Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic: Player-turned-coach, Bartoszek likes what he sees from New York
OLEAN — Chad Bartoszek has the luxury of coaching six of his Franklinville/Ellicottville football players in this year’s Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic.
Nineteen years ago, it was Bartoszek playing in the game for his high school mentor, Salamanca legend George Whitcher.
“It was his last year coaching at the high school level,” Bartoszek said. “My biggest memory is his pregame speech. He had me to a point where emotionally I was excited and I was fired up and I felt different than any other speech — just because I knew he was all in, this was it for him, it was his last official game as a varsity head coach, this was my last official game. We connected with him as players in the Big 30 game. He gives a hell of a lot better speech than I’m going to give, but he just had a huge impact on that game for us.”
Bartoszek drew from that experience in 1999 when sharing a meaningful message with his New York all-stars after their first practice Thursday evening at Olean Intermediate Middle School. In just over two weeks, they’ll take on Pennsylvania’s graduated seniors at 7 p.m. Aug. 4 at Bradford High’s Parkway Field. His speech, in part:
“What you’re going to experience now could mean a lifetime for you. There are people in here who are going to be in each other’s weddings, there are people here who are going to go to school together … you’re going to find new respect for people. You think about a school and you think about one thing, but you don’t know the person at that school. So you’ve got a chance to write that script, you’ve got a chance to stand out. I already see some leaders here, for sure.
“We’re not going to have time for any type of negative attitude. Just come positive. You’ve got two hours. Every time you use two hours, that’s two hours you’re done with for the rest of your life. … We are going to roll. We are going to roll quick. Everything is going to be timed out and we’re going to move … because that is a good team we’re facing. They’re ready, they’re going to be well-coached, they’re going to have some ballers. But looking around, I think we’re going to be all right.”
Forty-two players took part in Thursday’s practice. There were three no-shows — all from Salamanca. One absence was excused (Braden Siebert) and two unexcused (Leland John and Jeremiah Shoup).
As a player, Bartoszek was part of a New York team that won 30-14. He has some first-practice memories, namely running through some bags in drills and working up a sweat.
“Being a coach now, you see everything different,” he said. “You see them as kids, and I just love watching their interactions and who’s working and who’s trying to stand out. Trying to give them a good experience is the most important thing.”
Most of all, Thursday was about the players and coaches getting to know one another. Players wore name tags on their helmets to assist the process. Afterward, Bartoszek had five stand before the team and state their names, schools and future plans, as well as describe what the game meant to them.
“It’s fun to be around this much talent,” Bartoszek said. “There’s football talent here, and you see kids make plays. You didn’t have any idea that that’s what they did and that’s how they played the game because a lot of the time, kids are put into positions based off of school systems and they get into certain spots and that’s OK, that’s part of what it is to be a team. But you get in an all-star game, you can stand out, you can write your own script and kind of become your own player if you want, and that’s what we’re trying to do today and tomorrow — see who’s who. But we look the part, for sure.”
Tickets for the game can be purchased for $7 at Man’s World and Northwest Bank on Main Street in Bradford or from Big 30 committee members at team practices.