Winning in So Many Ways at the Annual Purple vs. Gold Charity Girls Volleyball Fundraiser
Each year, since its inception, the Middle School Annual Purple vs. Gold Charity Girls Volleyball event has accomplished several simultaneous goals. Meant as a fundraiser for a worthy cause, like fighting cancer or for helping local families, this athletic competition is also a wonderful opportunity to reward the many capable volleyball players who cannot participate as uniformed team members.
Coach Jim McLoughlin—who originally created this event—explained. “Each year, there are anywhere from fifty to one-hundred girls who tryout with the hopes of making the roster of the one Middle School girls-team sport during the early winter season. Since we can only keep a certain number of uniformed players—twenty-eight this year, which is a huge number for one volleyball team—we encourage any player that didn't make the team to take this opportunity to play, to come down and practice with us every day as a practice player. These girls can’t get a uniform or play in season-scheduled games but they are made to feel a part of something they would not ordinarily have, and the Purple vs. Gold Charity Girls Volleyball game has been a way to get all the girls out on the court!”
On a mid-January Friday afternoon, in the Middle School gym decorated with the colors of each team: purple on one side and gold on the other, the Annual Purple vs. Gold Charity Girls Volleyball game proved as popular as ever. “We had a little over thirty-two girls practicing every day,” McLoughlin shared. “It was great to see some of them finally get the opportunity to get on the court and play in a game. The kids had fun, and it was well attended. Many alumni volleyball players, some still in college and some who have graduated from college, as well as players from our current Varsity and Junior Varsity teams came to the game and helped referee, coach, and even play with the girls, while GoPro cameras recorded the event. Middle School Physical Education teacher Mr. Meier was our official scorekeeper and Middle School Social Studies teacher Mr. Biscari was our referee.”
Not only were the bleachers filled with spectators dressed in either purple or gold to show support for their favorite teams, support for the local families in need was evident in the generosity of those who bought raffle tickets for the gift certificates generously donated by local businesses.
Helping local families who may need support has become the focus of the Purple vs. Gold games for the past four years. While Mr. McLoughlin realizes that realistically it may not be possible “to change a families situation,” yet the Sayville Middle School students, families and local businesses are involved in a concerted effort “to try and make whatever they’re going through a little more comfortable, even if it’s temporary… peace for just a moment.”
At the conclusion of the exciting competition, McLoughlin awarded a custom, handmade trophy to this year’s winner and defending champs, The Gold Team. But they were not the only winners as a result of this fundraiser. “It truly felt like a community of family that came together to help local families through their love for volleyball,” McLoughlin said. “This year’s event raised more than $5,000.00 which has already been given to two local families.”
Expressing his special thanks to Principal Murray and Assistant Principal Decker for allowing the event, McLoughlin also thanked, on behalf of the Girls, “the fans as well as the Honor Society, the Hope Club, the Communications Club, The Cheerleading Team, The Music Department, Our school administration, Teacher Chaperones, Volunteers and Parents for their help and support of this year’s game.”