An­other arena touched by loss

Jack­son, oth­ers who per­ished re­mem­bered at Am­s­ter­dam foot­ball

Albany Times Union - - FRONT PAGE - Am­s­ter­dam

Stand­ing in the first real chill of fall on Fri­day af­ter­noon, a line of mourn­ers stretched up Cor­nell Street and down Hib­bard Street from the doors of St. Stanis­laus Church, wait­ing hours to en­ter to pay re­spects to eight of the vic­tims of the limou­sine crash that took 20 lives Oct. 6 in Schoharie.

Among the eight mourned in­side St. Stanis­laus on Fri­day af­ter­noon was Adam Jack­son, 34, who was killed in the crash along with his wife, three sis­ters-in-law, two broth­ers-in­law, and friends.

“He came to prac­tice ev­ery day, smile on his face, ready to work,” said Pat Live­rio, smil­ing de­spite the grief vis­i­ble on his face, out­side the Am­s­ter­dam press box be­fore the Rugged Rams’ home foot­ball game against La Salle on Fri­day night.

“We were a blue-col­lar city and the kids were blue-col­lar ballplay­ers who rep­re­sented the city per­fectly,” Live­rio said of Am­s­ter­dam and his Rugged Rams of 2000 and 2001.

Live­rio was the head coach back then, when Adam Jack­son wore No. 58, a two-year stretch in which the team com­piled a 19-2 record, won a Sec­tion II ti­tle and nearly reached a state fi­nal.

“They were hard-nosed and tough, not just phys­i­cally but men­tally, I’m-gonna-work-ev-

ery-day. And they re­ally en­joyed foot­ball, re­ally loved foot­ball.”

As much of a respite from the grief and mourn­ing that high school foot­ball could of­fer on Fri­day night, there was still ac­knowl­edge­ment of the past and its con­nec­tion to the present.

On the side­lines and in the press box Fri­day, Live­rio and the Am­s­ter­dam coach­ing staff wore black T-shirts bear­ing the words “Am­s­ter­dam Strong” and “In mem­ory of friends and fam­ily.”

Af­ter the 13 se­niors on the Am­s­ter­dam Rugged Rams handed flow­ers to their moth­ers and took pho­tos on the field, there was a pause for a mo­ment of si­lence.

With the play­ers’ heads bowed and hel­mets off, the 20 names of the vic­tims were read aloud.

And af­ter the na­tional an­them, when the Am­s­ter­dam cap­tains, dressed in pur­ple jerseys with gold num­bers and gold pants, went to the mid­dle of the field for the coin toss they car­ried with them a No. 58 white Am­s­ter­dam jersey.

At half­time, Jack­son’s niece Bella Porter held up the No. 58 jersey in front of the con­crete grand­stand while pub­lic ad­dress an­nouncer Barry Rouse read a pre­pared state­ment about Adam Jack­son, the foot­ball player.

“Those things are never easy to read,” Rouse said, putting down the mi­cro­phone as the Am­s­ter­dam march­ing band took the field.

The crowd at Lynch Lit­er­acy Academy, where the Rams play their home games, was a lit­tle smaller on Fri­day night, and many said they had been in line at St. Stanis­laus or at the wake at Ri­ley Mor­tu­ary for Pa­trick Cush­ing or both.

“There’s some­thing beau­ti­ful about a small town, and there’s a lot to cel­e­brate, but when it comes to the hurt, peo­ple just let you know they care,” Con­gress­man Paul Tonko (D-am­s­ter­dam) said hours ear­lier, chok­ing back tears as he spoke with re­porters out­side St. Stanis­laus. “It’s been dif­fi­cult be­cause this is un­nat­u­ral, to lose so many peo­ple from a small town and to have so much heavy-duty pain com­ing out of a small city … but every­one wants to be there for them, for the fam­i­lies.”

It’s been a tough week here, but the 48 min­utes of nor­malcy that the Rams could of­fer from the field will go a long way. To bor­row from the late Jack Buck, “Should we be here? Yes.”

“It’s just an­other out­pour­ing of strength and car­ing to let you know how im­por­tant your loved one was to this com­mu­nity, what he meant to ev­ery­body else,” Live­rio said.

Am­s­ter­dam, he noted, has changed, and peo­ple who grow up here of­ten leave for col­lege or jobs and don’t re­turn.

“For us to lose eight peo­ple from here who came back and wanted to be in­volved,” Live­rio said, “it hurts not just in the short haul, but it’s go­ing to hurt for decades to come.”

For 48 min­utes Fri­day night, the Rams pro­vided a diver­sion.

Satur­day, Am­s­ter­dam will con­tinue to mourn.

Leif skod­nick

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.