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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, July 22, 2010
Community comes out to support Guilderland athletics
By Jordan J. Michael
GUILDERLAND A savory smell of grilled food drifted over the football field at Guilderland High School on Tuesday evening while hundreds of people from the community hung out and participated in fun activities to support the athletic program.
People who attended Family Fun Night from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. had plenty to do a 5K run/2-mile walk; dunk tank; punt, pass, and kick contest; soccer shoot-out; radar-gun pitching contest; rock-paper-scissors contest; tennis-ball toss; tug of war; and face- painting.
Eight booster clubs from Guilderland put Family Fun Night together to raise a huge chunk of the $60,000 needed to restore the freshman and repeat junior-varsity sports teams that were cut.
“It’s a shame if you can’t give the kids all the opportunities,” said Josh Murray, who graduated from Guilderland in June. He remembered playing football, basketball, and lacrosse at the freshman level. “Being on those teams helped me adjust to high school,” Murray said.
Emilio Genzano, chairman of Friends of Guilderland Athletics, told The Enterprise that 1,000 tickets at $2 each were sold for the event. At 6:30 p.m., Genzano scanned the area and estimated about 300 people in attendance. “We’re still expecting a rush,” he said.
Genzano said earlier that the Friends were hoping to raise $30,000 through Family Fun Night. But, a voice over the loudspeaker on Tuesday said that the goal was $ 15,000. (Go to the editorial page for more.)
“A lot of people care about sports,” Genzano said while the varsity boys’ lacrosse head coach, Sean McConaghy, took his turn sitting in the dunk tank. “It’s nice to see all the happy faces.”
“We pooled all our resources together to pull this off,” said Terry Seery, a member of the Friends committee and the softball booster club. “Every individual team could have done their own thing, but we all came together.”
In fact, Guilderland sports fans have been coming together and showing support for a long time. Athletic Director Wayne Bertrand said that the school is known for “drawing large crowds” to important games.
A massive crowd flocked to Colonie in 2007 when the varsity Dutchmen football team played in the Class AA Super Bowl. “It was the biggest crowd Colonie ever had,” Bertrand said.
“There was never anywhere to sit at home games,” Murray said of the 2007 football team. “This community is great because we have so much support. They’re all here tonight.”
There is no doubt that some or most of the players on that 2007 varsity football team played freshman football. Seery’s daughter, Erin, was on the freshman softball team this year.
“A lot of kids are out of opportunity if you take the freshman level away,” Seery said. “How many junior varsity spots are available? It’s harder to get recognized.”
The Friends got the turnout that it hoped for on Tuesday and Bertrand is confident that the committee will raise the rest of the money needed. The sports boosters have a month left to fund-raise.
“This show has a lot of stars and I trust their ambition,” said Bertrand. “Athletics bonds the community with pride and spirit. It’s tremendous.”
Other schools in the Suburban Council are keeping freshman sports so many in athletics believe that Guilderland won’t be able to compete if it loses that freshman developmental level.
“It hurts the school and it hurts the kids even more,” Murray said. “If they’re not doing sports…who knows what they’re doing.”