Greener’s Rebels Fight Off-Field Battle Against Childhood Cancer

A+Rebel+football+player+shaves+his+head+to+raise+money+for+Cancer+Research.

A Rebel football player shaves his head to raise money for Cancer Research.

James Cullinane

A Rebel football player shaves his head to raise money for Cancer Research.
A Rebel football player shaves his head to raise money for Cancer Research.
A Rebel football player shaves his head to raise money for Cancer Research.
A Rebel football player shaves his head to raise money for Cancer Research.

By far the most successful team in the Bay State League, the Walpole Rebel football program has won an astounding 373 games over the past 43 seasons.  Jumping off to a 6-1 start to the 2011 season, Coach Barry Greener’s current Rebel squad shows no sign of squandering this proud tradition of winning.  However, a new tradition amongst Walpole football players has been gaining recognition around the area since last November’s inaugural St. Baldrick’s head shaving event.  St. Baldrick’s, a national non-profit organization, joined forces with Greener’s Rebels in 2010 to raise over $11,000 for cancer research, with players accepting donations in exchange for their heads being shaved in solidarity for childhood cancer.

The St. Baldrick’s event joins Mr. Hahn’s cancer walk and the school-wide “pink day,” on the list of charitable cancer contributions made by Walpole High’s student body.  Coach Greener was first approached about becoming involved in a St. Baldrick’s event by Walpole High graduate Kevin Sullivan.  A former Rebel fullback turned lawyer, Sullivan contacted Greener in March of 2010 to propose the idea—one that Greener immediately appreciated.  Preliminarily scheduled for mid-November, Greener views St. Baldrick’s as “a great community service project which provides the Football program with an opportunity to give back.”  Greener also cited that while asking others to donate to the program with Rebel Cards, Calendar Raffles, et cetera, “the team should do some community service in return and St. Baldrick’s is a fantastic program.”

Greener’s charitable ideals have spread throughout the Rebel squad, as illustrated by last year’s second highest earning shavee, junior linebacker Steve Thulin.  “We do a lot of fundraising in this program.  We all figure that we should do the same for issues that are bigger than football,” said Thulin.  Senior Captain Dan King shared a similar view point as Thulin. King said, “Over the course of the season, it’s easy to lose perspective.  Sometimes it feels like a loss is the end of the world, but St. Baldrick’s helps to remind the guys that there are much greater problems in life.”  The participating Rebels all seem to share this idea that cancer, a disease that tends to have a significant impact on every individual over the course of his or her life, and for which the chances of finding an alternative cancer treatment are bleak, should take precedence over the more trivial issues facing these teenagers.

Raising the aforementioned $11,000 dollars, the inaugural St. Baldrick’s event at Walpole High was incredibly successful.  However, Greener and his Rebels are not satisfied, as they attempt to reach their 2011 goal of at least $15,000.  To help the Rebels attain this lofty goal, donations can be made on www.stbaldricks.org, or simply by contacting Rebel football players in the neighborhood.  The implementation of the newly born St. Baldrick’s tradition within the Rebel program exemplifies Coach Greener’s desire to leave behind a legacy of more than winning solely on the field.