ST. CHARLES – St. Charles East boys and girls golfers differed vastly in their reactions to Wednesday’s post-practice activity.
Where the boys upheld the silent treatment, the girls sprinted down a small hill at Royal Fox Country Club and beelined toward their mothers. Or, better yet, waiting towels.
Of course, no “Quiet, Please” placards were present as the programs united to take the ALS ice bucket challenge. Good thing, because boys coach John Stock and girls counterpart Rod Osborne weren’t at a loss for words about the benefactor.
The late Sue Niemiec, who died from the disease in June 2013, was the mother of former Saints golfers Chris and Jenny.
“We’re honored to do this little demonstration and this challenge and this fun activity in memory of Sue,” Stock said as part of his opening remarks introducing the challenge. “And although it’s fun, we hope the real challenge is raising money for ALS, so please contribute so we can stop this awful disease. Sue, this one’s for you.”
The girls dumped ice buckets on the boys before the boys returned the favor. [VIDEO]
Osborne, as if tearing into “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at Wrigley Field, started by saying, “A one, a two, a three,” before motioning for the girls to tip their buckets.
Osborne and Stock doused each other, two men who had guided the Niemiec siblings in respective IHSA state tournaments. Chris Niemiec, a 2008 East product, is working toward a full-time professional golf career. Jenny Niemiec, a recent Northern Illinois graduate who golfed for the Huskies, is a 2010 East alum.
“Rod and I could have done it to each other, as other people have, but I think it was more get the kids involved, you know. Varsity-varsity,” Stock said. “So we talked about it two weeks ago. The girls thought it was a good idea, my boys thought it was a good idea, so there we go.”
Stock said he spoke about the event with Chris Niemiec on Tuesday, but neither Niemiec sibling nor their father, Ed, were in attendance.
Osborne, a member at DeKalb’s Kishwaukee Country Club, occasionally spoke with Jenny Niemiec at the course when he encountered the Huskies practicing there.
Years ago, he made a habit of doing the same when Sue Niemiec, 50 years old at the time of her death, followed her daughter’s meets.
“Oh, she came to every one, just about, that she could come to. … She would get away almost every time to watch Jenny play,” Osborne said. “So they were really good supporters.”
The challenge continued ongoing goodwill around the East athletic program. In 2013, Sean and Lisa Daley, the parents of late former girls golfer Anna Daley, introduced the Anna Daley Fighting Saints Memorial Scholarship at the school.
The Daleys also have kept ties to East girls golf even after moving from St. Charles to Tennessee in May, two years after Anna died of acute myeloid leukemia at 17. Those gestures resonated during Wednesday’s tribute.
“It’s sad to have to do it, but if you do it, do it with class,” Osborne said. “And we enjoy the moment and remember.”