By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
RC High School athletics: Faith- based from start
RC-athleticDirASK 0499a
Ripon Christian High School Athletic Director Joe Darretta said that his school’s competitions always begin with a prayer. That moment of prayer has always been respected by members of other teams, he said. - photo by GLENN KAHL
RIPON — Ripon Christian High athletic director Joe Darretta is pumped up about his school’s numerous extra-curricular endeavors.

Darretta was excited about leaving school on time Friday afternoon because of his “parent” involvement with the Ripon Christian Night Sounds music group that was scheduled to sing the National Anthem at the Golden State Warriors game in Oakland.

“I’ve got to take my daughter down and be prepared at 5:15 at the arena, being told not to be late,” he chuckled.

Darretta said the entire sports program at Ripon Christian is integrated with the religious beliefs of the school.  

“We strive to compete, to teach, to interact with one another on teams all based upon the Christian principles that our school is based on,” he said.  “We reach for excellence and we connect our faith with the athletic competition.  How do we compete as a Christian athlete – what is it in the athletic field that causes us to hopefully be different.  And how do we respond to competitions and emotions and to do it properly – so we connect our faith with learning – and we serve.

He spoke of a former student who had graduated two years ago and is currently away at college but who came home to serve.  The near 20-year-old college sophomore returned home for his spring break this week and is currently on the Ripon campus where he is spending much of his time on the baseball field in uniform coaching first base.

“There is a continuous connection that we teach academically and also athletically,” the athletic director noted.  “We do a good job at that through the generations at the school,” he said.

In the fall the school has football, boys’ soccer, girls’ golf, and volleyball.  In the winter the programs include boys and girls basketball.  During the spring there is baseball, softball, boys’ golf, girls’ soccer and co-ed tennis – with multiple JV levels.  There are 224 students in the programs.

“It’s very exciting – it’s a great place to be,” he said.

Darretta has three kids of his own including “Joie” the outgoing Miss Almond Blossom, “Anthony” a sophomore at Stanislaus State, and “Dominic” a fifth grader at Ripon Christian who shows promise to be a “three-point star” someday in basketball.

Dominic is transferring to a college in Oregon next year to finish his art degree.  He is said to be extremely talented at all different levels from free painting to sculpting and sketching to multiple signs on the baseball field.

The popular athletic director said he still gets unexpected email and notes from former students on Facebook that he hasn’t seen for as many as 25 years – the period of time he has been involved in Christian education – the last three as athletic director in Ripon.

“One of the nicest things was when I got a phone call two years ago from somebody I hadn’t heard about in almost 20 years.  She had been a student of mine – a junior high student – and one of the athletes I had coached.  She had made her way out to Manteca with her husband and three children from the Bay Area.  After talking her three children are now students at our school – one of the boys is a senior this year starring in baseball and football.”

Darretta said it is fantastic to have a second generation of students come to his school in Ripon from where he formerly taught in Milpitas where he taught at Foothill Christian School.  He described her as one of his “really good” student athletes.

It is easy to recognize that the athletic director was involved in baseball in high school with the photographs and old baseballs he collected that are on display in his office.  He played second base for his team at Samuel Ayer High School.  It consolidated with Milpitas High School in 1980.

Darretta played baseball and graduated from San Jose State University and continues to have a relationship with his coach Sam Pariro who is still the head coach at the college.  At San Jose he also played second base and remembers having two home runs in one game – chuckling that those were the only two in his career there.  “That was two more home runs than I hit in my whole life.”

As for Ripon Christians being athletic, much of it comes from students being in the system from kindergarten up.  Daretta said the school does not recruit athletes for it programs because the talent has been developed in the family of students who began in the earliest primary years at the school.

“My point being, you won’t see students from Manteca High School or East Union High School come over here in their junior year so they can play on our basketball team.  These kids here have been coming since they were in kindergarten,” he said.  “We don’t even think about going in that direction. That’s part of the community that we have here in the school that really translates athletically and also within the fine arts program of our school.”

He added that Ripon Christian has kids who are performing in plays and singing in concerts down to the third and fourth graded – it’s amazing.

Darretta said that failure in life as in sports is often the back door to success – learning by our mistakes.