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More than Pride

Posted Friday, October 09, 2009 by Rich Carpinello

Former rivals unite for a cause


October 9, 2009

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HARRISON - Benjy Seckler caught the pass from Jamie Cohen and raced into the end zone. He said it was 60 yards, but you know how things tend to get bigger and greater as the years go by.





"Yeah, the older we get the longer the plays," said Cohen, the quarterback of the 1986 Harrison team that, at that point, had a 12-0 first-half lead over a Rye team that wouldn't lose a game over two seasons.



Seckler then did the ridiculous. Out of sheer excitement he climbed up the goal post.



"I always joke around that that could have been the happiest moment of my life and that includes my marriage and the birth of my kids," said Dr. Seckler, now a radiologist in Western Massachusetts.



"At the time," Cohen added, "I'm sure it seemed like it."



Rye would mount a stirring comeback to win 15-12 on two short touchdown runs by Sal Giglio, who said the Garnets were angry about Seckler's pole climb.



It's funny what time and tears and friendships can do.



Giglio would marry a Harrison majorette, Roseann Botte, who told him that was just the way Seckler was, funny and spontaneous. More recently, Roseann was texting with another Harrison player from that era, Jay Caruso, and they were talking about having a flag football game between the Harrison and Rye alums.



When he spoke with Caruso, former Harrison halfback Craig Calcagni said, "If we're going to pull this off, let's do it for charity. Let's do it for Benjy."



So they will - it'll be players from the 1985, '86 and '87 Rye and Harrison teams at Feeley Field in Harrison Sunday at 1 p.m.



Seckler's son Charley, who turns 9 next month, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Five years ago, Seckler and his wife, Tracy, started Charley's Fund, a foundation to raise money for research toward therapies and, hopefully, a cure for this fatal children's disease. The foundation has raised more than $16 million, 95 percent of which goes directly to research (the flag football game has already topped $13,000; admission is free, donations requested; go to charleysfund.com).

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