On Monroe football, East baseball and the value of sports (including chess)

On Monroe football, East baseball and the value of sports (including chess)

1981 Brighton vs. Webster (Democrat & Chronicle) Caption; “Dave Kramer of Brighton concentrates on his next move. He lost.”

July 24, 2015

Today, Brian Sharp and James Johnson have written an excellent article on the value sports provides to city students with a focus on Monroe Coach Jason Muhammad. Based on my experience in the RCSD, I concur with all their points which deserve amplification.  Democrat and Chronicle/Rochester continues to expand school sports programs/

Monroe Coach Jason Muhammad with 1987 jersey

Specifically, I first met Coach Muhammad even before his Modified team was officially born, quickly learning about his passionate belief in the powerful, transformative impact football can and does have on the lives of youth.

To publicize the resurgent program, we did a post on the last time the Red Jackets fielded a varsity squad back in 1987. We scanned pictures from an old yearbook, and Jason retrieved an old team jersey and helmet. In terms of SHARES and COMMENTS, the post was by far the most successful. I was overwhelmed by the comments from older players who were inspired by both football and Coach Muhammad.

Football returning to Monroe after 30 year hiatus

I also had the chance to write on the retirement of East’s Coach Paul Brigandi who won championships while always putting academics and life goals first. During the course of making the post, the number of people who came forward to say that Paul had changed their lives for the better was again overwhelming.

East’s Coach Brigandi proved the value of sports extends beyond the playing fields

 

East baseball team inside the University of Pittsburgh clubhouse

My passion is baseball (and chess, more of that shortly). When East baseball Coach Kyle Crandall and I first met, his team was about to leave for a road trip to play ball in Pittsburgh. A road trip might not seem like a big deal, but RCAC baseball teams rarely get the opportunity to play outside Rochester and a few surrounding counties. In making this and subsequent trips possible, I learned of Kyle’s (with brother Brett often at his side) dedication to not just winning titles, which East has, but to building a foundation–hard work, self-control, teamwork–for lifetime success.

 East baseball takes the show on the road. Destination Pittsburgh

East baseball triumphs again; SOTA’s Kenny Cruz named RCAC player of the year

City baseball opens; East set to defend title

Displaying East’s glorious past

To see the connection between athletics and academic success, look no further than SOTA’s Kenny Cruz. Kenny is not only one of the hottest local baseball prospects since Cito Culver and Ernie Clement, but when we first met, Kenny had the highest GPA in the entire District. Or see Wilson’s Owen Gabbey who gained a Rochester Promise scholarship to the University of Rochester and now plays for the Yellowjackets.

SOTA’S Kenny Cruz

No off season for SOTA’s rising baseball star. Oh, Kenny also currently has the highest GPA in the entire RCSD.

The Kenny Cruz watch: highest ranked outfielder in NYS, 22nd in the nation

“Rochester Promise” kept: Wilson’s Owen Gabbey, three time RCAC player of the year, gains scholarship to the University of Rochester

Wilson’s Owen Gabbey; two time baseball player of the year whose family believes in city schools

Finally, city chess is increasingly gaining in popularity. Whether you want to call chess a sport (the Olympics does) or not, participation can provide students with a similar experience found on other teams. At All City High, chess was popular before, during (lunch time tournaments) and after school.  A whole community has coalesced around the Wilson Wildcats team. My own fondest memories of high school were my time as a Brighton Baron on the chess team.

Sports works for RCSD students.

City schools shine as Wilson bests SOTA in chess finals

Wilson Wildcats open title defense with 5 straight wins. SOTA stands at 5-3; All City is 4-5; East 2-3

Another RCSD success story. Wilson completes sterling season. Claims 2nd place in the States. Falls just short to Brighton in Rochester Area Interscholastic Chess Playoffs.

Wilson chess completes season in spectacular fashion at the Super Nationals

RCSD team wins again

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About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, and the CITY.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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