Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tackle ALS Fundraiser This Saturday

Only one thing could possibly cause me to delay the release of my 30-year anniversary team: it was the need to promote something important. (So important, I might add, that I'm kicking myself that I didn't report on this earlier.)

This Saturday (as reported in the Morning Call and on Keith Groller's Morning Call blog) will be the annual flag football ALS fundraiser at Northwestern Lehigh. In years past it has been to help out Brett Snyder ('00) after being diagnosed with ALS (or Lou Gerhig's disease) two years ago. But this year, all proceeds are going to Brett's new foundation Tackle ALS. His foundation "''educates and encourages others to spread awareness about this disease that affects all ages, and to support research aimed at early diagnosis and detection of ALS.''

The event this Saturday, July 28th (rain date is Sunday, July 29th) is at the Northwestern Lehigh football field (off of Route 309). From Interstate 78, take Route 100 North to the intersection of Rte. 309. Go on 309 North for one mile, and Northwestern Lehigh high school will be on your right. Gates open at 5PM, with the alumni flag football games going on at 6PM and 8PM. There is fun for the whole family there, including a moon bounce, face painting, a dunk tank and other activities. It's not just for Northwestern football alumni - it's really more of a summer fair where you can bring the whole family. Show up!

Before I forget, there is another fundraiser coming up for you golfers out there as well: the first annual Tackle ALS Golf outing on Monday, August 27th. It will be at the Blue Bell Country Club and will be $150 per person ($50 if you're only attending the banquet). Interested? Fill out this form and return it to the Fireside Grille in Ambler.

Keith Groller's Morning Call article had updates about Brett, and also Kody Fedorcha ('00), who is also a member of Tackle ALS's board of directors.

''The amount of love and compassion that the people of this area have shown me has been amazing,'' he said. ''The support makes me feel as though I just graduated from Northwestern last year, not in 1996. People want to know how I'm doing and they want to know how they can help. Sometimes, I have no idea who the people are. They just care. It's awesome to feel that kind of love and support.''

For those who want to know how he's doing, Snyder said: ''I'm doing well. I'm far from where I want to be. I am still looking for a full recovery and that's what I'm striving for and I'm still looking at all of the options with new drug trials and so on. I'm fortunate that this is progressing very slowly and I am able to live a pretty normal life right now.''

Snyder was married to the former Carissa Seng last Dec. 28 and since she is a counselor at Northwestern, he's able to keep close tabs on the current Tigers. They now live in Macungie, near his pal Fedorcha.

''I'd do anything and everything to support Brett and Tackle ALS is something to rally around,'' Fedorcha said. ''When Brett was diagnosed with ALS, I was living in California. It made me realize what's really important in life is to be close to family and friends and it's one of the reasons why I moved home. Brett is like family to me. We became friends when we went through the recruiting process at Lehigh. The kind of player and teammate he was symbolizes all that's good in sports.

''The people who meet Brett for the first time will first recognize him for his accolades in football. After you meet him, you'll remember him for much more.''

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What Are They Doing Now?

With the exclusive Lehigh Football Nation 30th anniversary team scheduled to be completed later this week, it's time to look at what some Lehigh football alumni are up to these days. As you'll see, it's about a lot more than just acting suave on camera (nice photo, Rob) - it's about pursuing dreams on and off the football field.

On the football field, Adam Bergen ('05) and Gerran Walker ('06) continue to pursue their dreams of an NFL career. Adam Bergen is in training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, and he seems to have an excellent chance to stick with new head coach Wade Phillips. (And another former I-AA player, QB Tony Romo from Eastern Illinois, might be the guy to get him the ball.) Gerran Walker, on the other hand, was recently cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here's hoping that he will get another shot in an NFL training camp this year, where this speedy receiver would seem to be able to stick somewhere. (Here's a thought - why not my beloved New Orleans Saints? Give him a shot to start next to WR Marques Colston, another I-AA veteran from Hofstra.)

Former QB Bob Aylsworth ('95) isn't in the NFL, but he is proving to be a big success as the CEO of his own job-search company. Based out of Chicago, JobPlex is a worldwide recruiting firm that handles all sorts of job placements, and Bob worked his way right out of college up to the top job there.

Former defensive end James Rovito ('86), a successful bank manager, also has an interesting hobby: owning and managing his own semipro football team. I never followed semipro football before, but I may just have to start following the New York Destroyers. Jeffrey Lurie, Jon Bon Jovi, and Jim Rovito - who knew they had something in common?

Finally, former OT Rob Sandie ('05) co-founded his own video startup called Viddler.Com, a company that allows you to upload, share, and even search your videos. Pretty awesome cutting-edge stuff - and Download.com is using it quite actively. You can also see that Rob is doing well with his own personal site, where you can learn more about his venture, his brother (who plays at Colorado State), and how that photo of him above came about.

Pretty awesome to see so many Lehigh football alumni pursue their dreams and be so successful. In today's sports climate, with steroids, corrupt referees and dogfighting, it's nice to see the positive side of sports with Lehigh alumni like this.
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