#1StudentNWI: Griffith Sports Open Up the Season

#1StudentNWI: Griffith Sports Open Up the Season

What’s Happening:

With the 2018-2019 school year starting on August 14, fall sports are now in full swing with games starting this week. Girls and boys soccer played at the Andrean Jamboree on Saturday, August 11 at Andrean High School. At the jamboree, teams played 40 minute games with the boys playing Hobart and Wheeler in the morning, and the girls playing Valpo and Hobart that evening. The boys team won both games beating Hobart 5-0 and Wheeler 2-0 with Marko Stosic scoring three goals total, making him the highest scorer for his team at the jamboree. The jamboree was an opportunity for the teams to get accustomed to playing with each other after the Varsity and JV rosters were announced just a week prior.

Football, volleyball, girls golf, Pantherettes, cheerleading, and boys tennis are also starting up for the season.

Junior Catherine Byrzycki is heading into her junior year as well as her third year of playing varsity golf.

“I have put in a lot of work during the summer, so hopefully it will all pay off,” said Byrzycki, who has been golfing for ten years. “The season has just started and I have a good feeling about it. I’m still working towards going to state.”

Senior Jenna Brown is starting her fourth and final season of volleyball and is excited to lead her team as a senior.

“It’s bittersweet knowing that this is my last season with my teammates, but I’m thankful for the friends that I’ve made throughout the years, as well as all the experience that I’ve gained,” said Brown.

Spotlight on:

At any Griffith sporting event fans will notice the large, impressive team and senior banners hung outside every field. These banners perfectly showcase the entire team, and most sports highlight seniors with their own banners. However, most spectators are unaware that the man behind these banners is a Griffith parent, who makes these out of his shop in his basement.

Rich Ramirez has been running CineMagic Sportsline full time for ten years, but has been creating and making money doing what he loves since he was 14 years old. Ramirez had always done design on the side, but after being laid off from a construction job, he got the idea to pursue design full time and create personalized movie posters. Since nobody else did movie posters, Ramirez shot to #1 on Google whenever people searched for it, and he began creating for people around the nation, and eventually around the world. After his son’s baseball team won a championship, he made a poster for them, and then his business grew and took off even further. In 2012, Ramirez designed a poster for the Gary Air Show, which was taken to an international event where it won first place for the International Council of Airshows Best Marketing poster award.

Ramirez has five children and all of them are involved in sports. Having instant subjects for his work is very helpful in his creating. He is also athletic and sports minded himself, and played football, wrestling, baseball, ran track, and boxed. Ramirez and his family are also very avid Chicago Cubs fans and enjoy attending baseball games for town ball to major league. He also loves to continue creating outside of his work, and enjoys building. Ramirez has built a deck, outdoor fireplace with a seating area, pool deck, outdoor dining table, and more for his family.

“My previous hobby [design] became my career, so I had to pick up another hobby,” said Ramirez.

To a degree, he lives by Winston Churchill’s quote “Never, never, never give up”.

“Sometimes you have to know when to give up, but you also have to keep figuring it out. Take a step back and look at it from a different perspective,” said Ramirez. “Always be willing to take on projects that you think you can’t do or that you’re sure you can't do because once you face that fear, you realize that it wasn’t as big of a fear as you thought. Failure isn't what everyone says. Don’t be afraid because every successful person has failed.”

Ramirez is inspired by God and motivated by his family. He is able to make his own hours, even though he still works long days and late nights. Although he wanted to quit so many times while trying to build a business and raise five kids, Ramirez persevered, and now creates banners for customers and schools all over The Region.

Student Spotlight:

Senior Nina Stosic is captain of the Varsity girls soccer team and Student Council Vice President, meaning her fall will be full of activities and planning. As captain of the soccer team, Stosic must lead the team, be a positive influence, and always be encouraging and helpful.

“It’s really surreal being a senior. You don’t realize how fast time goes by but you have to make every second count. I’m really excited to make my senior year a year to remember,” said Stosic. “I’m so lucky to be captain to such a great team. It’s a big responsibility and I’m glad that I’m trusted to take that on. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings and what our team can accomplish.”

During her senior soccer season, Stosic will also be heavily involved in planning her fourth and final homecoming dance with the Student Council. As Vice-President, she will play a very large roll in planning for the dance, spirit week, the homecoming parade, pep rally, and all other homecoming festivities.

What’s Coming Up:

St.Mary’s annual Western Days Festival will take place this year on August 16, 17, 18, and 19 at St.Mary’s in Griffith. The fair will include rides from Fantasy Amusement, a wide variety of food vendors, live entertainment, indoor bingo, and raffles for cash, prizes, and even a car. Gates open at 6pm on Thursday and Friday, 3pm on Saturday, and 1pm on Sunday. The fair closes at 11pm every night. On Sunday night, the fireworks gala will take place at dusk. Food booths include mexican food, corn on the cob and traditional barbecue, as well as hot dogs, hamburgers, and more. Booths also include casino games such as bars and bells, as well as blackjack. All booths are run by parishioners of St. Mary’s Church. Raffles will be drawn for a smart TV, an X-Box One, and a wireless sound bar system. There are also nightly cash raffles and one large raffle for a 2018 Ford Focus donated by Christenson Chevrolet. Bingo will take place inside Hildebrant Hall Thursday and Friday from 6pm-9pm, Saturday from 4pm-9pm, and Sunday from 4pm-8pm, with large payouts each night.

Inside the Squirrel Tooth Saloon, there will be live entertainment each night starting at 7 and will feature bands: I’m With Frank, Dave & Dave, The Wise Guys, Jason Jakes Acoustic, and The Jason Jakes Band. The beer garden is open to adults 21 and over each night.

For kids, Fantasy Amusement provides rides for all ages ranging from small rides for young kids, to thrills such as the Matterhorn for teens. The fair is a great time for kids to hang out with friends, especially after their first week of school. Mega passes are on sale for $65, and allow full access to every ride, eliminating the need for tickets. Wristbands can also be bought each night for $25 for one night of access to all rides. There are also carnival games such as the ring toss and a dunk tank ran by parishioners on the other side of the fest.