More Than A Club
By Ian Strohbehn
“Más Que Un Club.” That’s the official motto of the Barcelona Soccer team, translated as, “More Than A Club.”
The Hanover Boys Soccer team embodies this motto. There is a certain community-mindedness about the Hanover soccer team. In addition to playing quality soccer, the team has several other important goals, such as helping each other and the community.
Commitment to public service has always been a big part of our season. Our coach, Rob Grabill, emphasizes that it is important to reach out to the community. Success in soccer at HHS means being a good team player, but also being an active citizen. To ensure this, we are regularly invited and encouraged to participate in community service projects offered throughout the season.
Our team has taken part in several community projects, including the CHaD Half Marathon, where many superheroes showed up to walk, run and fly to benefit the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. Another was at the home game against Hartford High School: our team sponsored a drive to collect much-needed food for the Haven, as well as donations to the American Red Cross and the Hartford Recreation Department for rebuilding fields and playgrounds. This collection was especially important for our Hartford neighbors, who had just suffered terrible devastation from Hurricane Irene. Through the generosity of the community, we collected a vanload of food and almost $700 in contributions.
The other food drive we sponsored was the fourth annual Hanover-Lebanon food drive, where non-perishable food items were collected for the Haven.
To help fight hunger locally and abroad, Coach Grabill invited our team to participate in the annual CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Walk. This year’s CROP Walk, organized by our teammate, Peter Bensen, was a huge success, with a large turnout of Hanover High athletes. The total amount raised by the eighteen HHS Varsity Soccer boys who attended the event was $2500. As Coach Grabill said, “This was a good moment for our soccer team and for all the HHS athletes (sixteen HHS Field Hockey girls walked with Coach Jean Essex, and eight HHS Soccer girls walked with Coach Doug Kennedy).
This year, due to the natural disaster in our own backyard, we were honored to be able to help our neighbors whose lives had been devastated by Hurricane Irene. The first weekend after the hurricane, a group of six from the team went out to Hartford to help with the cleanup. It was an eye-opening experience for our team to participate in the cleanup activities and to reach out to help our neighbors in Hartford and Sharon, VT.
We also try to set good examples for younger kids. Every year we try to help out with an elementary school soccer season, this year by helping to coach the Hanover 5th/6th grade soccer team at the Ray School. Last year we volunteered as referees at the Norwich Elementary Soccer Jamboree.
During this soccer season, we were reminded that we were not just a soccer team, but also members of a bigger community, and that we could be proud that we had contributed to it. We have played great soccer and shown that we are good citizens and good neighbors. This is why we do soccer.