Party with the Pirates for the last time

Teresa Durham, Staff Writer

Several pirates and family members celebrate fifty years of Armstrong athletics. (Teresa Durham)

Generations of Pirate athletes and their families gathered on the soccer field over the weekend to celebrate 50 years of Armstrong Pirate Athletic excellence.

Over 100 people, ranging from toddlers to older generations of athletes had a blast remembering the great, the good and the bad of being an Armstrong Pirate over the years.

Director Lisa Sweany was both looking forward to the event and wishing it had not been needed.

“We just want it to be a celebration of what we’ve accomplished in the last 50 years,” Sweany said. “Certainly a sad ending to our department, but some great things have happened during our time and the years.”

It was a united front to make the day about celebrating instead of thinking about an end. The ASU Athletic Department, ASU Alumni Association and the Pirate Athletic Association joined hands to make the day a rousing success.

Bounce houses (one in the shape of a pirate ship), face painting, games and food kept the crowd entertained for the afternoon. Lemon Custard with frozen Raspberry ice cream named “Pirate’s Treasure” was provided by Leopold’s Ice Cream.

Over the free food, old friends were exchanging hugs and reuniting on the soccer field. This was exactly what Director Sweany hoped for.

“We want people to be able to reminisce and remember what a great time they had here as a Pirate, enjoy some good sports, just really take it all in one last time,” she said.

One family member came from four hours away to celebrate.

“It’s awesome, it’s a really good event,” Kim Reppert said. “This is actually our second game, we’ve come to see my niece play.”

Two cross country athletes were also touched and saddened by the party.

“I think it’s really nice that they’re remembering and looking back on how long they’ve had athletics going here,” junior Amanda Fernandez said. “I am grateful to have had the experience.”

Freshman Bethany Panhorst was very optimistic: “They have free ice cream, so it’s good,” she laughed. “Despite all the stuff I don’t like about it, I am thankful that we had a chance to run.”

Beyond the party with the Pirates occurring on the soccer field, attendees had the opportunity to see many current Pirate athletes at play.

Men’s and women’s tennis played a conference match against Young Harris’ Mountain Lions. Softball and baseball teams were contending against Flagler University’s Saints and volleyball teams held an alumni game during the party.