Gabriella O’Connell ‘21: Members of the Romeo community come together each autumn to participate in Watchdog Week. For the past eleven years, athletes, teachers, students and parents alike united for a cause that touches millions of families all across the country; cancer.
During Watchdog Week, Romeo High School hosts the annual Watchdog Football Game, where each player can choose to play for someone special in their lives who battled or continues to battle cancer. Since the first Watchdog Game eleven years ago, this Romeo community raised over $600,000 for cancer research.
This year, Romeo plans for the Watchdog Game to take place on Friday, October 4th. The game begins at 7pm against Grosse Pointe North High School, and the Bulldogs plan on bringing their A-game.
The players count on wearing purple and white jerseys with the names of the honored written on the back of each one. Cheerleaders prepare to be waving their pom-poms, wearing uniforms that also tribute to their loved ones who faced cancer. Students, staff and parents anticipate sitting together in the crowded bleachers, wearing their Watchdog shirts and cheering on the players.
Each participant plays a role in Watchdog Week, and it means something special to each and every individual.
Football player Gregory Tarr ‘20 looks forward to playing in the memorable game. “When we play in the Watchdog Game, we are playing for something bigger than ourselves and our team. We are playing for friends and family members that have gone through very much,” said Tarr. “It is definitely an important tradition in Romeo because we come together as a community in support of something that has affected us all in one way or another.”
Cheerleader Ava Johnston ‘21 reflects on the game. “It’s a time to recognize and honor the people who have fought, survived, and lost their battle with cancer. Not only does it honor our loved ones, but it also brings the community together for an amazing cause,” said Johnston. “I will be cheering for my Papa. Unfortunately, he lost his battle in April, but he was always a positive influence growing up and could always make me laugh when I needed it.”
Students from all grades at the high school support the meaning behind the game.
“It’s a great way to get everyone together and unite for a good cause,” said Alex Gintner ‘22. “It’s great to know that there’s so much support out there in our town.” Gintner plans on going to the game on Friday with his friends.
To dance team member Ava Macktovski ‘21, the commemorations at the Watchdog Game also hold a significance. “Participating in the Watchdog Game is very special,” said Macktovski. “Everyone gets to honor their friends and family who have had to endure cancer. It’s a very emotional time.” Along with her team, Macktovski intends to perform a spectacular dance routine at halftime at the Watchdog Game.
Romeo anticipates another successful turnout this year and plans to raise more funds for cancer research. Members from the community look forward to coming together and participating in the festivities while supporting one another. Events like Watchdog Week make the Romeo community different from others. They make Romeo a family.