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Sports
Gridiron heroes always willing to lend a hand

by Lance Farrell

August 15, 2012

Pictured (from left): Oxford Wildcat football captains Piper Thaler, Zack Hadorn and Marty Giannola helped out during the 5K run at Celebrate Oxford. Photo by Lance Farrell.
This fall you'll hear plenty of noise coming from the Oxford High School football stadium. You'll hear the crowd roar as the Coach Bud Rowley's Wildcats dominate on the infamous blue turf.

But what you may not be able to hear over the din of the crowd is a quiet murmur of thanks. Through a sea of waving arms you may not catch the gentle nod of gratitude or see the slow smile of appreciation dawning. But if you hang around long enough, you'll see past the glint of football glory and hear what really transforms these young Oxford men into heroes.

Over the last few months, many residents of Oxford and Addison townships have been the fortunate recipients of the football team's generosity. On several occasions, the teen turf titans have been witnessed helping citizens throughout the community.

For instance, on April 28 you may have seen them in Leonard as they assisted Christmas in Action (CIA), a nonprofit organization that provides "repairs that enable low-income seniors to safely remain in their homes."

Or perhaps you saw them on Hovey St. at the Immanuel United Church of Christ serving pizza, or lending a hand at FISH, a local food pantry. Or did you see them helping organize this year's Strawberry Festival in Leonard?

But wherever you've seen them, you've likely also heard comments like "Very organized," "Real impressive," "Very mature."

Led by senior Tom Spicuzza, the Wildcats are quickly developing a reputation as much for their willingness to serve citizens as they are to smash a visiting quarterback.

Bob Riley, council chair for CIA, was very thankful to have Coach Rowley and about 25 football players show up this past spring. As Riley explained it, the basement floor at one of CIA's target homes was completely covered with large appliances, shelves, boxes and the miscellany that comes with living one's life.

Led by Tom Spicuzza, the young men made short order of the basement, quickly transferring the contents outside so that repairs could proceed apace. "We couldn't have done it without them," Riley affirmed.

A spokesperson from the Immanuel United Church of Christ said it was a wonderful time and the (guys) were very helpful." For a few hours, the Wildcats served up fresh slices of pizza to hungry parishioners.

Char Sutherby of the Leonard Festival committee couldn't thank the guys enough. She was impressed with the way Spicuzza set up work schedules for all his men and were ready to aid in whatever needed.

Ever the humble defensive lineman, eighteen year-old Spicuzza said the guys are glad to give back to the community, since the "community gives a lot to us (and) members of our community are supporting us every week."

Such good deeds don't go unrewarded, and, thankfully, Spicuzza and company aren't too cool to admit they still like strawberry sundaes. "At the end we went and got some sundaes—that was pretty nice."

Now you've got another reason to cheer on your Wildcats this fall. Not only are they flexing their athletic prowess and mining their dreams for gridiron glory, but they are also honing an all-important weapon in the perennial engagement with suffering and societal inequity: the willingness to lend strength to those without it. This value will see these men and our community through the struggles and triumphs to come.