MICHAEL JOHNSON/Livingston County News
Hornell defensive lineman Isaac Spike (right) of the West team battles McQuaid’s Anthony Odorisi of the East team at the line of scrimmage during Sunday’s 28th Annual Eddie Meath All-star game.
Sportsmanship makes a comeback in Eddie Meath game
Last year at the end of the annual Eddie Meath All-Star Game, a fight broke out between the East and West squads. The ugly brawl left some spectators wondering if the pure intentions of the game have been lost and replaced by a focus on winning.
Those involved in this year’s game are determined to make sure that the focus is back on the real reason the Eddie Meath game is played: Raising money for charity.
Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong Memorial Hospital is the charity that will benefit from the proceeds of the 2010 Eddie Meath All-Star Game. Golisano’s takes care of approximately 124 hospitalized children from upstate New York, surrounding states, and Canada. Golisano’s also helps with the emotional and mental well being of their patients and the patients’ families.
It is an appropriate charity to profit from the Eddie Meath game, as Eddie Meath (also known as “Uncle Eddie”) was a beloved local television and radio personality who devoted endless hours working with sick and less fortunate children. He is especially well known for his work with “Toys for Tots” and muscular dystrophy charities.
In order to recapture the game’s true meaning, players from the East and West rosters took a leaf out of Eddie Meath’s book and paid a visit to Golisano Children’s Hospital this past Thursday, July 1. The coaches and a few cheerleaders also tagged along.
The Golisano staff and volunteers did a wonderful job arranging the entire event in the hospital playroom. There were plenty of activities to keep the players and kids entertained, ranging from ice cream sundae making, special hospital-style bingo with prizes, foosball, shooting hoops, and playing catch.
About 25 to 30 patients, along with some parents and siblings, came out to take part in all the activities.
Some children were unable to leave their rooms, but they were not forgotten. Players divided into two groups and one group would visit the patients stuck in their rooms while the other group stayed in the playroom to play with the rest of the kids.
The kids who were able to make it to the playroom definitely liked the company. One little boy happily stuck stickers all over a player’s shirt. Another threw nerf balls at (instead of to) the guys and chatted away about his love for baseball.
Andy Englert, the head coach of the Avon Braves football team who will be coaching the West squad for his first Eddie Meath game, thought the visiting and playing with the kids was good for his players. He had never brought any of his players to a charity event before so it was his first time seeing any of them in this type of setting.
Coach Englert mentioned that the players’ visit to the hospital was arranged to stress that the game is all about the kids and sportsmanship, and remind them that fights are not acceptable. Also, to help them realize how lucky they themselves are, and to bring the kids’ situation into reality.
See complete story in our July 8 print edition.
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