Swim Benefit Makes Waves

On Thursday, March 16, Plymouth Boys Swim and Dive hosted Salem Boys Swim and Dive at Salem High School’s pool for a benefit water polo match in honor of Plymouth’s Coach Kenn Forbes’ late brother to raise money for Forbes’ nephew’s college fund.

K. Forbes’ late brother, Andrew Forbes, was diagnosed with a mostly inoperable brain tumor this past year. A. Forbes died on Christmas Day of 2016. The loss was extremely hard on the family, including K. Forbes’ three-year-old nephew, Eamonn Forbes, son of A. Forbes’.

Almost immediately after the  team learned the news of the passing, they  jumped into action to plan an event to help support their beloved coach and his family.  The event was planned by Plymouth’s senior captains, Michael Wischer, James Lauer and Matt Weiner, with assistance from Salem swim’s senior captains Phillip Collingwood, Miles Angell and Lucas Sheedy.

Wischer said, “We talked to our coach to ask in what way we could be most helpful. He said that putting money into a college fund for his nephew Eamonn would be great.”

With Eamonn on their minds, they came up with an event that could help bring the money in. Every year, the Plymouth team has a big water polo match to celebrate the end of their swim seasons.

“It has always been one of our team’s end-of-season traditions to play a team game, and we figured incorporating into the fund raiser would get people interested, so we could have a decent turnout,” said Weiner.

As for getting Salem in on the action, Wischer said, “We thought it would be a good idea to bring Salem in because our teams and coaches are pretty close.”

“We did want to get Salem involved to try to bring our teams together and increase the size of the event,” added Lauer.

They had a cause and an idea, but setting up this grand of an event was no easy task. “It was a bit of a runaround with scheduling because we had to go through both ADs (athletic directors), the facilities managers, find a time that worked for all of the players [that] wasn’t already taken, and get everyone to show up,” said Weiner. “Getting the goals was definitely tough, and we had to improvise some of the details like the game length and team divisions and the format of the raffle.”

All three captains acknowledged how none of this would have been possible without their parent volunteers. “The parents were fantastic. They knew this was important to us and Coach, and they were willing to help in any way necessary, from getting sponsors to working concessions during the event,” said Weiner.

“Mrs. Avery (Weiner’s mother) is always a big help with everything we do, as well as [the parents] doing concessions, and Mrs. Chimka (Plymouth senior Nathan Chimka’s mother), who did a huge part in getting all of our sponsors and food donations,” said Wischer.

“We had more than 20 sponsors all thanks to Mrs. Chimka. Ms. Avery got us some tax information and rallied the parents behind it. Also, she was hugely important to getting us nets,” said Lauer.

On the night of the event, anyone could walk into Salem’s athletic wing and feel the energy surrounding the game from the concessions in the hall, to the raffle at the door, to the boys in the pool. Everyone at the event was in good spirits, eating, watching and cheering on their team.

The night went off with only a few minor glitches. “Everything went very smoothly outside of the minor confusion surrounding our raffle,” said Lauer, “but even that worked out relatively well, and we got to give out some great prizes.”

“We had originally planned for an underclassmen game and an upperclassmen game, but ended up just mixing teams due to issues with the turnout,” said Weiner.

The night was filled with both excitement and tears. K. Forbes gave a tearful “thank you” to everyone who came to support him and his family.

Angell and Collingwood, who helped Plymouth plan the benefit, praised Plymouth for planning such a successful event.  Angell said, “I could tell everybody was having fun. For us to know that the money is going to a good cause, it makes us want to help out the best we can. I do know Coach Forbes personally, and this really made me want to get my team there and have the best game that we can and get out there and have a fun match.”

Collingwood, the center of a controversial goal of the night, said, “The benefit went off without a hitch. It was fun just playing water polo with friends for a good cause.”

“It benefits the family and it meant the world to be able to help Coach like this, especially because I saw a ton of people there who were not swimmers. This definitely brought together the community of not just Plymouth students, but Park students as a whole,” said Plymouth junior swimmer Grace McClellan.

Plymouth senior Brain Cowell, who played in the match and has been coached under Forbes for four years, said, “The seniors, as most of us have been on the team for all four years, felt obligated to give back to our coach. It was amazing knowing that all the money that we helped put together will help his nephew get started on the right track.”

“It was surreal. This issue was so close to the team, so being able to contribute was all we could’ve hoped for. Especially having Eamonn there to watch made it an incredible experience,” said Weiner. “We’re very grateful that Salem joined in on this and made it what it was. We couldn’t have done this without all that they contributed.”

“It feels insanely satisfying to do this to help out our coach’s family and bring these two teams a little bit closer, and giving the envelope of donations to our coach with Matt [Weiner] and James [Lauer] after seeing how much we raised, is a moment that I will never forget,” said Wischer.

According to Wischer, the original total fundraised amount was $1776.15. Then a few swimmers stepped in to add to it, and after Coach Forbes added a $100 donation of his own, the grand total of the night was over $2000.

The benefit wasn’t just able to bring in funds, it was able to bring support from all corners of the Plymouth-Canton community together for a community coach that has done so much for both the Park and middle school swim teams.

Wischer said, “He has done so much for us over the past four years. We all felt it was the least we could do to help his family at this time.”