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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Take a timeout, Mother Nature

The weather report says Mother Nature is going to give us a break.

Let’s hope the old girl holds up her end of the bargain. Because, really, she’s the only thing that could sour what promises to be a fantastic night.

There’s no red carpet or six-hour pregame show, but tonight’s game at Jerome T. Osborne Sr. Stadium in Mentor is an all-star event.

No, Justin Bieber won’t be there. (Thank goodness!) We’ve got someone better! Well, 70 of them, actually.

You’ve seen and heard us talking up The News-Herald Senior Bowl for weeks now, and tonight’s the night.

Seventy of the areas top, just-graduated seniors will take the field all for the sake of charity. The rosters are loaded with players from all three of the counties we cover, so you’re bound to be familiar with a bunch of them.

After tonight’s game, some will go on to play college ball, while others will take the academic track in school. In the case of Riverside graduate Joe Palmer, he’ll begin work on his firefighting career.

But, tonight, they’ll step on the field in the name of Clothe-A-Child, which works to provide warm clothes and shoes for needy area children.

The News-Herald’s charity has raised more than $3.5 million its 30 years. All profits from ticket sales, souvenirs and games of chance at tonight’s game will go toward send more area youngsters shopping at Sears and Payless ShoeSource at Great Lakes Mall.

As a volunteer shopper for several years, I see the value in this service. It’s a thrill to help the youngsters pick out clothing they want to wear, while always staying true to Mom’s rules.

They don’t understand the misfortune that’s led them to these shopping trips, but they don’t need to worry about that. They’re kids — their only job is to learn their lessons in school and mind their manners.

It’s been wonderful to see all the volunteers come together to put this game together. Area restaurants including Hooley House in Mentor; Glory Daze Bar and Grill in Wickliffe; Subway in Mentor; Purple Shamrock in Willowick; and Phil’s Catering in Ashtabula have fed the players before practices each night this week.

And, before tonight’s game will be one of my personal highlights — 10-year-old Kirtland resident Logan Potosky will sing the National Anthem.

When I was 10, I was throwing roller skates at my brother. This kid with the beautiful voice is going to stand up in front of a huge crowd to inaugurate what we hope will become a tradition. Check out his winning performance in the May 23 contest to win the right to perform tonight at

At halftime, you’ll see the awarding of The News-Herald’s first scholar-athlete award. We’ve heard the question many times. Many of you have probably said it.

"Why do the athletes get all the glory?"

That ends tonight when an area student is rewarded for smarts in the classroom.

You’ll also catch a glimpse of the stars of the past, when Euclid graduate and former Notre Dame standout Tony Fisher does the coin toss before the game. The News-Herald’s football player of the year award is named after Fisher, who is a tremendous backer of area high school football.

And, if that wasn’t enough, I have the best news of all.

Tickets to the game are affordable. Adults get in for $7, while student tickets are $5. Pre-sale tickets, which were sold through Friday, were $5.

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, this is a great bet. Youngsters playing for the thrill of the game one last time on a high school field.

If only Mother Nature will cooperate.

Twitter: @LauraNH


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