Jun 03, 2012 Stephanie Bouvia Uncategorized
More than 800 people came out to show their support for West Genesee modified sports, including the star of NBC’s “30 Rock,” actor Alec Baldwin.
West Genesee High School hosted the first annual Save Modified Sports Run/Walk on Sunday, June 3, at 9 a.m. Participants could choose between a 1.5-mile or 4-mile route, and were able to walk or run.
The run/walk was followed by an indoor softball game between Camillus Middle School and West Genesee Middle School faculty members. The CMS team won 6 – 4.
The fundraiser event was developed in order to raise enough money to allow middle school students to continue playing modified sports. Budget cuts threatened to cut the number of students who could participate in these sports from 600 to 300, said Jane Baldwin Sasso, member of West Genesee Modified Sports Booster, Inc. and sister of Alec Baldwin. The district was faced with the challenge of raising $75,000.
Sasso said it is immensely important to keep modified sports in the district.
“Three-hundred middle schoolers that don’t play a sport are going home to a house without parents, to a television, to trouble, Internet, X-box — I want them playing,” Sasso said. “We have such incredible coaches at our middle schools, and they should be in front of those people. They’re a good influence.”
Before beginning the softball game, Alec Baldwin spoke candidly to the people packed in the gymnasium. For Baldwin, supporting his sister and West Genesee’s modified sports was a no-brainer.
“If my sister, Jane, had two sons who were not hockey players, and they were science freaks, we would all be here dissecting frogs,” he joked.
Baldwin was supposed to throw out the first pitch, but said he threw out his shoulder and was not able to do so. He welcomed seventh-grade West Genesee Middle School student Grace Schnorr to take his place on the mound.
“Thankfully, we have a real professional with us today,” Baldwin said, introducing Schnorr. The crowd erupted in applause as Schnorr approached home plate to throw the first pitch.
Gil Schnorr, Grace’s father, said he was “totally surprised” when Baldwin called his daughter up to throw the first pitch. Schnorr, one of the founders of the modified sports booster club and president of the Camillus Youth Softball and Baseball Association, said it means a lot to have the Baldwin family come out to support the school’s efforts.
“We can’t thank Ms. Sasso enough for being involved, and the Baldwin sisters” he said. “We’re so fortunate to have them in our community.”
The fundraiser was a prime example of how a group of people can come together to help support the community, Schnorr said.
“A lot of people came here, they didn’t want to run, they didn’t want to do it, but they just wanted to come and support the kids,” he said. “It’s just great.”