When Rochester’s varsity football team faces off against hometown rival St. John Fisher for the sixth annual Courage Bowl on September 18, the two teams will play at a new downtown venue.
The Courage Bowl, which benefits Camp Good Days and Special Times—a local charity dedicated to improving the lives of children coping with cancer—will kick off for the first time this fall at Marina Auto Stadium, the 14,000-seat venue that’s home to the Rochester Rhinos, Rochester’s professional soccer team.
While the game between the Yellowjackets and the Cardinals has traditionally alternated between Fauver Stadium and Fisher’s Growney Stadium, bowl organizers say the annual event needs a larger venue to accommodate its growing fanbase. The rivalry has drawn more than 25,000 fans during its five-year run.
“We’ve seen strong local interest in the game,” says Rochester’s athletic director, George VanderZwaag. “Moving the game downtown will build more community involvement and help further promote the great work of Camp Good Days and Special Times.”
Founded in 2005, the Courage Bowl is a fundraiser for the Rochester-area program, a nonprofit organization that offers summer camping experiences and year-round activities for children and their families facing cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.
As part of the game’s activities, members of both football teams visited Camp Good Days to meet some of the children. And campers serve as honorary coaches and cheerleaders, attending pregame practices and coaching and cheering from the sidelines.
Camp Good Days is also looking to regain the Guinness world record for largest kazoo ensemble, a record the camp broke in 2006. The first 10,000 fans will be given kazoos in the colors of Rochester and Fisher, and during halftime the crowd will be urged to try to break the current record, held by a group of 3,861 from Sydney, Australia.
—Melissa Greco Lopes