It is difficult to write this post, expressing some much-deserved thank-yous, without sounding self-congratulatory. But it is more important to publicly show gratitude to several praiseworthy people at the risk of an unintended sentiment, so please read on understanding the spirit with which it is intended.
Last summer the idea was formed to add to our FCIAC Player of the Week awards with a Football Team of the Week award. It proved a rousing success, so much so that we decided to build on it and give out Team of the Week awards in the winter and spring and extend it to all sports.
The concept has proved a win-win-win for everyone involved. The first seed was simple: there are fewer and fewer forums these days for high school athletes to get recognition for their accomplishments. More so, it is even more difficult for students in sports that don’t get as much publicity. And why not make it a vote on the blog, to get reader involvement and stimulate some interesting dialogue?
It has been gratifying to see the response from the athletes, coaches and administrators. Teams were grateful just to be nominated, and the gymnast, swimmer and golfer were glad to be on the same forum as the basketball and baseball player.
What probably made these blog awards more special was the ability to give out T-shirts to the winners. By a rough estimate, there were about 1,400 handed out to FCIAC athletes, not to mention the plaques and trophies.
Credit for this goes to Matt Cole and the people at BlueStreak Sports Training, Garden Catering and my employer, the Stamford Advocate, who were all supportive of the project and shared the enthusiasm to do something positive for high school athletes.
And none of this would have been possible without the incredible time and work put in by Vinny Yade, the Advocate’s Marketing Services Manager, who helped get this all off the ground and took care of all the promotion.
And, of course, there were you loyal readers who took the time to vote, engage in (mostly high-brow) debate and kept coming back.
So to everyone mentioned, I just found it impossible not to write this to say a great big Thanks!
As for the future, I’m glad to say that BlueStreak, Garden Catering and the Advocate are back on board for next year. We will also soon be announcing some new sponsors who are also going to help us grow this even more. We are debating a number of ideas to see what makes the most sense before the start of the school year.
Two things are certain: the Football Team of the Week award is going to become an overall Fall Team of the Week. And we will be adding one new award, to the Coach of the Year at the end of each season.
And we hope to have a few non-vote projects over the summer to keep high school athletes in the spotlight.
And hopefully keep you coming back here.