By Jano Tantongco
Sean Urda loved playing soccer for Elwood-John Glenn High School. He enjoyed putting in hard work on field just as much he enjoyed the downtime he shared with his teammates, with whom he’d compete in Xbox “FIFA” tournaments or enjoy pasta parties the night before a big game.
He even loved Knights head coach Louis Hanner’s 5:45 a.m. Friday practices.
“Whatever the team was doing, Sean would drop everything to go,” Gary Urda, Sean’s father, said.
Sean was killed in a snow tubing accident early last year, months after completing his senior season with the boys soccer team.
On Friday, the Elwood community ensured that Sean’s memory will remain a part of the soccer field where he once loved to play. The newly-installed scoreboard, which stands tall beside field, was dedicated in Sean’s memory.
Gary Urda, along with wife Nicole and son Luke, attended the ceremony and offered thanks to the community. The family donated the funds that were used to purchase the scoreboard.
“For those of you who knew Sean, you knew how important the game of soccer was to him,” Gary Urda said. “But what you may not understand is how important the Elwood Knights, this school, and this community were to him.”
Elwood Superintendent Kenneth Bossert said he was not “fortunate enough to have met Sean,” but was told by many that he served as a “role model.”
“Those are the words I’d like you to keep in mind when you think about him, and when you try to act as a role model and set a positive example for your friends and teammates and opponents,” Bossert said. “He was a young man that was taken from us way too quickly. The way we can honor him is to act in a manner in which he did.”
Currents Knights soccer captains Luke Karen, Andrew Lule and Chris Spalding presented Nicole Urda with flowers on behalf of the team. Luke Urda, who plays for the junior varsity team and wears no. 14, the number his late brother once wore, then cut the ribbon to officially commemorate the dedication.
Gary Urda had previously said that, upon conferring with Knights coach Louis Hanner, the two realized that next date the ceremony could logistically be held was on Oct. 14.
Urda said, "A scoreboard over this field seemed like a fitting idea. And when the dedication ceremony ended up being on the 14th, I guess that means Sean thinks so, too."