Alumni of Port Chester’s four public elementary schools are set to gather on the field at to do battle in hopes of bringing home a victory trophy for their alma mater.
The sport: Kickball.
The Port Chester Elementary Alumni Kickball Tournament, started in 2009, has become a fun local fundraiser in support of the Natalia Crespo Eirin Foundation – created in memory of the Port Chester High School graduate who died May 13, 2006 after a long battle with brain cancer.
“This event is local, fun and brings our community together from all different parts of town,” said Carolina Crespo, president of the foundation and Natalia’s sister. “All of the proceeds go to the foundation. The foundation then, gives back to the community. Every year, Port Chester High School holds a Scholarship Awards Night - in which donations are made to graduating seniors to assist them with college.”
Here’s how the tournament works:
- All the players must be over 21
- The tournament starts at 1 p.m. at the high school field.
- Players must have attended / graduated from the elementary school for which they are playing in the tournament.
- The captain of the winning team gets a trophy.
“We started out small -- but every year it gets bigger and bigger,” Carolina Crespo said.
Crespo said her sister’s life and her battle with illness inspired those around her.
Natalia Crespo was born March 25, 1976 in Montevideo, Uruguay, and she came to the U.S. at age 3. She grew up in Port Chester and at age 16 doctors discovered she had a brain tumor.
Despite her illness, family members say Natalia remained active in school and the community, going on to graduate Port Chester High School with Regents honors. She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City in hopes of living out her dream of becoming a singer and actress.
However, she was unable to complete her arts studies and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree at Manhattanville College in Purchase and went on to work for several international corporations.
In 1997, she met her future husband, Fernando Eirin, also from Montevideo, and they were married in Montevideo in 2002.
In her fight against cancer, Natalia had 18 brain operations in 14 years, as well as various other cancer treatments. The foundation named in her memory was created in December 2006.