By John Robert
There won’t be any losers in the game set to be played Saturday, Sept. 17, on the Trenton High School football field.
That’s the day that the Trenton football team, cheerleading squad, the band and a group of special needs students converge on the field from 10:30 a.m. until noon for “Victory Day.”
Trenton teacher and assistant varsity football Coach Aaron Segedi played the lead role in organizing the first Victory Day last fall, and the event, designed after a national program, was a huge success.
The idea came to Segedi when he was trying to find a way to teach leadership to his players, and he found one of the best ways was to show them the importance of giving back. Many observers on hand last year called it a “powerful event,” and Segedi himself said “talking doesn’t describe how great it is to be there.”
Due to the highly positive results, Segedi is back at it again.
And this year’s event is expected to feature a special appearance by Riverview native and retired U of M Football Coach Lloyd Carr, who will be on hand to watch the festivities, meet with the participants and help pass out awards.
“He is extremely excited to be part of it, and so are we,” Segedi said.
Segedi has sent out 51 permission slips to area programs such as Jo Brighton Skills Center and Madison Elementary, as well as to children who attend Trenton Public Schools, hoping to get all them back for this month’s event.
The activities he has planned include having the players run through the tunnels to the cheers of parents and teammates while having their names announced on the public address system. They then will take turns running for touchdowns, with Trenton High players chasing and diving around them — all with a play-by-play commentary for added authenticity.
The kids are given jerseys and medals for their participation as well. After the game there will be a variety of interactive stations the kids can visit, such as kicking extra points, or punting the ball.
For the children, this is an extremely special event. Just ask Laurie Dixon, whose son, Noah, participated in last year’s Victory Day — and who will be back again this year.
Noah still tells her when they drive past the field that this is the place where he ran his touchdown, and she remembers the smiles and looks of joy on all the kids’ faces. For her, it feels like an opportunity to make these kids feel like stars in front of everyone — an opportunity they rarely get.
For everyone else, she calls it “inspiring and uplifting,” and said it is events like this that can make a large impact in life. That’s why she called it not just a wonderful day for the children, but also a blessing for parents, and thanks Segedi and organizers for a day that could not happen otherwise.
This year, the event is entirely sponsored by the Trenton Rotary Club, which Segedi is “so, so thankful for,” since it allows special events like this to occur. Of course, it takes all of Downriver to put on an event like this, and many companies from the area are making contributions as well.
A variety of community leaders participate in the event in key ways as well, include Parks & Recreation Director Patrick Hawkins, who will serve as play-by-play commentator, and Rotary President Tom Dickman, who, as referee, will spend much of the morning signaling touchdowns.
Thanks to the Rotary Club, admission is free, though to help finance next year’s event, Victory Day T-shirts will be on sale that morning, with all funds going back to help sponsor what Segedi hopes will become an annual event.