By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/1/12
With an amazing cast of talent and a professional arena as the venue, this year’s Philly Charity Showdown is expected to be one of the highlights of the year in the Philadelphia lacrosse scene.
The event, run by NXTsports, is the kickoff to the Philly Showcase and will be held on Friday, Nov. 16 at PPL Park in Chester. It will raise money to benefit HelpHOPELive in honor of Logan Schweiter, a Conestoga Youth Association lacrosse player suffering from serious injuries due to the flooding waters of a storm last summer.
The Showdown features five games between top club and high school programs from the Philly region and around North America. The club matchups include HEADstrong vs. Leading Edge (N.J.), Mesa Fresh vs. Laxachusetts (MA) and NXT vs. Titanium (Mideast USA) while high school games involve Haverford School vs. Hill Academy (Ontario, Canada) and Episcopal Academy vs. Conestoga.
All the club programs are well-regarded in the national circle. Conestoga is the three-time PIAA champion and Haverford School is the four-time defending Inter-Ac League champion and 2011 national champion, while Episcopal Academy won the Inter-Ac Invitational in May. Hill Academy, coached by Wings captain and standout Brodie Merrill, is perennially considered one of the top teams in the nation, but is not included in high school rankings.
The Philly Charity Showdown at PPL Park is open to the public. General admission tickets are $20 for adults, and all kids 12 and under are welcome to attend for free. Click here for more information or to help support Logan Schweiter.
Last year the Charity Showdown was held at St. Joseph’s University and was a rousing success while benefitting Logan Schweiter. The year before it was held at Cabrini College and benefited the late Dan Carr. The Philly Showcase continues on Nov. 17 with the Sophomore-Junior Showcase and on Sunday with the Senior and Invitational event; both days are at Episcopal Academy and more than 150 college coaches are expected for the weekend.
“The lacrosse community, in general, has been amazing in its support,” said Marty Schweiter, Logan’s father. “St. Joe’s was such a fine venue, but now it’s been taken to a professional venue. NXT has been so good to us. Andy Hayes (the NXT Director and Episcopal Academy coach) has been successful across the board, but he has been so driven in his charitable giving.”
Schweiter said Logan’s progress has been slow, but that the family remains hopeful. Also this year, Logan’s older brother, sophomore defenseman Parke Schweiter (Conestoga High), will play on the NXT team in the tourney.
“It will be bittersweet for Parke,” said Schweiter. “We wish Logan could be playing. Logan’s had a rough summer, which is common to this injury. But the fundraising assistance gives us more options to explore ways for Logan to recover and improve.”
Sean Morris, Director of Laxachusetts, said the event is a win-win experience for everyone involved.
“We at Laxachusetts are in full support of the guys at NXT and this event,” he said. “The Charity Showdown is something that resonates with us.
“To support any foundation or cause putting together lacrosse benefits us all. Unfortunately, scenarios pop up in our sport and culture and anything we can do is a positive. It’s an incredible venue and we are playing against top-notch talent in Mesa Fresh.
“But this gives kids something to understand that there is more to life than lacrosse.”
A.J. Auld is Founder and CEO of Titanium Lacrosse (Ill.), which has players come from Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri. His Friday team will feature uncommitted players from the 2014 and 2015 classes.
“The Philly Showcase is obviously one of the top if not the top Fall recruiting events in the country and we found a lot of similarities between what they are doing and what we like to do,” he said. “I am very humbled to be involved in this charity event.
“Having learned about what happened (to Logan), I look at my own experience as coach of Dublin Jerome. In a span of about 3 months we had one former player suffer a major spine injury and become a quadriplegic and another current player suffer a major head injury. When I saw videos, it struck home.
“I have seen the challenges these families go through when a major accident like that happens. Anything we can do to help out – and I am speaking on behalf of all the families in Titanium – it’s exciting for us to get behind the cause in any way we can.”
Brian Neary, as director of the HEADstrong Lacrosse Club, knows well about fundraising for a cause.
“The HEADstrong Lacrosse Club is always looking to be involved with events that benefit charities,” he said. “Last year, when we heard about Logan’s accident and shortly thereafter when Showcase Lacrosse wanted to hold an event in order to benefit Logan and his family, we were all over it.
“This year’s event is simply a gigantic step in the right direction with the site, teams, and mission. We are honored and humbled to be a part of the games at PPL Park.
“As is a staple of the HEADstrong Lacrosse Club, our goal is to raise awareness in the fight against blood cancer by wearing lime green and playing in Nick Colleuori’s memory…relentlessly. We’re looking forward to another incredible event put on by the boys at Showcase Lacrosse!”
Conestoga coach Brian Samson has seen the community rally behind the Schweiter family first-hand. He believes the event will only strengthen the bond between the lacrosse community and Logan’s fight.
“It is an exciting opportunity to compete for a cause,” he said. “The money raised will help an organization and a family in our community and for that, we are grateful. The goal is to get as many friends, family, and fans in PPL Park as possible.”