After raising more than $20,000 the past five years, the Chris Foat Memorial Flag Football Tournament is back for its sixth year Sept. 28 at the Regional Sports Center in Crystal Lake.
The event honors the life of Foat, a 2002 Woodstock High School graduate who was killed while walking home from a birthday party in December 2007 by a drunken driver. Funds raised provide $1,000 scholarships to senior Woodstock wrestlers and football players in honor of Foat.
While the goal of the tournament is to raise money, it’s also become a sort of reunion for those who knew Foat. Sean Connor, a friend of Foat who helps organize the tournament, said it has been gratifying so see it grow.
“The nice thing is we consistently know we have a lot of support,” Connor said. “Every year people are willing to keep coming and showing up.”
Scholarship winners are now recognized by a plaque that hangs at Woodstock High School. Connor said the plaque also created a goal for the tournament.
“The goal now is to fill that plaque,” Connor said. “We just started out doing a good thing, and now we have a goal in mind.”
The scholarships are not only in Foat’s name, but the winners also represent the kind of person he was.
“The most important thing to Chris was what kind of person you were and your work ethic,” Connor said. “The kids that get these scholarships, they’re very high character.”
Because of the support from Marian Central participants, the tournament also began awarding a $500 scholarship to graduates of that high school.
“We’ve had a lot of great support from that high school,” Connor said.
Nick Foat was 18 when his older brother died. He said reading through the scholarship applications and deciding on winners is difficult.
“It is pretty tough; all the applications look really good,” Foat said. “It is tough to pick the right one.”
The tournament is a great way to honor his brother, who would have enjoyed both the athletics and festivities surrounding the flag football, Foat said.
“It means a lot to us,” Foat said. “We enjoy all of Chris’ friends and the community getting together.”
There will be a pretournament gathering at Offsides Bar & Grill in Woodstock on Sept. 27. Main Street Pour House, also in Woodstock, will host the post-party and is paying for the band.
Registration begins at 8 a.m., and games start at 9 a.m. The cost for each team is $140. Teams can register to play by contacting Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Rob Smith is a sports writer for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at email@example.com.