Spring Valley football coach Andrew Delva was faced with a budget from his cash-strapped district that would amount to couch change for some of his opponents. Here’s a very cool story about the lengths Delva will go to tonight to ensure his players can finance what they need to compete.
(Go out and support them tonight, will ya!)
Hat tip to Carucha Meuse for the awesome photos and video of “Dangerous” Andrew Delva:
The 2014 Spring Valley football equipment “budget” — if you can call it that — will account for the following: New mouthpieces and six footballs.
Don’t wait for the “and … ” because the list of needs met ends there. So, in search of a solution to fund spring passing tournaments, summer camps, video-editing software and, you know, actual equipment, coach Andrew Delva took a risk.
His school and his football team will host a wrestling card Friday night — only that wasn’t the risk. Delva decided that he would step into the ring himself.
“I think it’s kind of great,” Spring Valley junior captain Edenis Augustin said. “The thing about Delva is he does things he doesn’t necessarily have to do. The event itself, he didn’t have to do it. The fact that he’s promoted it by getting into the ring to get more attention is a big deal for us.”
Delva’s participation will be a centerpiece of Spring Slam, a well-stocked wrestling card in the Spring Valley High School gym that will feature several wrestling stars, including WWE Hall of Famers Mick Foley, Booker T and Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Foley will serve as commissioner for the night and Lawler, and WWE star Matt Hardy will be among those in the ring. Booker T will serve as the guest referee for Delva’s match.
The 32-year-old will form a tag team with Northeast Wrestling champ Brian Anthony, and they will face the Platinum Entourage.
“I’m just nervous about people showing up. That’s the part I’m more nervous about,” said Delva, a 2000 Spring Valley grad who played college football at Western Connecticut State. “Me getting in the ring? I’m excited.
“It’s something I could scratch off on my bucket list.”
The card is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are available starting at $15 and can be purchased at the door.
Doors will open at 6 so fans can meet wrestlers and have access to autographs.
In anticipation of the event, Delva has trained for several weeks with Anthony at Platinum Fitness, a gym in Danbury, Conn., with a 16-by-16-foot wrestling ring.
“Going back, I’ve done this 1,000 times over the years — the mayor of Torrington (Conn.), policemen, coaches,” Anthony said. “Honestly, Coach Delva is one of the best. He’s really excited about it, and he really believes in the cause. You can tell he’s a wrestling fan. You know watching him that he knows what he’s doing.
“He’s like a fish taking to water. He’s obviously an athlete. He’s a big guy. There hasn’t been something I’ve had to tell him twice.”
Said Delva: “It’s like the first hit in football: Once you get hit once, you’re good to go. After I took that first clothesline, I was fine.”
Northeast Wrestling promoter Mike Lombardi, whose business is based out of Newburgh, has hosted events at numerous high schools, including several in Rockland County. He has supported Delva’s involvement in the card, but stressed the importance of training.
“Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman, they’re not going to let me play a couple innings of second base tomorrow night because I want to do it,” Lombardi said. “I told him, ‘You’re going to have to put some work in.’ ”
Anthony said he has. “He’s going to shock everybody,” Anthony said.
Delva hopes his involvement has another effect: Putting fans in the seats to raise money for a program that desperately needs it.
“I know a lot of kids who don’t know who the big-time wrestlers are, but they know Coach Delva,” he said. “I want people to come out. I still have a little juice left in me.”