By Liam Sample
It is natural to get caught up in student-athletes’ work on the field, ice, track or court, but we often forget the work they do off of it. This work was seen recently, when Plattsburgh’s Student Athlete-Advisory Committee hosted Trunk or Treat Oct. 30 at the Field House Athletic Complex.
Athletes, in trunks of vehicles, lined the parking lot as members of the community were welcomed. Kids from across Plattsburgh came in costume and received candy from the athletes as they went from trunk to trunk.
“For us, we like the community service. We want to make sure we’re involved in the community because so many people from the community support us athletes,” SAAC Co-President and volleyball defensive specialist Lily White said.
This event was oversaw by three faculty advisors, Tennis Coach Kelci Henn, Volleyball Coach Kelsea Healis, and Women’s Lacrosse Coach Kelly Wall. Henn said it was the athletes who “planned it themselves.”
“It’s nice to be an adviser, but I think it’s even better to see our athletes come together and plan these events all on their own and get their teams to show up,” Henn said. “As coaches, we can say ‘hey, show up at this time,’ but they encourage each other to get here.”
Every team had its own trunks, which had unique decorations and costumes. The men’s hockey, basketball and soccer teams dressed in jerseys. The basketball team brought a mini-basketball hoop for the attendees to shoot on.
The women’s soccer team donned Dr. Seuss costumes, with most of the players looking like Thing 1 and Thing 2 and graduate student Allison Seidman being the Cat in the Hat. The women’s lacrosse team decorated its trunk with spider webs and hay, while the softball team went for a “jungle” theme, dressing in different cat headbands.
The tennis team was the sweetest of the bunch, wearing different colored M&M shirts, while the cross country and track and field team dressed as “Despicable Me” characters. The women’s basketball team sported pajama pants, with senior Kara Oartman holding a sign that stated “PJ Party with Women’s Basketball.”
This event brought an opportunity for many of the teams to come together and bond with each other. All throughout the day, athletes were visiting other trunks and interacting with players from other teams.
“It’s nice because a lot of the time, we’re all [in] different seasons so we don’t get to interact with one another,” junior sprinter, jumper and SAAC Co-President Michaela Schaffer said. “These events allow us to meet each other, get to know one another, and just have fun and give back to the community.”
Healis also spoke of the importance of having the athletes come together to organize and put together an event like this.
“It’s good for them. It means a lot for them to be able to be together and [for] them to know what it means to be a part of a department and to be a part of a community,” Healis said.
Along with members of the community, many well-known figures in Plattsburgh Athletics attended with their children. Men’s soccer coach Chris Taylor, men’s basketball coach Mike Blaine, track and field coach Andrew Krug, among others were in attendance. Along with coaches, former women’s soccer player and Plattsburgh Hall of Fame Member Gena(Rosenbaum)Trombley brought her three children to the event.
By being a student-athlete, the effort off the field can be just as important as on the field. Many of the athletes at the event enjoyed helping out the community.
“For me personally, this is why I do it. This is why we all do it. All these people are going to be in the stands, so might as well be good guys and help out,” sophomore hockey forward Luk Jirousek said. “Definitely met a lot of funny kids, made me laugh.”
The men’s hockey team had just finished back to back road games and traveled back from Castleton University late the previous evening. Many members of the team attended despite the busy weekend.
“I think that you get a lot out of it and it’s good to build those relationships with people around the town,” junior hockey forward Bennett Stockdale said.
Similar to the hockey team, the men’s soccer team played a win or go home playoff game in New Paltz the prior afternoon. After traveling back home, the team was still happy to be a part of the event.
“It’s always nice to give back to the people that come and watch us and support us,” graduate student soccer midfielder Trey Ekert said. “Giving back to them in our community service and spending some of our time and our schedule during our season to still be part [of the community] as the team.”
White said seeing the smiles on the kids face, she “holds personal” to her heart.
White and Schaffer said the SAAC has many different events planned, including an Easter egg hunt in the spring and a “giving tree” event for the holiday seasons. Details for upcoming events will be posted on the SAAC Instagram page, @plattsburgh_saac.
“One of the reasons to come to Plattsburgh was because we knew we got a lot of community support from the town,” senior hockey forward Brendan Young said. “It’s nice to come here, give some candy out and give some time back to them.”