WORCESTER — Doherty High has $8,000 in new weight-room equipment and a reseeded practice field, thanks to Good Sports and Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early.
Good Sports supplies schools and organizations in need with sports equipment, and Doherty assistant principal Ed Capstick applied to the Quincy-based nonprofit organization for help in upgrading the athletic department’s weight room. Good Sports recruited Geico insurance to pay for the weights, bars, benches and rubber flooring that were unveiled yesterday at the school.
“As Mr. Capstick said in the application,” said Davin Lencz, Good Sports community partnerships manager, “they were working at a high school level with elementary school equipment. That struck a chord with us.”
Good Sports more than doubled the number of weights at Doherty. Some of the school’s old weights are 25 years old, according to football coach Sean Mulcahy. The larger of the two weight rooms off the gym is an old shower room with the shower heads still on the walls. Even a cave man could see that Doherty’s weight room needed an upgrade, so Geico had no trouble paying for it. Katie Talley, Geico counsel, said her company paid for the weights because they would help 200 or more students.
Capstick asked some of the coaches what he should seek from Good Sports that would benefit the most students, and they decided on weights, rather than baseball bats or footballs.
“Everything we asked for, they ended up giving us,” Capstick said.
Capstick said the weights would be available to all Doherty students under the supervision of Doherty personnel.
“We have great players and great coaches,” Mayor Joseph O’Brien, captain of the 1984 Doherty football team, said, “but our facilities are really tired. A lot of them haven’t changed since my days here in 1984. Clearly, we need the support from folks like Geico and Good Sports to buy this kind of equipment so our kids can stay competitive.”
In a telephone interview, Early said he read in the T&G last fall about the poor condition of Doherty’s practice football field and instructed participants in his diversion community service program to remove rocks, loosen the soil, and seed and loam the field this spring. Bushes were removed so field goal attempts don’t end up in them.
Mulcahy said the practice field should be in better condition than at any time since he enrolled as a freshman more than 30 years ago. Mulcahy told Early that the field had been so hard the team looked forward to the first frost because the ground finally softened a day or two later after it thawed.
“The kids in the public schools deserve better than that,” Early said, “and I thought what a great way for us to spend some time at these schools with kids giving back through our diversion community outreach program.”
“We appreciate the support,” Doherty principal Sally Maloney said, “purchasing equipment for the kids and improving the grounds. The practice field needed a lot of work.”
In addition, the baseball infield was edged and a mix of stone and gravel was applied to the softball field, which had been overgrown with weeds. First-time offenders ages 17-21 who are charged with minor offenses can perform eight hours of community service, take a one-hour online test and pay a $100 fine to have their court cases dismissed. The seed, loam, fertilizer and stone and gravel mix were purchased with funds confiscated from drug dealers. So no tax dollars were used, Early said.
Participants in Early’s diversion community service program also upgraded South High’s practice football field, removing trees that had fallen during the ice storm in December 2008 and applying seed, fertilizer and loam, and with help from the sheriff’s department seeded, loamed and removed trees and more than four tons of rocks from O’Connell Field on Grove Street.