ROXBURY, NJ – A working scoreboard is greeting young Roxbury football players for the first time in about a decade,, thanks to the persistence and generosity of a Roxbury Junior Gaels football coach.
The coach, Andy Sanchez, had long been bothered by the non-functioning scoreboard at the Horseshoe Lake Park field, so he decided to pursue getting a new one, said fellow Junior Gaels Coach Kevin Spitzer.
“Every fall for the past several years Andy Sanchez would attend Roxbury Junior Gaels football games to watch his daughter participate on game day as a cheerleader,” Spitzer said. “Then, his son joined the program and Andy volunteered as a coach.”
Throughout the years of watching and coaching, Sanchez was "bothered" by the broken scoreboard. And Sanchez, who owns a truck equipment business in Ledgewood, wasn’t alone in being dissatisfied said Spitzer.
“Many other coaches, game officials, players and parents in the program,” also were unhappy, Spitzer said. He said time was kept on the field by officials, meaning that any time a coach needed to know how much time was left in a game, he would have to ask a referee.
“Coaches and players from other towns have voiced their concerns as well over the past several years,” Spitzer said. “Not the type of example that the program wanted to be known for.”
Junior Gaels coaches and town officials discussed replacing the old scoreboard many times over the years, Spitzer said. But “discussions would regularly get tabled … since a new board has been budgeted for when an artificial turf field eventually gets installed,” he said.
This year, Sanchez decided he didn’t want to wait any longer. “Andy decided it was time to do something about it,” said Spitzer. After learning that repairing the broken board would cost almost as much as buying a new one, Sanchez decided to donate a new unit, he said.
“He literally took this upon himself,” Spitzer said. “He just committed himself to saying, ‘I think we need a new scoreboard.’”
Sanchez got a friend, M2 Electric owner Mike Oliva, to help in upgrading the power supply and connecting the new board, Spitzer said. Other coaches, Jack Zanni and Mike DeChristophano, joined Sanchez in refurbishing and painting – in Roxbury Gaels gold – the posts on which the new board is mounted.
“They did it the right way,” Spitzer said. “It looks really nice.”
The new board is better than the old one in several ways, according to Spitzer. He said it has LEDs instead of light bulbs, it can be controlled wirelessly and it offers a few more points of game information.
Junior Gaels games begin Sept. 9. Spitzer said the new scoreboard is likely to be a source of Roxbury pride, especially when out-of-town teams come to play.
“It sends a better message to the kids,” he commented, noting the new board might also be used by youth lacrosse teams using the field. “They know they’ve got quality equipment around them. It also sends a better message to parents: Their kids are involved in a classy program. And it sends a better message to the other teams we play.”