HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Joe Sheetz Memorial Kickoff Classic was held Saturday at Tiger Stadium, with every player, coach and team cheerleader getting introduced.
But to everyone in attendance, the most memorable part of the day was the touching remembrance of Wade Porter.
Porter, who died about nine months ago, was a huge part of the Hollidaysburg Athletic Youth Football Association family. Porter was a founding member of the league and also became a PIAA and HAYFA official. For his years of service to the league, every player in the league will wear a patch on their helmets with Porter's initials.
Porter's wife, Andrea, talked about her husband's love and dedication to the sport of football.
"Wade loved football more than anyone I've ever met," Andrea said. "He played the sport in high school and in college at Shippensburg. Then after that, he was all about showing his love of the game when he coached the little guys."
Andrea, and their son, Brock, was in attendance. Both gave memorable speeches. Andrea also announced that her and Brock will honor Wade with the Wade Porter Sportsmanship of the Year Award. It will be presented to one player and one cheerleader annually to the one that best exemplifies sportsmanship, teamwork and respect of the game at the end of every season.
"What a tremendous honor it is to honor Wade at this event," Andrea said. "When you lose somebody so suddenly, it changes every aspect of your life. It saddens me beyond words. But to have the community honor him like this, it is truly comforting to know others remember Wade."
Brock spoke after the event about his father and his memory being honored.
"I'm absolutely honored for my dad's memory," Brock said. "But also for his passion for the game and all of the work he's put into the league. The league started back in 1998, and it's amazing to see how far the league has come. It was a great day to honor my dad."
In addition to honoring Wade's memory and introducing players and cheerleaders, the Joe Sheetz Memorial Kick-Off Classic also had a heads-up tackling technique demonstration, a group photo and some scrimmages were held.