Any high school athletic program worth its salt is doing more these days than providing participants with the opportunity to hit, run and score
Legacy Day was the brainchild of Mercy softball coach Chuck Sciortino, a guy who gets it. His players do more than play. They get involved. A Legacy Independent Living Center sits just outside the outfield fence at Mercy. The girls have been visiting the center as part of the community involvement program attached to the sports teams.
“It’s just an awesome opportunity for us to actually interact with them,” said senior catcher Emily Graham. “We got to meet some of them. It’s nice to have another connection with them and have that support both ways. It’s really great.”
It didn’t take too long to put the pieces together here. Mercy returned the favor and invited the Legacy residents to the school Saturday for a day of sport. The lacrosse team had a game at 11. The softball team played at 1. Hot dogs on the grill and ice cream provided the fare. 70 degrees worth of sunshine completed the package.
“Oh I think this is great,” said Florence Larson, a 1943 graduate of Marcellus High School in the Syracuse area. “The girls are so polite and well-mannered and really nice. So I think it’s a great thing and I’m glad they invited us over.”
“They asked me a lot about my college decisions, said Monarch Emily Hebert. “They kept it interesting. They wanted to know about my family a little bit and how I liked Mercy and the softball program.”
When it came time to start the softball game, Mary Ryan was coaxed to the field to throw out the first pitch. A Legacy resident, Mary is also a Mercy grad. She still wears her Class of 1939 ring.
“When they asked me to do it I said, ‘do I have to wind up or something?’ I can throw it three feet. They’re taking the chance, not me.”
Ryan lived on Wisconsin Street near East High. It cost ten cents to take the street car from her home to school back then. Mary admits to pocketing the dime and talking the 40 minute walk. Maybe it was all that early exercise and maybe it wasn’t. But at age 92, she is both sharp and engaging.
“It’s very exciting and it’s wonderful to see the progress he school has made,” said Ryan. “We didn’t even have an auditorium or anything. We only had an assembly. We did all our sports in the assembly. When I went to school the nuns were all in habit. This is a whole new world for me.”
The day was a win-win for both sides of the intergenerational event. Both the softball and lacrosse teams won for good measure. However, the game details and the scores aren’t what will be remembered most from Legacy Day at Mercy High.
Page 2 of 2 - Bill Pucko is a career journalist, an award-winning writer and broadcaster. He has worked over 30 years in television, radio, and newspapers in Rochester. He is a sports columnist for the Messenger Post Newspapers, co-founded and editor of Bylinesports.com, producer and host of a high school sports show on WBGT.