Fr. James V. Keogh, SJ, Originator of Handball at Loyola, Jan 29 2010
Fr. James V. Keogh, SJ, one of the first six Jesuits from the Maryland Province to come to Loyola School, died January 29, 2010, in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. Fr. Keogh was 89. He came to Jamshedpur in January 1948 with Fr. Fasy, Fr. Dineen, Fr. Enright, who started XLRI and Anderson Bakewell. James Keogh and Anderson Bakewell were Scholastics then preparing to become a Jesuit priest. He was ordained a priest on November 21, 1952, and remained in India for the next 40 years.
Fr. Keogh introduced handball at Loyola and gets a mention in a issue of Jai Loyola of 1949. It makes an interesting reading.
The originator of Handball at Loyola is one whom all of us know: Father Keogh. When the American Fathers came to Loyola (I mean the first group), Fr. Keogh, the unforgettable Fr. Bakewell and Fr. Enright, handball was not as much as a twinkle in the eyes of the small group of Loyoleans.
Our new sports organiser was Fr. Keogh who introduced us to an entirely new game called Handball. We gazed open-mouthed at seeing a human hand take such a lot of punishment. But despite this, Fr. Keogh taught us this game and how to play it. Oddly enough, we took such a liking to it that soon the front walls of Loyola were under heavy punishment from the two handball courts which were set up. Some of us liked it so much that we deprived ourselves of breakfast in order to be early enough to have a game of handball before classes began.
Handball has now been played here for the last two years. By now it has become as common to us veterans as drinking water. Still it lingers, and still the handball spirit is kept alive by occasional tournaments.
Besides handball he helped Mr. Arun, as he recollects in an article, in laying out the hockey field along the grassy CNR Gound, soon after the school reopened for a new calendar year in January 1954.
He was in Loyola till 1956 after which he moved to other institutions and organisations in and out of Jamshedpur, finally returning to his parent country.
And since its introduction handball has remained a popular game for sucessive batches, a game unique to Loyola, a tribute to the man and his legacy.