yard below:
“That’s when it really hits you: you’re inside of San Quentin State Prison…”
“The view of Mt. Tamalpais just over the wall is gorgeous, then you look and see guys walking around in blue and exercise clothes…”
“It’s just something you have to experience…”
Many stars have competed at The Q, including Spaceman Bill Lee and Ted Lilly of the MLB; Ronnie Lott and Jim Harbaugh of the NFL; Mark Jackson, Steve Kerr and Bob “Big Money” Myers of the Golden State Warriors.
During the early days of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, former 49ers Eric Reid and Robbie Gould participated in a sports and social justice forum.
Even Rinaldo “Rugger” Ardizoia, the oldest of the great Yankees, came to watch an opening day game here. Imagine that.
Let’s not forget that NASCAR drivers and pit crewmen have come to The Q.
Then, there’s the most important athletes, the coaches and sponsors of our sports programs:
Frank Ruona, Kevin Rumon, Jim Malone, Tim & Diane Fitzpatrick, Mark Stevens, Superior Court Judge Craig Mitchell, “Fast” Eddie Hart – ’72 Olympian. Mike Kremer, Steve Reichardt; Bob Sharkan. Ken Philpot of the baseball program. Prison Sports Ministries was built and supported by Bill “Dollar Bill” Epling, Don “Donnie Fabulous” Smith and Ted Brewster. There are dozens more who are not named that support all the leagues here at The Q.
Visitors have broken their noses, dislocated their fingers, scraped and bloodied their knees.
Some have earned nick- names for their game and their humanitarian work.
Others cussed out the referees. They cuss more than we do, but we have to be on our best behavior; Prison Sports Ministries players pray before and after each game.
The prayer is the example we set each week and can be replicated outside.
Visitors bring in their wives, children, girlfriends, parents and grandparents and acquaint them with team players.
“Babe, this is my friend Allan, the one they call ‘Black.’” “Mom, this is Anthony, ‘1⁄2 Man 1⁄2 Amazing.’”
“Son, this is Brandon, the pitcher I told you about in that ‘Religion of Sports’ piece.”
“Dad, this is Dwight, the guy I told you about that ran past me for that touchdown.”
“Grandma, this is Austin, the phenomenal baseball player I told you about; Austin, my granny is a huge baseball fan and I’ve told her all about you.”
This is what “Sports@ TheQ” is all about.