The most attended home game in the Yellowjacket football’s yearly schedule just got bigger. For the next two years, the Courage Bowl, which packs Fauver Stadium every other year, will now be held downtown at the Marina Auto Stadium, home of the Rochester Rhinos.
‘The Courage Bowl is a special game on our schedule,” UR Athletic Director George VanderZwaag said. ‘I think this move will have the effect of making it even more special. Our players already look forward to it. Now it has the chance to be even bigger and better.”
With a venue that usually alternates between St. John Fisher College and UR, the Courage Bowl is an annual football game between the two teams that began in the 2005-06 season.
With such enthusiasm for the game, the venue was bound to get bigger.
The idea came about through a partnership between St. John Fisher Athletic Director Bob Ward, VanderZwaag and Gary Mervis, the founder and chairman of Camp Good Days and Special Times.
‘We have been discussing the idea for a few years as the event has grown and incorporated a television broadcast,” said VanderZwaag. ‘We really want to engage the larger Rochester community as we build awareness of and support for the work of Camp Good Days and Special Times.”
The game benefits the children of Camp Good Days, given the new location, will draw more attention and donations to helping the children.
Mervis has always been a key proponent of the bowl game each year and has continued to help it grow past a simple rivalry to a meaningful event for all involved.
‘He has a lot of resources to call on,” Ward said. ‘I think if anybody can do it, Gary Mervis and Camp Good Days and Special Times has a chance to do it.”
After careful consideration, Rhino’s Stadium was selected as the perfect location for the game.
‘It is the only venue that offers us the space and facilities we need to grow the event,” said VanderZwaag. ‘It gives us a chance to build greater community support and involvement in the game.”
The new location is expected to incorporate more people from the city community, with the intent of increasing the Yellowjacket and St. John Fisher fan base.
‘I think trying to make it a bigger event, taking it to a bigger venue, seeing if we can market it that way and grow into more of a community event is worth a try,” Ward said.
If all goes well, then the Courage Bowl could be held downtown past the preset two-year commitment.
‘Obviously, all involved parties need to be satisfied with the results of holding the event downtown,” VanderZwaag said. ‘The Rhinos organization needs to feel it is worthwhile hosting the event in their stadium. Camp Good Days and Special Times needs to feel like their efforts to make the event successful are worthwhile in advancing their mission. Both schools need to be willing to continue to play each other and do so at a neutral site. I like our chances.”
Manrique is a member of the class of 2012.