Five Years of Fun and Fundraising with Purple vs Gold Charity Girls Volleyball Competition
It’s been a rewarding tradition and an athletic success story. Now in its fifth year, the Middle School’s Annual Purple vs. Gold Charity Girls Volleyball competition has both fundraised for local families in need and given students, who are volleyball-enthusiasts, experience playing on a volleyball team.
Not every student who tries out for Girls Volleyball will make the team, Middle School Volleyball Coach James McLoughlin observed. As it is the only Middle School team sport during the early winter season for girls, there are “anywhere from fifty to one-hundred girls,” competing for the teams limited rosters.
Five years ago, Coach McLoughlin had an idea that would give all the girls trying out an opportunity to play rather than be turned away. Every year since, whether or not the girls make the team, all are invited to participate in the practices to build their skills. Their goal is to compete on either team in the culminating event—the Annual Purple vs. Gold Charity Girls Volleyball competition. It is the biggest and most exciting event at the Middle School.
Again this year, “we had forty girls on two teams practicing every day,” McLoughlin reported, “… we were blessed with two teams. The Purple Team coached by Mrs. Debbie Urso and the Gold Team coached by me. Now we are able to get forty girls involved in a sport they’ve grown to love.”
The 2020 Annual Purple vs. Gold Charity Girls Volleyball once again proved to be an unforgettable fundraiser-competition. On that mid-January afternoon, the Middle School gym—bedecked with purple streamers and balloons on one side, gold on the other—was filled with fans showing support by sporting their favorite team’s colors. Many spectators donated to the worthy causes, buying raffle tickets for the gift certificates to summer sports camps and gift baskets that were supplied through the generosity of the community and local businesses.
“Every time there was a knock on my classroom door, another one of our players was there with yet another gift card or gift certificate for one of the businesses from town, or cash from ticket sales,” McLoughlin commented. “It was just amazing how much support we received from this town. I wish I could thank them all personally.”
During the pregame festivities, Seventh grader Camryn Quinlin sang the National Anthem which was dedicated to the late Mr. James Bast, a retired NYPD police officer. “He was the father of one of our Senior Varsity volleyball players Megan Bast,” McLoughlin noted. “He died from a 9-11-related illness the week of our game.”
So many staff and students volunteered to help make the event possible, more like a small army of people. Without this kind of support, the event would never be possible. Serving as official scorekeeper was Middle School Physical Education teacher Mr. Meier. Middle School Social Studies teacher Mr. Biscari was referee. “Many alumni volleyball players,” McLoughlin said, “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. DJ-style music played in the background and a student Rock band, The Muse Within, organized by Jack Lictra from South Bay Arts in Bayport, played between games.”
McLoughlin continued, “It was great to see them all embrace the opportunity to give back. The kids had fun, and it was well attended with a standing-room-only crowd.” In the end, the handmade Winner’s trophy was awarded to the defending champs, the Gold Team.
At the conclusion of the competition, McLoughlin spoke on behalf of the Girls and thanked Principal Thomas Murray and Assistant Principal Brian Decker along with the enthusiastic fans. He gave special mention to the District administration, teacher chaperones, volunteers including Gil Sacks from JoArt Studios, and parents for their help and support of this year’s game.”
In addition, Mr. McLoughlin announced that “this year’s Annual Purple vs. Gold Charity Girls Volleyball raised more than $3,500.00 for three local families.”