Published at PO Box 96 124 W. St. Clair Romeo, MI 48065. Phone: (586)752-3524 Fax: (586)752-0548
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/12/12
Fourth Watchdog game
to be a 'community event'
by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
Football is big in Romeo, but the hearts of student athletes and their community are even bigger.
The battle against cancer continues as the Romeo varsity football team and other sports teams gear up for the fourth Watchdog fundraising game, to be held 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14 at Barnabo Field.
In the past three years, the game has shifted tones from aiming to hit a monetary goal to raising awareness for cancer research and the families affected by the disease.
To emphasize that message, a new event held this year will be the survivor welcome tent. Jason Couch, co-head football coach, said those who have battled cancer, along with their families and caretakers, are invited in to enjoy refreshments the day of the game. The tent is headed up by the Four Corners Football Club.
"It's an opportunity for us to honor them, as they are not necessarily those being represented in the game," Couch said.
Like prior Watchdog games, members of the Romeo Bulldogs football team are raising at least $250 each to wear a special pink jersey. Written on the backs of these jerseys are the names of cancer survivors or victims the team members are honoring.
"It's something special we're able to show our student athletes that there's more out there than football," Couch said.
Survivors and others will be asked to form a tunnel for the football players to walk through as they enter the field as a way of thanking them for their efforts.
"I'm glad they're there with us," Couch said. "Hopefully one day we'll get rid of this disease."
Planning for the event began in March of this year instead of June or July, with other sports teams and groups aside from the football team taking part in the fundraising effort.
Greg Brynaert, athletics director, said the efforts of the students have already caused the grand total of the past and present fundraising to exceed $315,000. All proceeds are donated to the American Cancer Society and Susan G Komen for the Cure.
While the money raised is impressive, Brynaert emphasized that the lessons taught by the event go beyond trying to hit a dollar figure or playing a sport.
"We want to show there is something more important than the sport they're playing and that they find an important part in life is to give to others," he said. "We have a lot of lessons we're looking to do."
Brynaert said it's thanks to the efforts of the students, parents and residents that the game has been successful in raising funds to battle the deadly disease.
"It's not just a football game, it's a community event," he said. "We are so proud of our kids and community."
Those interested in being a part of the fundraising can purchase special T-shirts for $15 each that also act as a ticket to all Watchdog sporting events held this week.
The limited supply of T-shirts can be found at the Romeo High School Athletic Department or at FAM's T-Shirt and Design.
The Bulldogs will take on L'Anse Creuse North High School at the game. Following the game, anyone wearing a shirt will be asked onto the football field to create the shape of a ribbon. The football players will also present their jerseys to those or the families of those they are honoring.
"It's still amazing as you go through this to realize how many people are touched and how many families are touched and affected by cancer," Brynaert said. "It makes it a worthy cause and effort to put a lot of energy into it."
For more information, call (586) 281-1185.