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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 1, 2010

Guilderland booster clubs try to save sports

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– All freshman and repeat junior-varsity sports teams were cut from the Guilderland High School budget in April, but eight sports booster clubs have been fighting back since May to reinstate the teams by raising money in the community.

The Friends of Guilderland Athletics committee, chaired by Emilio Genzano, have drawn up summer plans to raise the $60,000 that is needed to restore the cut sports teams.

“We all need to act as a group,” said Genzano on Tuesday. “This plan needs a full effort.”

Genzano estimated that $15,000 has already been raised by the eight boosters –– football, girls’ soccer, boys’ soccer, baseball, cross-country, cheerleading, softball, and boys’ lacrosse.

“That’s an excellent start and it shows that people care,” Genzano said. “We’re doing well.”

The Friends committee includes Terry Seery for softball; Ed Glenning as a webmaster; Pete and Linda Cure for indoor track; Joe O’Connor, Petra Malitz, Pam Formica, and Elizabeth Favreau for baseball; Ted Pangman for lacrosse; Sabrina Appleby for cheerleader; Lee Carmen, Barb Newton, and Jim Gebhardt for girls’ soccer; and Dan Wheeler for boys’ soccer.

“A lot of people are involved in this,” said Genzano. “They’ve all gone out of their way to help.”

The committee is putting on a Family Fun Night at the high school on July 20 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Friends is hoping to raise $30,000 through the event’s $2 admission fee, along with nominal fees for the 5k run/two-mile walk, dunk tank, tug-of-war, drawings, sponsors, and donations. The event will also feature a tennis-ball throwing contest and a soccer penalty kick shootout.

The director of Guilderland’s chamber of commerce, Kathy Burbank, had recommended earlier that the various booster clubs work together on big events rather than individually and repeatedly soliciting from local businesses.  

“I think July 20 is a realistic goal,” said Genzano, referring to $30,000. “We’re trying to get all the families out in one place for a fun time.”

If Friends raises $30,000 on July 20, the booster clubs will be responsible for the remaining $15,000. Genzano told The Enterprise that the football boosters are planning a golf tournament and baseball boosters are working on an event for August.

“We need to act like a mechanism,” Genzano said.

The Friends met Tuesday night to discuss the mechanics of the Family Fun Night. “We need all the proper resources and volunteers,” said Genzano. “We’ll plan for a successful day.”

The cutting of sports was a change of culture for Guilderland and plenty of other schools in the Capital District. Students and athletes are upset, but “they’ve been supporting us by networking,” said Genzano, who was on the school board when the cuts were made under the threat of slashed state aid. (See related story).

Genzano doesn’t agree with the cuts, but sees it as a life lesson. “You can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “Sometimes you’re going to get dealt a bad hand or a bad call. You have to dust it off and start again. Make it positive.”

Genzano is just grateful the Friends have the opportunity to save the sports for the kids.

“People are sacrificing,” he said. “We’re excited about this.”

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