By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com,. Posted 12/10/10
More than $2,500 was raised Sunday in the second annual “Cuddle My Kids” lacrosse tournament at West Chester East.
The event featured three round robin boys’ games (mostly 15-year-olds) between host club team Man-Up, as well as Twist and HEADstrong clubs. There also was an elite high school girls’ game involving players from West Chester East, Villa Maria Academy, Henderson and Bishop Shanahan.
Man-Up presented Cuddle My Kids co-founder Scott Gabrielsen with a check for $2,500. Gabrielsen and his wife, Cathy, created Cuddle My Kids, a home-based, non-profit that assists children directly affected by cancer.
Man-Up is a club team whose mission is to help lacrosse coaches and families in need of assistance through fundraising and service. Scott Gabrielsen, a former collegiate and pro standout with the five-time champion Philadelphia Wings, is a youth coach with West Chester Lacrosse.
Gabrielsen addressed the group about giving and how proud he was to be involved in a sport where so many people cared about others.
In the games, Man-Up, coached by Jim Schorn and Paul Meyers, went 2-0 in the tourney. Jim Drake coached Twist and Matt Flynn headed HEADstrong, which plays to honor the memory of Nick Colleluori – a former Ridley great who fought blood cancer before passing away four years ago.
The event also featured an elite girls’ game involving players committed to, Villanova, North Carolina, Penn State, St. Joseph’s, Lehigh, West Chester, Old Dominion, Drexel, Lock Haven and others. The girls battled the coldest and windiest part of the day.
“I spoke to the teams and expressed that they play a Native American game centuries old, and that they are modern day warriors, but more specifically they are ‘Gentlemen’ warriors because they play a great game but play it with respect and integrity both on and off the field,” said Gabrielsen, detailing his speech to the player. “These young men played in a lacrosse tourney for the fun and competition of the game while the proceeds of the day went on to help young kids enjoy a day while their parent endures the hardship of cancer treatments.
“My wife Cathy and I want to thank all the boys and girls and volunteers that made this a great day. Their efforts will help a family go through the balancing act of fighting their cancer while caring for and nurturing their young children.”
Man-Up sold 267 wreaths while Twist and HEADstrong brought large team donations. Some spectators bought more wreaths at the field.
Other donations were made by M&M Lacrosse Academy, Penns Table Restaurant, the Yellow Dog Saloon and Lacrosse International. The trainer, Megan Aukett, and referees Bill Twohig, Tim Barrar and Kevin Schaeffer as well as girls’ umpire Dawn Grothman and timekeeper Don Merrill donated their time.
Gregg Merril sold the most wreaths (38). He has been sidelined with an injury for the last 5 months, but hasn’t missed an event all fall.
Others that helped organize the girls’ game were C.J. Grothman, Christa Somitz, Tayler Clark, Leah Pepplemen and Haley Cocco.
The tourney leaders wished to thank Sue Cornelious, W.C. East athletic director, for helping organize the event; and Mike Bauer and the West Chester Youth Lacrosse Association for their support.
Gabrielsen, a coach with West Chester Youth lacrosse, was an All-American midfielder at Princeton High School and an All-American at the University of Vermont. He played for the Philadelphia Wings for 10 years, and as captain, helped he team win league championships in 1989, ‘90, ‘94, ’95 and ‘98.
Gabrielsen is a member of the PA, New Jersey and Vermont Chapters of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame as well as the Princeton High and University of Vermont halls.
In the past year, Man-Up has raised funds also for the Kivlin Family, the Michael Breschi Foundation, the Baldwin Family and a few that remain anonymous.
“I need to give great credit to Jim Schorn for his creation of Man Up lacrosse, for their purpose is greater than the game itself,” Gabrielsen said. “Besides creating an elite boys travel team and coaching them high level lacrosse skills, he is teaching them the values of being a good person with concerns for others that are not as fortunate or are going through personal hardship.”
For more information on Cuddle My Kids, go to this website: www.cuddlemykids.org