The day after Thanksgiving, more than a dozen moms from North Salem laced up their cleats and took to the turf at John Jay High School in Cross River for the third annual SCC BodyArmor Women’s Thanksgiving Shootout, a flag football tournament that raises money for Love Holds Life, a national nonprofit that supports children and their families fighting cancer. Being on the field was a role reversal for most of these ladies, whose free time is often spent on the sidelines, cheering on their children as they compete in SCC’s youth flag football league.
“We spend many hours fieldside or courtside, cheering our kids on. To be the one on the field and having your kid high five you when you come off the field, it’s a really nice feeling as a mom,” said Megan Kennedy, who played for the Peach Lakers.
The Peach Lakers was one of nine teams to compete in the tournament, nearly all with tongue-in-cheek names. The Green Babe Packers also counted several North Salem moms among its roster. Other teams included the Twerkies, the Titsburgh Steelers and the Tight Ends.
The Peach Lakers did not come away with the title but put up a strong fight, ending the day with one win, one loss and one tie. “It was very competitive,” Kennedy said, adding, “nobody can walk this morning. I definitely have muscle pain where I didn’t know I had muscle.”
Kennedy and her teammates said the aches and pains were more than worth it, not only for how their play earned them newfound respect in their children’s and husbands’ eyes, but also for the tournament’s greater purpose–to support families fighting pediatric cancer.
At the start of the tournament, Adam Kern, the director of SCC Flag Football, brought all of the participating teams and their families together and said a few words about how funds raised from the tournament would benefit Love Holds Life. The charity focuses on providing monetary aid for medical expenses associated with pediatric cancer that are not covered by insurance. The organization maintains offices in Dutchess and Westchester counties.
Though the event’s purpose–and tournament play– was serious, the participating moms and their families made sure to have a good time. “I think the men were more excited than the women,” Kennedy said. “They had a group text about tailgating. Somebody made homemade chili, they had bagels, brought coolers. The dads were really into it,” she said.
“It was just a really fun day,” Kennedy said. “One of those feel good days.”