By: RJ Kaminski
“How on Earth are we every going to do this”, I thought to myself as we approached midnight. Our last team scheduled game was about to end and the Boston Shootout for Soldiers was entering our ‘open field time’ where we’d need folks basically to volunteer to play pick up games until our next scheduled game at 8 AM. Yet when I looked over to the sideline, nearly 50 people were already waiting, divided up into Team Stars and Team Stripes, to get on the field.”
United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Mike Sullivan eloquently describes what he thought was going to be a low point of the Boston’s inaugural Shootout for Soldiers event. That potential obstacle turned out to be one of the most special moments in Shootout for Soldiers history. It even gave a father and son the chance to play in a real game together.
“For the next eight hours, youth, teens, adults, Patriot Football players, veterans, and wounded warriors stepped up to carry the first ever Boston Shootout for Soldiers through the darkness of the night into the light of day.”
From 6 PM Friday evening till 6 PM Saturday evening, donors, players, supporters, veterans, relatives and even a few dogs made it to Cumnock field at Harvard University. The exciting atmosphere of Friday and Saturday had supporters staying longer than any other Shootout for Soldiers, as a total of $26,170 was fundraised for our five veteran charity beneficiaries. Two moms, Adrienne Summers and Jen Gagnon, from 4-leaf Lacrosse managed to stay for ALL 24 hours to support their teams playing throughout the night and into the AM hours. Another record also happened to be set for the longest lasting pup to support any Shootout for Soldiers event!
“Organizers such as Paul Stewart, Diana Pisciotta, Tom Sheerin, Rachel Rennie, Ray Summers and Benny Ziniti (both coaches of 4 Leaf Lacrosse) anchored the entire effort, working for the past eight months to ensure everyone had a great time at the event,” Sullivan said.
A consistent stream of volunteers checked in throughout the 24 hours to manage the clock, keep score, sell apparel and take photos. The Shootout for Soldiers team heard the question, “What can I do to help?” just about every hour from various volunteers.
Professional athletes, college players, and world record holding singers attended Shootout for Soldiers Boston. Joe Cardona, long-snapper for the New England Patriots hung around for a long time, both chatting and playing lacrosse with veterans.
Alan St. Louis, who holds the Guinness world record for singing the most National Anthems in one year, added one more tally to his record by kicking off our opening ceremonies. Blaise Mbargorba of Boston University’s mens’ basketball team also stopped by during the late night hours to watch his brother Kent play.
Event organizer Mike Sullivan has a proposition for all those in the Boston area in regards to next year’s event.
“As an active-duty Army officer of 21 years, I challenge the entire New England lacrosse community to double the amount of teams we had signed up this year, and to support our wounded heroes through Shootout for Soldiers Boston in 2016!”