Valley Sports Center officially opened its doors with the first Rally in the Valley, a community event pitting Farmington Valley Police Departments against one another on the basketball court. The event was created by Operations and Marketing Manager Christine Carpenter, to celebrate the opening of VSC and the community it will serve.
The sports center donated $250 to each police department for participating in the basketball tournament. In addition, the winner of the event received a trophy and a gift certificate valued at $200, for five one-hour, batting-cage rentals.
It was a lovely evening, with catered hors d’oeuvres and lively music. First the dignitaries and press arrived to tour the completely renovated facility, the former Canton Racquet Club. Next was the official ribbon cutting, by owner Mark Lange and his family. Then, it was time to talk some smack.
About Town asked representatives of the Avon, Farmington, Simsbury and Canton Police Departments how they expected the evening to go. Specifically, they were asked about their practice regimen, their predictions for the games; any messages they had for their opponents, and how they planned to use the $250 donation from VSC.
They had, needless to say, divergent opinions:
Practice? “No, not at all.” To that end, their prediction/hope was to, “get through the games without any injuries. That would be a good showing for our team.” In terms of a message to the others, “take it easy on us. We have no subs!” It was their intention to donate the $250 to a local charity.
They’ve apparently been practicing by watching a lot of basketball during March Madness, which they hoped would translate positively into their performance tonight. Their prediction for the evening was, “a lot of huffing and puffing from people on the court, as well as a lot of fun.” If they were going to send a message to their opponents, it would be, “If other teams spend a little more time at practice, then maybe they’ll be able to beat Farmington next year!” They will be spending their $250 in a manner that will benefit all the officers on the force.
They have been practicing for a few weeks. They predicted that Farmington was going to surprise everyone -- “They’ve been very quiet.” And, they warned their opponents to, “watch out for our secret weapon; she’s small, but she’s quick!” They planned to invest VSC’s $250 donation in one of their community projects.
The Canton home team has practiced a couple of times. And, they had a bold prediction. “We’re going to roll over the others. It will be over before it begins!” With that kind of bravado, there could only be one message that follows, to opponents. “The others will learn who the real champions in the Valley are!” Upon their anticipated win, Canton will be reinvesting the $250 donation back into the community, either by better equipping its officers to serve or, as Chief Arciero advised, “in some other way that benefits the community.”
Canton Police Department team members included: Chief Chris Arciero; Joe Capaldo; Mark Selander; Matt Keepin; Sgt. Derek Messier; Jon Saucier; John Bement; Sgt. Tyson Deloy; and John Bahre.
Round I: The opening tip was at 6 p.m. Canton against Avon and Simsbury against Farmington; in two concurrent, 30-minute games. The victors of Round I would play each other in Round II: the championship game. The other two teams would play one another in a, still highly competitive, consolation game.
Canton won its first Round game against a very tenacious Avon team, by a score of 30-24. By the time the hard fought championship game was over, Canton had come from behind, against a very talented Simsbury team, to win the championship, 25-22.
As the Canton team hoisted their winning trophy embossed with, “Valley Police Charity Classic Bragging Rights Winner,” Chief Arciero commented, “it was so great to see all the other PDs out here having fun. Everyone was a winner tonight. And, we all had a good time.”
Well done everyone ... especially Canton!
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Valley Sports Center, 310 Albany Turnpike, Canton; 860-693-2378: www.valleysportscenter.com.