It began with a friendly bit of smack talk.
Now, seven years later, it's become an annual tradition that still brings a smile to the face of West York field hockey coach Amanda Steigleman.
Back in 2012, Bulldogs athletic director Roger Czerwinski, who also was a state championship baseball coach, was jokingly talking smack with Steigleman about his baseball team’s success. The WY field hockey coach then dared both Czerwinski and his team to settle the score on her team’s turf.
Beginning with that year, an event pitted the field hockey team against a West York boys’ athletic team in a field hockey match. Since then, it's taken off. While it started with the baseball team, the football squad, like it did Thursday afternoon, has taken most of the cracks against Steigleman’s club.
While the field hockey team improved to 7-0 in the on-field competitions, everyone involved the event considered themselves winners. Thursday’s event, dubbed "Kilts for a Cause," continued on. It's raised thousands of dollars in total for local charitable causes since its inception.
“It started with a drive for toiletry and diapers and it’s just grown,” Steiglman said after her team scored a 7-0 triumph in the contest over their football counterparts. “For the past six years the students have taken it over and they’ve done a great job.”
Coordinated by students: This year’s fundraiser was coordinated by juniors Maggie Spadafora and Madge Myers as part of their graduation project. Spadafora and Myers were responsible for the red T-shirts with "Kilts for a Cause" printed on them that were sold for $10 apiece over the past few weeks.
In addition to the shirt sales, there were various other raffles and snacks. They're hoping that all the fundraisers will push the total contribution for cancer research to around $2,500.
“We wanted to make it more than just about the game,” Spadafora said. “So we added raffle baskets and things just so we can get more supporters and student interest, besides just playing the field hockey game.”
Adding a JV contest: In the previous six events, the contest between the boys’ and girls’ teams was just for the varsity teams. This year they added a JV contest, which seemed to be a big hit.
“We remembered that when we were freshmen that we only got about two minutes of playing time,” Myers said. “And this is something that looks like just so fun from the bench that we wanted to give the JV players a chance to get in and enjoy themselves as well.”
Parents play big role: While Steigleman has been a big help for Myers and Spadafora, the hard work of putting everything together required a lot of assistance. Both players gave their parents a ton of credit for helping out.
“Our parents really helped us do so much,” said Myers of her mom, Jennifer, and her dad, Ryan. “My mom stayed up past midnight baking cupcakes last night.”
“And my parents really helped us out a lot as well,” Spadafora said of her mother, Theresa, and her father, John.
Teacher assistance: Myers and Spadafora also gave the school’s graphic arts teacher a big shout out for helping with the artwork and design for the shirts.
“Mr. Lewis was a huge help,” Spadafora said. “He did all the printing for us and he gave it to us at a discounted price because it was for a good cause.”
Football players now have to wear kilts: Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the day for the field hockey team was the reward for winning. As a result of their triumph, the football team, which is coming off a big 14-7 triumph over Susquehannock last week, will have to wear kilts to school Friday before the school’s homecoming contest against Eastern York.
Coach Ivan Quinones, who is in his first season coaching the football team at West York, didn’t seem to mind the "punishment" for losing.
“It was great to see the camaraderie between the two teams and it was all for a great cause,” Quinones said. “It was a lot of fun to watch, but even more fun to just see how uncoordinated some of my players are.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.