Roselle Park football players use their practice time in a most giving way; Donate funds and spend time with children in need of cheering up

When Pingry dropped out of the Mid-State 38 Conference, that left the Roselle Park football team looking for an opponent to replace.
Roselle Park initially got People’s Prep Charter, with the game scheduled for Oct. 13.
However, the Newark school dropped its football program right before the season was to begin. Roselle Park was able to find another replacement – Sussex Tech – and played at the Group 2 from Sparta on Sept. 1.
That meant that in addition to having the final weekend in October as its bye week, Roselle Park would now also have the second week in October off.
Here we are as the Panthers are resting a bit following a 4-2 start which has them on the path of qualifying once more in North 2, Group 1.
Instead of practicing on Wednesday, sixth-year head coach Terry Hanratty had something else in mind for his Panthers to preoccupy themselves with.
“Every year on the bye week I give the team off on Wednesday,” Hanratty said. “I decided this year we would use some of the money we raised to donate to a children’s hospital.”
That facility was the Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick. Roselle Park went a step further. The team spent Wednesday afternoon – which was during its practice time – getting to know the children there.
“We traveled to New Brunswick to volunteer and help them and with our donation of $1,000,” Hanratty said. “The game of football is great and the kids have memories that last a lifetime.
“This team-building activity will be something I hope they take with them for the rest of their lives. Helping others and being humble and thankful for what they have is very important.
“My players saw in person how other people have health issues. My players realized how lucky they are.”
Roselle Park’s next game is at New Providence Oct. 21. New Providence’s only win last year in its first sub-.500 season since 1997 was over the Panthers.
Roselle Park’s final playoff qualifying game is home Nov. 3 vs. Manville.
“In the summer, in August, we thought about doing something like this,” Hanratty said. “The players served food, they spent time with the kids doing arts and they helped the kids keep their minds on other things.
“We got a tour of the place and a history of the building. We also saw a video on the progress the children are making.
“It’s important for our players to give back. It was just a great experience all around.”