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Archive for November 4, 2017

Nov. 4, 2017 — Patsy Kamercia, 1948-2017

In English soccer, there’s a tradition just before kickoff where a minute’s silence or a minute’s applause can be demarcated by the head referee to memorialize an event or a person who has shown extraordinary service to the football club.

At last Thursday’s Shoreline Conference field hockey championship between North Branford (Conn.) and Deep River Valley Regional (Conn.), the participating teams and supporters did one better.

“For the next 10 seconds, let’s get loud, and let’s get crazy,” the PA announcer at the Indian River Complex said. “Let’s all let Patsy know that we love her, and we’re here for her!”

The teams joined in a half-minute of boisterous and vocal period of cheers and applause, like young people can do. The cheering and applause resounded clear from Long Island Sound up the Connecticut River.

A day later, Patsy Kamercia, the long-time head field hockey coach at Higganum Haddam-Killingworth (Conn.) lost her year-long battle with cancer.

“We are devastated by the news,” Haddam-Killingworth athletic director Lynne Flint said in a statement. “Patsy is and always will be an incredibly important member of the H-K family. I do not have words to express how greatly she will be missed.”

Kamercia was one of the few remaining coaches of whom it could truly be said that she was the architect of the current team’s success. She started the program at Haddam-Killingworth back in 1975, and also served as a physical education teacher and athletic director at H-K.

Kamercia coached for 40 years, something only about a dozen coaches can rightfully say about their service to scholastic hockey. She won nearly 500 games, but her final game wound up being a significant win — even though the game was a draw. That’s because the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletics Council doesn’t break ties after a second overtime in a championship final; last year’s Class S title was shared between Haddam-Killingworth and Westbrook (Conn.).

It was a month after that game when she notified her team that she would be fighting cancer, leaving the team with assistant coaches Meagan Sears and Mariellen Cherry this year. And it is with this coaching staff that Haddam-Killingworth will have to start this year’s CIAC Class S tournament on Tuesday at Stonington (Conn.).

And will do so, borne on the applause and cheers from last Thursday’s pre-game.

 

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