November 21, 2013 – Earlier this fall, my 5-year-old son, Alfred, and I helped lead the Misericordia Cougars football team into battle.
On October 5, we were asked by the university — which I graduated from in 2001 — to be honorary captains for the homecoming game against King’s College.
I’ve been on the advisory board for the university’s athletic department since 2012, and I’ve enjoyed working on two fund-raising events. The first was a kickoff dinner for the football program, and the second was an inaugural golf tournament. As I took the field for the ceremonial coin toss, I felt proud of my efforts. But more than that, I was mindful that without the tremendous support of the New York Yankees, my contributions would have been much less impactful.
While it’s always nice to be recognized by my alma mater, which is located in Northeast Pennsylvania and plays in the Division III Middle Atlantic Conference, the experience of walking from the home sideline to the 50-yard line with my son was unforgettable.
When we got to mid-field, the King’s College captains extended a hand to me and to my young son, who was somewhat in awe of his surroundings. Then, the referee introduced Alfred and I to the crowd over the PA system.
“The Cougars’ ceremonial captains for today’s game are Al Santasiere and his son Alfred,” the referee said. “Al is the director of publications for the New York Yankees and a 2001 graduate of Misericordia University.”
At that point, the referee handed me a commemorative coin, and I tossed it high in the air. For the first time in Misericordia’s two-year football history, they won a coin toss. Later that afternoon, they took the game into overtime and nearly captured their first victory. But after two overtime rounds, the Cougars lost a heartbreaker, 41-40.
After nearly two full seasons, the Cougars finally earned their first victory. This past Saturday (November 16) Misericordia defeated Fairleigh Dickinson University on the road.
–Alfred Santasiere III