A Community Rebounding

death by sportsAround the NEK - Death has never and may never be something easy to deal with. Everyone copes in their own way and the reality of losing someone can effect people in different ways.

A common way to cope with the passing of loved ones is to do something in their honor; to prolong their memory in a way they would have enjoyed. Although many see a game as just games and some may speculate they are a waste of time, sports have become a common way for one to cope with death. Whether it be a player wearing a certain band or color, or simply a group of people coming together as a community to host an event in someones name, sports have grown into something much more than just a game.

Two events took place this weekend that proved just that. The pain may be a fresh wound, or it may be healing over time, but the intentions for each event were all in the same. Danville held a basketball clinic to help raise money and awareness for the five families that lost their children in a wrong way driver accident. The accident took place two weeks ago and the Vermont community has come together in support of the families. “It’s really just a community coming together to try and help out as much as we can for a really devastating accident,” says Danville junior Riley Fenoff.

The attitude around the clinic was the same with the other participants as well. “It’s not really for the basketball part it’s to raise awareness about those families that have been affected so greatly in that terrible accident," explained fellow Danville junior Travis Dross.
 The basketball clinic was not the only way that Fenoff and others have gone about showing support for the Harwood community. Fenoff, being a top cross country runner, was scheduled to compete in a Burlington race, an decided to drop out in order to run in the Harwood race. 
“Little things like this camp just trying to help out in anyway we can. There have been cross country meets where people are having Harwood Strong shirts and anyway you can support them is great. All the communities in Vermont are one big family just trying to help them out right now,” Fenoff said.

The Vermont community has done just that. Seven different communities were represented at the basketball clinic, and they were able to raise over $1,000 that will be sent to help the five families. “We’re all trying to support Harwood as much as we can and we’re gonna try to make everything as good as possible," explains Fenoff. 

The Danville basketball clinic was not the only event held this weekend for someone who has pasted away. Kingdom Trails held their annual Circumburke Challenge on Saturday. Circumburke is a 26 miles race that was created to honor the late David Blumenthal.
 “David Blumenthal who passed away… was a big adventure racer and biker and hiker and just an outdoor enthusiast and so they wanted to create a race to honor his memory”, explains CJ Scott, trail manager at Kingdom Trails. The race has been running for seven years now and it has been a way to prolong his memory and bring the community together to participate in the type of events he enjoyed. “I mean to have four hundred people show up to ride this race with the weather that we have right now is a testament to just how special the race is”, says Scott.

The conditions for this year’s race were less than ideal, with cold rain making parts of the course muddy and tough on bikers. However, a little bit of rain fall wasn't going to stop people from coming out to the challenge . The event has become a big part of the community and they look forward to it every year. “It could be snowing two inches right now and people would still ride it”, said Scott.

“A ton of different people who have a part in making this all happen from the landowners to the volunteers to the paid staff to the racers themselves," said Scott. “A lot of support from the community, people coming out to volunteer and to cheer people on, it’s fun”, explains Chris Manges, a rider and teacher at Lyndon Institute. 
 A race that started when a community came together over the death of a fellow mountain biker, has now turned into an event where more than 400 riders come to every year, rain or shine. Vermont Sports Readers has rated Circumbukre the best mountain bike race since 2014. 
Whether it be a basketball clinic, a mountain bike race, or any other athletic event, people continue to find ways to bring the community together in a time of tragedy and support one an other.