Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Many neighborhoods have their version of a "Turkey bowl"...which finds old friends and guys from the block getting muddy and slopping around in a Thanksgiving day game of touch football. As guys get older, there are a few kids involved....then a few more. Eventually,the game becomes more about the kids. I refer to this stage of the tradition as the "ACL-tear Bowl" as injuries can visit the creaky pins of mid-40's wanna be Desean Jacksons as easily as a rookie chef can dry out a turkey....nothing like a trip to the E.R. on Thanksgiving because you pivoted too hard trying to deke a 6th grader.
My friend and professional colleague Steve Schain has elevated one of the local "Turkey Bowls" here on the Main Line to a status so laudable, that even the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a long piece about the game in today's paper. An excerpt of same will be recorded below.
In the meantime, I applaud Steve for his effort and for what he has created. I have known Steve since Junior High and was very pleased to get re-aquainted with him over the last several years. He is a funny, intelligent,friendly guy and a damn fine father, Lawyer and philanthropist. He gives his time to his kid's teams and to the local little league and to his friends. Every neighborhood needs more guys like him.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.The following is an excerpt from the column about the Amherst bowl:
"The tradition begins with Steve Schain, so it's his story. He's a 47-year-old lawyer reliving childhood as a suburban Superdad. Only instead of a cape, he flies around Bala Cynwyd wearing an American flag bandanna on his bald head.
Nine years ago, the Amherst Bowl was just Steve calling buddies to drag their boys out for touch football on Thanksgiving morning. If they were lucky, the kids worked up an appetite and the men scored points with their wives.
"I was there the first year. It was just a few of us and it was very casual," recalls Michael O'Hare, a lawyer for mutual funds and father of Connor, 13, and Tim, 10.
Now, 127 players make up 12 teams playing five 20-minute games for neighborhood glory. They wear color-coded T-shirts and pay a $25 entry fee that lets them carb up on doughnuts and pretzels.
Schain matches the money left over after the costs are paid and donates it to children's charities. This year's list includes a foundation memorializing Charlie Schwab, a beloved Lower Merion dad who died recently.Intense competitors crave a gilded Amherst Bowl Cup, but Schain eschews such pageantry.
"If there was a brass ring," he surmises, "people wouldn't play for the fun of it."
"I want every kid to have one great play they talk about with their kids at Thanksgiving in 30 years," he adds. "I'm just trying to give every father and son a memory."