And so, after so much build up, hype, and anticipation, Jam the Gym 4 is history. So many great moments, but we'll get back to that later. First I have so many to thank!
Jam the Gym is not possible without terrific participation from our local communities. From the students who have always provided energy, to the administration, teachers, and fellow coaches, who are always looking for a way to help. The local businesses who donated goods and services for our chinese auctions, and the many fans who came to the gym on a hot September night to support our cause. There isn't even a way for me to thank everyone, but I must highlight some noteables...
Trib Total Media- a company who for me has earned a "Major Contributor" tag, providing Penguin tickets and a Autographed Sidney Crosby Jersey, along with ads on their webpage that generated a lot of traffic here. Incredible support! Thank you Jennifer Bertetto, along with Rick Monti and Bill Beckner who have covered this story on many difficult days with great care!
PNC Bank, who have been generous to us for our first four years, with great donations of event tickets and memorabilia.
Jory Rand and Brandon Hudson, for coming all the way out here to spend the evening with us, talk with the students and fans, and lend their support for us. These are the true gentlemen of local media.
My employer, Tees-n-Tops, for year after year providing our event tee-shirts for a MORE that fair price on an unfairly tight time-line, which allows us to sell them to MANY students, and generates much of our income. Mark and Danny Albert and their staff are the best!
Cy "Malkamania" Clark, the biggest Penguin fan I know, and the most generous as well! Cy claimed he had "extra" autographed jerseys, and took the time to drive them out to me on a day I know he wasn't feeling his best. Whoever won the Neal and Kunitz jerseys have Cy to thank! Cy is also in his own cancer fight. Keep him in your prayers as well.
Two local families donated vacation homes for a week. Thank you to the Duppstadt family for the Top Sail vacation home, and Ray Berquist and Linda Toy for the week in Bradenton, FL. Your contributions drive our event!
While it's so good to have attractive prizes to give away, it's essential to have fans who come out and support, by tickets, and cheer at Jam the Gym! Over 500 of you made it this year! That's why we continue to do this. Your support means the world to us!
This year we featured both high school and collegian volleyball. Connellsville made the long drive down from Fayette County to play against us this year. They are a polished squad who is going to surprise someone in their very tough section. Watching the JV game, you can see they will be strong for years to come. Great job, Falcons. Best of luck as your season continues!
Point Park and Carlow played a spirited conference match that was won 3-1 by Carlow. I commented earlier today that it is among the greatest things to witness as a coach or a fan, when a team or player sees the "lights come on" and takes a quantum leap in belief. Carlow's players got that out of Jam the Gym. Wonderful job Celtics!
Point Park, Coached by longtime friend of this event Mike Bruno, showed honor and grace in defeat, and as hard as it is to lose, these ladies will take the lesson, and improve in the practice gym.
Best of luck as you continue your season! FEAR THE BISON!!!
Kiski Area. This team NEVER ceases to amaze me. They didn't have their best match at Jam the Gym, but it hardly mattered. Our girls have seen the big picture, and understand that a setback isn't the end of anything. Like Connellsville we are going to surprise someone in our section. I've never seen a group of kids who have been beaten, battered, and knocked down so much, and REFUSE to stay down. Champions Rise! We will persist until we succeed!!!
When I first met Jaime Moran, I was struck by that beautiful smile. Jaime had a way of waltzing into a room and stealing it with her presence. Her personality glowed as brightly as her smile. It was always a goal of mine to make her smile, and for all she had been through, it really wasn't that hard. Jaime Moran LOVED life, and it always showed, no matter what.
Jam the Gym was an idea spawned by our original Relay for Life team, The Fluorescent Angels. Our motto is, Fluorescent Angels, we always SHOW UP. In our first year Jaime and Ellen's Fluorescent Angels where 650 strong on the track at Apollo-Ridge. We raised $14,000 for the American Cancer Society, and proclaimed ourselves the "largest team in Relay for Life history".
Seeing the power in Jaime and Ellen's courageous story, lead to an idea. Why not do a volleyball event? Jam the Gym was born!
Jam the Gym has been proud to provide financial support to teachers and students in the district through the Fluorescent Angels Fund. It is related, but separate from the Jaime Vick Moran Scholarship. This year, it only seemed right to do something special.
Shortly after Christmas, the Kiski Area Volleyball family was devastated by the death of junior libero Jenna Prusia is a sledding accident. She is survived by her father Duane, mother Vicki, brother Jarrett and twin sister Ashton. They have continued to be a strong symbol of faith in our community, allowing US to lean on THEM.
Knowing that only Jodie could truly understand Ashton's feeling of losing a twin sister, it was decided that Ashton would be the recipient of the first ever Fluorescent Angels Scholarship, in memory of both Jaime and Jenna.
I will never forget Jodie's heartfelt speech, and the feeling that we had found the moment we had worked so hard for. Jam the Gym had found it's purpose for this year. Here on earth twin sisters smiled through tears, and in heaven their sisters smiled too.
We hope to continue this work, at Jam the Gym 5! Thank you all so much!!!