Wednesday, April 23, 2014
BIDDEFORD - More than anything, the annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic all-star football game is a reminder that more work needs to be done.
At least that's how the members of the Kora Temple in Lewiston see it.
Each year the game raises needed money to help Shrine hospitals in Boston and Springfield, Mass. Each year the need is greater.
This year the players and cheerleaders from the East and West teams raised nearly $95,000 -- about $10,000 more than last year.
Rick Hersom, the president of the football game and a member of Kora Temple, said the group sends an average of $20,000 each year to the hospitals after expenses. That includes funds from ticket sales, programs, souvenirs and donations. That money goes to the Transportation Fund, which is used to defray the costs of parents trying to be with their hospitalized children.
"Lodging, meals, renting cars, anything," said Hersom. "If they need it, that's what the fund is for."
Kora Temple also designates money to specific needs. Last year, for example, money was spent on computers for the children in Boston and wheelchairs for Springfield.
"This year we had an outstanding group of kids," said Hersom.
Hersom added that over the years the game has raised close to $500,000 for the Shriners hospitals.
And while the game has some serious expenses -- it costs about $150,000 to put it on, he said, including the lodging and feeding of both teams during the week of practice -- it's well worth the work.
"Here's the way I look at it," he said. "If we raise just one single solitary dollar for the hospitals but it makes the difference for one kid along the way, then what we do is worth it."
JACK COSGROVE, the University of Maine football coach, didn't get to see his son, Matthew, a receiver at Bangor High, play much over the course of his high school career.
But the elder Cosgrove wasn't going to miss Saturday's game. Sitting high in the bleachers on the East side at Waterhouse Field, he watched young Matthew catch three passes for 79 yards, each reception keeping a long drive going.
"I only saw three games last year, maybe 10 in his high school career," said Jack Cosgrove. "This was a good one to see. Great game."
The Cosgroves will see more of each other next year -- Matthew will be playing for his father at Maine.
DAVE STERLING, the head coach of the East from Edward Little in Auburn, said this game is a great showcase for the state, and not just because of the outstanding football.
Some of the players, he said, "have (college) careers going on after this. For them to commit to this game, this cause, including the people who organize this, is a great statement for Maine football."
THREE PLAYERS -- one from each class -- were honored with the John R. Schmidlin Trophy, presented to outstanding seniors as voted by coaches in each class. The criteria includes good citizenship, team play, loyalty and reliability.
Thornton Academy's Bob Begin won the Class A award, Mt. Blue's Jordan Whitney won in Class B and Poland's Tyler Sturtevant in Class C.
Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: