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.