Monday, August 30, 2010

All My Life I wanna be a Raider!!!

Saw the following story about our high school in New York on CBS and felt so proud! Actually, I wasn't a bit surprised to hear about this at all. 25 years ago when we were in school, Coach Casarella always had special needs students on the sidelines as ball boy, water boy, equipment managers, statisticians, etc.

Let's face it folks. Casarella is a demi-God in the great state of New York and is a class act all the way. He has the respect of every student, every parent and every teacher in that high school (and the respect of every student, every parent and every teacher in the state). And he does it without fanfare, without an ego. He is one of the most unassuming people you'll ever meet. He doesn't pass out autographed 8x10 glossys of himself, he always looks like he needs a shave and his clothes are always a wrinkled mess. The guy is so old school New York/Italian, he can't even count to three (it always came out as "one, two, tree"). The man is the stuff of legends. When someone of his caliber stays in one place for 40-something years, his level of commitment to the kids and the community is unquestionable. How many coaches can you say that about? How many coaches (high school, college, professional) these days are always looking for the bigger school, the bigger buck? Trust me, with a record and a reputation like his, he could go anywhere in the state, anywhere in the country and name his price.
This press is release is from is from 2002 and highlights some of Caserella's accomplishments on and off the field (back when he had only been coaching 36 years, he's now been at North Rockland High School for 44 years). This article is 8 years old, God only knows what he's accomplished since it was first written:

Here's Coach Cas's outlook for the 2010 season (this article cracks me up because Cosmo & I used to hang out w/ the PK's dad of the same name back in high school): A lot of familiar family names on that roster.

The timing of this article about my high school alma mater is so coincidental to me. Apparently several Hoover kids have decided to quit the football team the past couple of weeks which I find kind of amusing (not in a funny ha-ha way but more of an ironic way). I don't know their personal reasons for quitting but I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision to make. I don't know if they quit because of the playing time they were seeing (when you dress over 100 kids for a Friday night game, chances are 90% of them aren't even going to touch the turf) or if they just got tired of it and want to try something new (most of these boys have been playing organized football since first grade). Regardless of their reason, I'm proud of them. Football is SO huge down here and it's not easy to go against the grain (or in this case, the mob mentality of high school football). These kids (and their parents) LIVE for Friday nights. Grown men count down the days to the home opener. Grown men are active participants on message boards and football forums and can recite stats better than they know the names and birthdates of their own children. Don't get me wrong, I love football. I cheered my entire life, went to thousands of games (high school, peewee, college and professional) and I can totally hold my own in any football-related conversation with the best of 'em (thanks to my dad and my hubby). What I DON'T like about this entire situation are the morons who are blaming lacrosse for this recent exodus. A friend of a friend made a stupid, very public statement about "lacrosse is stealing the best players." Lacrosse isn't "stealing" anybody. Lacrosse is appealing to good athletes because of the physical contact, the speed, the agility. As a parent, why wouldn't you encourage your child to pursue an activity/sport/hobby that they WANT to do? I think a lot of these daddies (and mommies) are living their lives precariously thru their children. I can't even begin to count how many times a boy has come up to Champ and said, "I really want to try lacrosse but my dad won't let me. My dad won't let me quit football" (or baseball, take your pick).
Friday night high school football is THE social event of the fall and, to a lot of these folks, if they don't have football, they feel that they don't fit in. I've always said that not everyone can play football at Hoover, not everyone's going to star on Two-A-Days. If your son has decided he's done with one sport and wants to try another, why wouldn't you give him your full support? You may not like the sport or activity or may not understand it but why wouldn't you give that kid two thumbs up for trying something different? Unfortunately, at a school like Hoover where football is king, it's damn near next to impossible for a kid to play both sports. However, up North, it's commonplace. So common in fact, that Coach Cas was Coach Cos's football AND lacrosse coach when he was just a wee little Cos.

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