Blogs > The Best of Don Seeley's Columns

Former Mercury sports editor Don Seeley passed away in June 2013 from a heart attack. For more than a decade Seeley wrote about local sports. Featured here are his columns that were previously printed in The Mercury.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Perfect timing for a good story

All was right with the world Monday night … at least for those who sat in on the ninth annual Summit Awards program at the Sunnybrook Ballroom.
For a little over two hours, it was literally impossible to think about the soaring price of gas; the pathetic promises of Obama, Clinton, and McCain — as well as the petty political punches they’ve been throwing at one another; or just where the next dollar is coming from to pay this or that bill.
Admit it, there isn’t a soul alive who doesn’t like to hear about or read about a good story once in a while.
But they’re hard to come by anymore.
The print media too often provides us page after page or chapter after chapter of worthless words and graphic details about the misery and misfortune of others, which is so depressing. And the electronic media offers us hour after hour of the same, mostly men and women sitting around a table, professing to be experts on anything and everything, arguing about anything and everything, offering endless insights into the woes of the world, but never really coming up with any answers.
So Monday evening, it was refreshing to hear a good story.
Actually 21 of them.
That’s how many commendations of excellence in both the classroom and on the athletic field were read during the ninth Summit Awards program … and each was energizing, compelling … and so inspiring.
And when the program was over, everyone left feeling much better about themselves — and others — if only because for two-plus hours, they were able to put aside the all-about-me, self-serving society we read about or hear about.
They were afforded that rare opportunity Monday night as they listened and learned about the commitment, character and courage of the student-athletes, as well as the devoted and tireless men and women coaching and supporting them, who were honored during the program.
Yes, there were a few jaws dropping.
You had to be when hearing about the character of Spring-Ford players Allie Kakareka and Gareth Cooper, outstanding athletes in two sports each who also excelled in the classroom … and still found time to serve as counselors in various youth camps and volunteers in a number of elderly programs.
You had to be inspired when hearing about the courage of Perkiomen Valley twins Natalie and Paige Fisher and Phoenixville’s Jordan Thomas. The Fisher sisters lost their mentor, their staunch supporter, their best friend — their older sister — when she was killed in an automobile accident. They battled through their loss and eating disorders that dropped their weight to just 90 pounds to become all-league lacrosse players and team leaders. Thomas battled through five years of chemotherapy and radiation in his fight against a rare form of leukemia to become a key contributor on football, basketball, and track teams that combined for six league championships.
You had to be impressed when hearing about the career athletic achievements of Spring-Ford’s Heather Giovagnoli and Owen J. Roberts’ Mitch Scherer … about the outstanding careers of Pottsgrove’s Gina Cherico and Owen J. Roberts’ Cory Shutz, who mastered the competition in both the classroom and on the athletic field.
You had to be thankful for the precious memorable moment that Pottstown’s football team provided its fans last fall with the shocking overtime win over then-undefeated Lansdale Catholic, arguably the biggest upset in the 22-year history of the Pioneer Athletic Conference. You also had to be thankful for incredible team achievements of the Spring-Ford girls basketball team and Perkiomen Valley football team. And it’ll be some time before we forget two of the past school year’s outstanding individual performances — Pottstown sophomore Kasey Mock scoring 12 goals in one girls lacrosse game, and Pottstown senior Raymond Quill winning four gold medals and erasing the area’s all-time record in the high jump during the PAC-10 Track and Field Championships.
And you realized all is well with the future of high school sports because of aspiring youngsters like St. Pius’ Jamie Kane and Owen J. Roberts’ Scott Syrek.
You couldn’t help but be amazed by the wisdom and success of coaches Pam Wernersbach (Boyertown lacrosse) and Jack Kraynak (Phoenixville boys track), whose teams were unbeaten this past season and now have won four and five straight Pioneer Athletic Conference titles, respectively.
There wasn’t a dry eye among those who knew the late Joe Edwards, who was honored posthumously for helping and inspiring fortysome years of Owen J. Roberts students and athletes as a teacher and football coach.
And you couldn’t help but marvel at the lifelong contributions of Boyertown’s Sue Benfield and Spring-Ford’s Pat Nugent, both of whom once inspired us as athletes but have graciously given back so much more to sports and the youngsters who play them as volunteers, coaches, administrators, and, most important, fans.
Great stories … all of them.

The 2008 Summit Awards program winners were:
Rookies of the Year: Jamie Kane, St. Pius X (Female) and Scott Syrek, Owen J. Roberts (Male); Athletic Service Award: Joe Edwards, Owen J. Roberts; Most Memorable Moment: Pottstown Football (upset win over Lansdale Catholic); Team Achievement: Spring-Ford girls basketball and Perkiomen Valley football; Most Courageous: Natalie and Paige Fisher, Perkiomen Valley (Female) and Jordan Thomas, Phoenixville (Male); Character: Allie Kakareka, Spring-Ford (Female) and Gareth Cooper, Spring-Ford (Male).
Coaching Achievement: Pam Wernersbach, Boyertown lacrosse (Female Sport) and Jack Kraynak, Phoenixville track (Male Sport); Scholar-Athlete: Gina Cherico, Pottsgrove (Female) and Cory Schutz, Owen J. Roberts (Male); Outstanding Individual Performance: Kasey Mock, Pottstown (Female) and Raymond Quill, Pottstown (Male); Career Achievement: Heather Giovagnoli, Spring-Ford (Female) and Mitch Scherer, Owen J. Roberts (Male); Lifetime Achievement: Sue Benfield, Boyertown; and Athletic Achievement: Pat Nugent, Spring-Ford.

The Summit Awards Scholarship was presented to Spring-Ford’s Megan Bedard. … Spring-Ford’s Aaron Cummins, Ryan Somplasky, Holly Stevens, and Lauren Ujobai served as the evening’s escorts. ... Cindy Karver and Sharon Yohn, as they have for each of the Summit Awards programs, served as hostesses. … The Spring-Ford High School Jazz Band, under the direction of John Eckstine, provided the music prior to the program.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home