By MICHAEL LETENDRE
When the fall scholastic sport’s season gets underway, the programs at Bristol Eastern will open the campaign with one heck of a bang.
The athletic program is continuing to raise money for its field lighting project and in the weeks to come, they’ll be some big news on that front.
“We have some big things going on with the lights” at Bristol Eastern said Chris D’Amato.
But before that, the school will hold two nights of outdoor, evening sporting events and will once again bring in the portable lights for the festivities.
The Lancers will host its first ever soccer games under the lights from the campus of Bristol Eastern high school on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
The girls team is up first at 5:30 p.m. and will be squaring off against CCC Interdivisional foe Farmington while the boys will do the same at around 7:15 p.m. and take on the Indians.
“The kids are excited, the parents are excited, and our Booster Club is excited,” said D’Amato of the event. “A lot of the Farmington people are actually excited too because it’s fairly close and it’s a first time event for us. A lot of the kids know each other through soccer leagues and just playing with each other in soccer clubs.”
But it will be more than just a soccer game.
It’s turning into a grand homecoming event and the hope is many former Eastern players from days gone by will come see the contests.
“At the soccer game, we’ve invited as many alumni female and male soccer players throughout the program to come for the game just to watch,” said D’Amato. “At halftime, we’re going to try to set up a little program and announce and invite any alumni on the field to take pictures. Just to have them back would be a huge thing.”
D’Amato also wants to compile an e-mail list of those past soccer players and there will a tent and table set up at the game just for that purpose.
Also at the game, youths from the Bristol Soccer Club will be at the event and they will be announced on the field with the high school teams before the game.
“They’ll come out walking hand in hand with the players,” said D’Amato of the Bristol Soccer Club. “And then we’ll have a mini five or six minute game on the field as well at halftime.”
It’s a huge event for the Eastern campus considering the soccer games will be played on a Tuesday night and not a weekend date.
“Granted, it’s a Tuesday night, the first game of the year and we’re hoping that it won’t deter people because it’s in the middle of the week,” said D’Amato. “But just like with the football game, we’re hoping for a ton of people to come back to the school. Kids love having things on campus because it’s easy to get to.”
“The fact that both the girls and boys are playing under the lights, on the same night, it’s going to be another huge event for us.”
The raffle for the 2013 Nissan Versa, which will help support the Bristol Eastern High School Athletic fund for the lights, is still ongoing and tickets are still available.
Tickets are just $20 each and can be purchased at Bristol Eastern through D’Amato, Eastern football coach Mike Archangelo or history teacher John Stavens.
They’re also available at City True Value Hardware and Shannon’s Jewelers on Route 6.
Dunphy’s Ice Cream and Diversified Engraving are also still selling the raffle tickets.
“We’re (also) going to have them at every sporting event, starting in the fall,” said D’Amato of the raffle tickets. “They’ll be available at all the volleyball, soccer, and football games leading up to the October event.”
“Worst cases scenario, anyone can purchase them from Bristol Eastern high school.”
Also for tickets, you can simply call the school and ask for Chris D’Amato or John Stavens and they’ll take down your information and have the tickets sent out or you come to Eastern and pick it up.
A number of the soccer parents at Eastern also have raffle tickets as well.
There are 3,500 total tickets available for purchase for the car raffle and the hope is to sell most of them before Oct. 20.
“At the games, if you don’t want to buy a raffle ticket, you can donate any kind of money you want to the actual fund itself,” said D’Amato.
All money donated is being held at the Main Street Foundation and is tax deductible.
Any type of donation will be accepted.
In terms of the actual night of the event in regard to parking, seating, security and the like, the staff is ready for two nights of amazing sports action.
“Logistically, we know how to run it now, we know what to do,” said D’Amato. “We know about the parking, what to do with the buses, everything should run very smoothly.”
“It will be the perfect opportunity for the community to now only see our kids but to see the midget soccer kids come out as well.”
And if these home games are fun this time around, who knows what the future will bring come the fall season in 2014?
“We’re just trying to bring as much excitement as we can,” said D’Amato. “We’re going to have the (portable) lights there for the whole week actually (and) for the games on Tuesday and Friday.”
By MICHAEL LETENDRE