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    Monday, February 26, 2024

    This just in: History, community still count for something

    Waterford — We are living in an era of disconnection, thanks to the convenience of technology. We are losing social skills. Interpersonal skills. All the great things that make communities.

    Which is why Jim Cavalieri’s effort here is noteworthy. He’s bringing the town together for one night, a sports night, “a Waterford night,” as he calls it, when we leave our phones in the car and talk to our friends and find out all the good poop going on about town.

    Cavalieri is the point man for the next Waterford Sports Hall of Fame celebration, this time at 6 p.m. Nov. 25 at Great Neck Country Club. Eight honorees, no long speeches, a chance to gather at Langley’s after and enjoy each other’s company.

    The honorees: Aaron Curry, Waterford High class of 1990, indoor/outdoor track, a four-time Div. III All American at Haverford; Stephen Harper, class of 1973, played football at the University of South Carolina; Bridgit Lawrence Buscetto, class of 1978, an outdoor track state champion who earned a scholarship to UCLA; Joe Miller, a community member and Cactus Jack Foundation Hall of Famer.

    Also, the late Kris Morton, class of 1986, a four-time Class M and two-time state wrestling champion; Ric Murallo, class of 1968, a first-team all-state basketball player who earned a scholarship to Central Connecticut; Chris Podeszwa, class of 1989, an all-state baseball player who played (and now coaches at UConn); and Katie Schoepfer, class of 2006, the career goal-scoring leader in state girls’ soccer who later played at Penn State and professionally with the Boston Breakers.

    No arguments about anybody there.

    The biennial celebration coincides with the football team’s home game in the annual Thanksgiving Day matchup with East Lyme. The Lancers, who might be competing for a playoff spot this season, will have a special tent at the game to honor all the inductees, past inductees and their families. It’s a very Waterford day.

    And this is how you do it. It's not necessarily a Waterford thing. Could be anywhere. It’s becoming more important than ever to gather and reconnect. Life happens quickly for all of us. It’s nice to know sometimes that your friends are still your friends, even if you don’t see them as much as the old days. Or you let texts do the talking for you.

    Proceeds from the night — tickets are $30 apiece — benefit the Cactus Jack Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to aid individuals, families and other charitable organizations in need throughout the region. It has been responsible for giving more than $250,000 during its relatively short existence.

    Cavalieri, a Waterford High graduate, de facto town sports historian and principal of the Lyme Consolidated School, is happy to report that the Mortimer family (Dave and Ann run Great Neck CC) has given the foundation a generous donation.

    “Way beyond what we could ever raise,” Cavalieri said.

    This is a night about what lies in town hall vaults, personal scrapbooks, historical societies and libraries. It's about respecting the people who have enhanced the present because of their contributions to the past.

    It is an evening that gives life to a town, just by acknowledging its history.

    It is an evening that should give us all reason to treasure the idea of community.

    This just in: History still counts. So does community.

    They do such nights now in many towns throughout the region. They should be doing this in all of them. We may be transfixed by celebrity and what we see on television. But this is who we are. This is what we do. And we should gather and enjoy more, not less.

    Cavalieri said tickets are available at the door. Good food, good night, good fun, good people. Just the way you draw it up.

    This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.

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