How many times have you thought to yourself that you would give anything to be able to play just one more game in the sport that you once excelled? One more chance to step onto a stage that you once thought you would never leave? One more chance to feel the warmth of the spotlight one last time? Did you ever think ‘if I knew then what I know now,’ or perhaps have the physical skills then that you do now? If you answered “yes” to more than one of those questions, congratulations. You are no different than most former athletes who still have those competitive juices flowing through your veins. By the way, if you answered “no” to those questions, you may need to ask someone near you to check your pulse, as you may in fact be dead.
The reason I ask about the “one more chance” is that I have been given such an opportunity. No, I did not get the call I wanted from Redskin Park, at least not yet anyway. I will be playing in the Easter Bowl, a charity flag football game, scheduled to be held April 8th, 2004, of which it’s proceeds benefit Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania. It is a celebrity based event which features former Penn State players including several former and current NFL players, local celebrities and personalities. While it may appear to be only a “charity” game on the surface, trust me when I say that the Easter Seals may be the beneficiary of the proceeds, but the local pharmacies and physicians will also benefit shortly after the game comes to an end. You see, many of the players in this game have answered an emphatic “yes” to all of the questions given at the onset of this piece.
The Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania puts together two such events each year. Along with the Easter Bowl, (now it’s third year, having raised $28,000) they have the Turkey Bowl, which is held in the fall usually around Thanksgiving. The Easter Seals have countless volunteers, many of whom go unnamed. These two Bowls are pulled together by Tony Roefaro, a man that donates his time and energy yet asks nothing in return, except to be able to have some fun and to benefit those who need it most. Roefaro, a police officer with the Spring Township Police Department in Bellefonte, PA, has been involved with Easter Seals for seven years. He took over the duties of organizing the Turkey Bowl as well as starting the Easter Bowl three years ago; all the while performing the duties as a police officer, and serving on the board of The Second Mile, another charity organized by former Penn State defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. Roefaro was named The Centre County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2003 for the work that he does both on and off the job. When asked what motivates him to donate so much of his time to charity, time that takes him away from his own wife and children, his reply was immediate. He feels that he has been blessed as his wife, children and he himself are all in good health. Roefaro stated that if he were to have a disabled child, it is comforting to know that there are organizations such as Easter Seals to provide the care and services necessary to enjoy the life they have been given. He further states that spending time with the children that the proceeds from these events benefit, also make his time well spent. Personally, after spending time with Roefaro it is easy to see that he is passionate about his work, both professionally and with his volunteering. The Easter Seals is a great organization that is filled with Tony Roefaro’s and with their thankless efforts, the children of Central Pennsylvania will continue to benefit from their services.
While this article was not done to illicit donations, if you would like to donate to the Easter Seals, please do so at their website. You can include my name if you like as the player you are donating for or if you like, you can donate under Tony Roefaro’s name. Either way, just know that you are benefiting a great cause, our children.
Be sure to check back next week for a recap of this year’s edition of the Easter Bowl.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart