The field hockey team at will begin gearing up for the new campaign by participating in a pre-season event that benefits a scholarship fund.
The third Amy Romano Memorial Field Hockey Play Day is being held Thursday, Aug. 30 at Fermi High School in Enfield. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Enfield Athletic Hall of Fame for the Amy Romano Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Romano, a 1997 Hall of Fame inductee who served as head teacher at Thomas Alcorn Elementary School, died suddenly on Jan. 10, 2007 of complications from pneumonia. She was just 40 years old.
Following her passing, the Hall of Fame created a yearly scholarship in Romano's name. The first recipient was Erica Pyznar, who played field hockey at Fermi when Romano was head coach.
Pyznar went on to literally follow in Romano's footsteps, enrolling at Assumption College to play field hockey. Romano was a two-sport standout at Assumption in the 1980s, and is a member of the college's Athletic Hall of Fame.
After her sophomore year of college, Pyznar and her mother, Marie, decided to organize a field hockey tournament in Romano's memory.
"I was devastated when Amy passed away, and I couldn't think of a better way to pay respects to such a fantastic coach, teacher and all-around person than to have athletes come together to play a sport Amy loved," Pyznar said. "Amy was such an amazing coach that touched so many lives, including my own, and I just figured the tournament would be a great way to remember her."
Marie Pyznar chairs the tournament organizing committee, which includes legendary Enfield High School field hockey coach Cookie Bromage, Fermi coach Amy Bartholomew and three members of the Hall of Fame board of directors.
Bartholomew, who graduated from Fermi in 2000, played field hockey while Romano was still an assistant coach at the school. "I loved working with her," she said. "She'd get right in there and play with us, challenging us, guiding us. She definitely had the energy."
Romano became head coach at her alma mater in 2001, and turned over the reins to Bartholomew four years later. "It was hard taking over for her, because she was so loved and respected," Bartholomew said.
Among the dozens of volunteers helping out at the event will be Romano's mother, Judie, and her brother, Tony.
"Amy had a love for coaching and the kids," Tony Romano said. "She was the type of person who would have run something like this. There's no better way to memorialize her than this."
Ten teams from Connecticut and Massachusetts will be playing in the jamboree-style event. Games will be seven-on-seven on half-size fields, and each team will play four 20-minute games, including at least three on the artificial turf field.
A pre-game ceremony will take place at 4:45 p.m., and game action starts at 5 o'clock. Concessions will be available.