Larry Hayden Recreation Festival teaches sportsmanship

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Enfield - posted Wed., Jun. 12, 2013
Conor Hayden (Larry Hayden’s son) and Laura Hayden (Larry Hayden’s wife) stand in front of a picture display of Larry Hayden’s soccer teams. Photos by Lisa Stone.
Conor Hayden (Larry Hayden’s son) and Laura Hayden (Larry Hayden’s wife) stand in front of a picture display of Larry Hayden’s soccer teams. Photos by Lisa Stone.

The Enfield Soccer Club hosted the 15th annual Larry Hayden Recreation Festival at Shaker Fields on June 9, in honor of a man who insisted on sportsmanship in every game in which he took part.

Although Hayden was an athlete, he never played soccer until his two young children wanted to play for the town of Enfield. The only way they would be able to do that was if Hayden coached a team. From that point on, he was involved with the Enfield Soccer Club. “Larry didn’t know how to play soccer, much less coach it, so he went to the library and taught himself how to play soccer,” Laura Hayden said of her late husband. “He always wanted the kids to be good sportsmen and play with pride. He was a great man, a fantastic father and a wonderful husband. It’s incredible how this festival gets bigger and bigger every year. It’s a real honor. I hope Larry is able to see all of this.”

The Enfield Soccer Club has a new community program called Enfield Soccer Cares. This year, the club invited the Enfield Food Shelf to join in the festivities. A donation booth was set up by the entrance of the field to collect donations. Food Shelf volunteer Bill Watson said, “All donations are appreciated. Every little bit helps.” Watson took turns watching the donation booth with his daughter, Amy, and his son, Marcus.

The vice president of the Enfield Soccer Club, Marc Veilleux, said the club was sporting a new mascot this year: a blue and white soccer ball. “We are trying to come up with a name for our mascot. We encourage people to go to our website, www.enfieldsoccer.org, and send us their ideas for naming our mascot,” he said.

Veilleux said Hayden’s spirit lives on in the game. “He was a great guy. He was always encouraging and really cared about sportsmanship,” Veilleux said. “That’s why we choose one player from each team at the end of every game played during the festival and reward them with a sportsmanship medal. This really drives home the idea that good sportsmanship is really important, and maybe the players will carry that idea through the rest of their lives.”


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