ReplaySports hauled in boxes of used sports equipment for youth teams in need, continuing a Highland Park tradition begun by varsity athletes in 2007.
Jackson Coon, Chris Hipps, Thomas Gibbons, and Caleb Robinson, 2010 Highland Park High School graduates, came up with the idea for the charity just before the start of their sophomore year. With help from football coach Randy Allen, the project rolled out.
“Each of them shared a love of sports and a desire to give an opportunity to others that might not have the equipment to enable them to participate,” wrote Deanne Brock, the mother of HPHS graduate Tyler Brock.
Tyler, a 2015 graduate, was part of ReplaySports for all four of his high school years.
Often, equipment for sports like football, lacrosse, hockey, and baseball is used for a couple of seasons and then tossed aside as children outgrow it or decide to focus on one or two main sports.
“Instead of collecting dust, this equipment can be put to use by young athletes that might not have access to [it] for a variety of reasons,” Deanne Brock said. “Perhaps being able to participate in a sports program will provide the opportunity to succeed in other aspects of their lives.”
Each year, ReplaySports members select two students from each high school grade to work the collection drives.
This year’s participants were Paxton Alexander; Gabe Galbraith; Ben Smith; Ben Holsomback; Cade England; Jack Sitzer; Cannon Thornhill; and Worthey Wiles.
“In a way, I definitely see it as being a mentorship, because the first week, usually [the freshmen] are in football … so we kind of get it going first so when they get here, they get to see what we’re doing,” said England, a senior.
Collections were held Aug. 19 at HPHS and Aug. 26 at Highland Park Middle School; eight to 10 boxes filled with all types of sporting goods for both girls and boys were collected each weekend.
“It’s so much fun,” said Gabe Galbraith. “We’re here for, like, four hours, so we get to bond.”
ReplaySports has never had a hard time raising donations. Last year, they collected so much equipment that after the charities had picked up their items, there was still a stuffed U-Haul truck worth of donated goods.
“There’s a lot of kids in these communities that just don’t have the means to purchase it, which is why it means so much to them when they get this stuff,” ReplaySports mom Kimberly Alexander said. “It gives them something to use so they can actually play a sport.”