This past Saturday, May 13th, the 5th Annual Play For Will Game took place here at Nashoba. The Central Mass Spartans took on the Nashoba teachers, all for a great cause. This basketball game has been a great way to raise money for The Jimmy Fund Foundation as well as the Tecumseh Foundation. The game was sponsored by Dave Wasserman, CPA, The Jospeh Family, Murphy insurance Agency, Nashoba Valley Winery, Stow Youth Baseball Association, Twin Springs and Kotlarz Realty.
Brendan Aylward, who sets up this event and also coaches the CMSpartans, has been doing this fundraiser since 2013 in memory of his friends Will Hurley and Leah Tepper, who was killed in a car crash and by adrenal cancer shortly after, respectively. All three of them went to Nashoba and were neighbors growing up. Brendan still comes back to Nashoba and does this fundraiser to remember his friends lives and others. He said “The mission is to improve and expand upon students athletic experience both on and off the field. The funds also support all sports, coaches, educators, trainers and parents who help Nashoba athletes. The Jimmy Fund serves Dana Farber Cancer Institute and provided Leah with amazing opportunities.”
The game was phenomenal, with the Spartans winning over the teachers 41-37. Z-Murph (#13) hit 2 huge 3 pointers, one of which was the game winning shot. The crowd roared as Z-Murph ran with a huge smile on his face pointing to his friends in the crowd. Troy Sydney (#15) also had a great shooting game helping them to pull out a win. As for the teachers, there were some air balls but a great effort overall. The teachers roster included Mr. A, Mr.Glover, Mr.Berube, Mr.French, Ms. Rich, Mr.Cormier, Mrs.Frisch, Mrs.Doyle, Mrs. Carpenter, Ms. Hoole, Mr. Nickerson.
This game is always an uplifting, memorable, fun, night when the community comes together and has a great night watching a great game and raising money for a great cause. Mr. A is a teacher who played in the game and helps contribute with setting up the 50/50 raffles. He says “$4065 dollars was raised that night and it was a good turn out with 200-250 people there supporting.”
Its also nice to see the best buddies being able to have a game with a huge crowd and people cheering them on. Brendan says “I am thrilled to see the attention that my Special Olympics athletes receive and how excited they are for the opportunity to play in front of a crowd. I am also thankful of everyone who attends the game as it is really nothing without them.” Over the past 5 years the event has grown and grown and they have raised a little over 40,000 dollars. The crowd keeps on getting bigger and bigger, which is more important as Brendan says “More important than the money is getting a large crowd there to make it a memorable night for my athletes and to remember two people who completely shaped who I am today.”