Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Make yourself necessary to somebody.”
On Friday night at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, those words could not have been better expressed.
The Nobles girls' basketball team hosted the fourth annual Nobles vs. Cotting School basketball game with proceeds going to the Cotting’s sister school in Haiti, Wings of Hope.
The Cotting School is America’s first private, free day school for children with physical disabilities.
“With all our team’s success over the years, if you ask any of our players, they will tell you that this is the most important game of the season,” said girls' basketball coach and Nobles athletic director Alex Gallagher.
Nobles 2008 graduate Will Randle, who had a sister who attended Cotting School, hatched the idea for the charity event.
“I saw it as a natural connection – between two schools that care about kids,” Randle said.
Randle now credits Gallagher for, “taking the ‘game’ to the next level,” which now draws a couple hundred parents, alumni and fans.
Randle saw his sister play on Cotting’s basketball team, which plays seven games a year, and is coached by Jenny Birmingham and Dan Cuddy. Cuddy sees the game as a chance, “to bring kids together in a friendship game.”
The friendship was formed immediately from the start of this event as the Nobles team practiced and helped participate in the JV game that preceded the event. Many players were seen giving high fives and hugs with the Cotting players.
“Sports is a natural event to connect,” said Linda Hurley, the community service coordinator at Nobles.
The event included Cotting cheerleaders and the National Anthem sung by Cotting student J.R. Foley.
Dave Manzo, president of the Cotting School, described the situation in Haiti as one that is still dire and needs the support of everyone. The earthquake-ravaged country still lies under “rubble” and that less than 3 percent of that rubble has been removed, he said during a halftime speech.
Manzo said that he sees the rebuilding of the Wings of Hope School as a reflective model of a new Haiti. He also thanked the “generous” Nobles community for their support.
"This is not just a winter event, but rather a real feeling between the two schools,” Manzo said.
Junior Alli Parent said, “It’s a huge event for the basketball team, we look forward to putting a smile on their faces. It is why we love sports.”