Rule makers and breakers: from the NFL to the streets to the American Revolution
He is now the foremost authority on the rulebook of the National Football League. But Mike Pereira ’72 came to Santa Clara University almost 50 years ago as a scholarship athlete in two sports, neither of which was football. Instead, Pereira—who played baseball and basketball on the Mission Campus—didn’t start his career in football until his junior year at SCU. That’s when he agreed to officiate youth football tripleheaders in East Palo Alto on Sundays so he could have enough money to buy beer. Pereira details the transition from failed athlete and cancer survivor to the country’s most prominent referee in After Further Review: My Life Including the Infamous, Controversial, and Unforgettable Calls That Changed the NFL (Triumph Books). With SCU’s emphasis on justice, perhaps it’s no surprise that Pereira became the head of NFL officiating. After changing 76 rules in his nine years in charge, he transitioned to broadcasting by pioneering the job of rules expert, explaining the rulebook and officials’ calls during nationally televised games for Fox Sports. Pereira became so popular in his role that CBS Sports replicated the position and filled it with another SCU graduate turned NFL referee, Mike Carey ’71. While continuing his work as a Fox Sports analyst, Pereira’s interests have turned from on-the-field justice to social justice. The Sacramento resident formed Battlefield to Ballfields, which offers financial assistance, training, and job opportunities for servicemen and women who want to become officials. Pereira saw veterans as having the requisite leadership, concentration, discipline, and fearlessness under pressure to make good referees. Those traits—clearly more than football ability—come in handy when making split-second decisions with millions of fans watching and millions of dollars at stake. Not to mention being able to handle getting second-guessed on TV by Pereira himself.
Cynthia Trenshaw MTS ’98 recounts a time she met a prostitute named Gloria. It was a Sunday. Trenshaw, then a graduate student at SCU’s Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, wanted to do as Jesus did: wash the feet of friends. Gloria had been worn down by life; her feet were deformed, fungus under her toenails. The encounter is part of Meeting in the Margins: An Invitation to Encounter Society’s Invisible People. Trenshaw wants the reader to feel what it means to be with someone “untouchable.” She has 20 years’ experience as a healer and theologian and serves as a guardian ad litem (helping mentally incompetent persons) for the Superior Courts of several counties. Trenshaw details her work with society’s outcasts, from an AIDS victim in hospice to the homeless in San Francisco’s infamous Tenderloin district, where she combines massage therapy with sacrament. She brings humanity to lifestyles often overlooked or demonized.
In Women Heroes of the American Revolution: 20 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Defiance, and Rescue, Susan Casey ’66 tells the stories of spies, nurses, resistors, rescuers, and soldiers—incredible revolutionaries whose legacies and influences were all but erased from history textbooks. This volume for young adults draws on letters, original documents, pictures, and narratives to deliver exciting stories of women like Deborah Sampson Gannet, who dressed like a man and enlisted in the Continental Army as Robert Shurtliff. Or take Martha Bratton, wife of Colonel William Bratton, who kept a large supply of gunpowder from British troops by blowing it up. “It was I who did it,” she said. “Let the consequence be what it will.” And there is Sybil Ludington, who rode horseback 40 miles to warn of an impending British attack. In all, 18 female revolutionaries are given the spotlight in these historical accounts, with insights from historians and the descendants of these heroines.
Martha Bratton Photo courtesy Historical Center of York County, Culture and Heritage Museums