A brief history
Boston Spurs Supporters Club is an Official Supporters Club of the English Premier League football team Tottenham Hotspur, based in Boston, MA. I’ve briefly talked about what this supporters club means to me in the past. But some of you haven’t heard about them from me. They are what helped stoke my love for the beautiful game. The Club meets at The Kinsale, a pub in Boston’s Government Center, for all matches. Showing up on weekends to yell at the TV, and throwing back one (or two) too many Guinness with this adopted family became a pastime for me.
The core group that was always there have helped make the club official in the eyes of Tottenham. They have created awesome membership benefits and merchandise. A few even created a podcast on which I’ve been lucky enough to be a guest a handful of times. Speaking of, if you want to hear more about the events to come from Chris Gervasi and BSSC Chairman Ryan Hayman, you should listen to the most recent episode.
On Sunday, December 23rd, the Boston Spurs Supporters Club will be kicking off their 6th Annual Holiday Charity Raffle & Auction. This will be the first of two live raffles held at The Kinsale. Doors will open at 10AM for the 11AM kickoff to ensure plenty of time for all attendees to purchase their raffle tickets. Tickets will be available for $5 each or 5 for $20.
The second event will be hosted on Tuesday, January 1st. Doors will open at 11:30AM for the 12:30PM kickoff to ensure plenty of time for all attendees to purchase their raffle tickets. Once again tickets will be available for $5 each or 5 for $20.
All proceeds from the Raffles and the Auctions will support two partner charities, Soccer Without Borders – Boston, and Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice in Tottenham. It’s important to Boston Spurs, and to raffle founder Christopher Gervasi, that the group supports a local charity, as well as one that has close ties with Tottenham. It is Spurs who have brought this amazing group of humans together, after all.
The Beginning (courtesy of Gervasi)
I asked Gervasi to talk to me about the start of the charity raffle. Below is what he came to me with.
“I had been attending matches with Boston Spurs at the Kinsale for a few years, stumbling upon the group online. Fairly quickly, Boston Spurs grew from dozens to hundreds. Every time I attended a match, I noticed this sense of pride, friendship and community within the group. It got me thinking; what if we took all of these people, harnessed their collective kindness, and gave something back to the Tottenham and Boston communities. What would that look like? And what could we do?
“I really had no idea what people would be up for. I had done ‘community service day’ at work, but the relevance to the club seemed too far removed. Asking for cash donations seemed impersonal. Whatever we did, we wanted it to be a reflection of the group: caring, fun, shit talking, and booze. Well, I had some THFC swag, and others had some swag, and some people had tickets to sporting events, and some people had programs, and so on and so on. A raffle was born!
“Some of our highlights from raffles in the past include:
- signed Brad Friedel keeper gloves
- original artwork from Spurs supporters
- Shirts, scarfs and hats from supporters group around the world
- The fake prize (a box of junk)
“By far the biggest highlight has been the impact we as a group have made to the charities we have been able to give to. The level of effort put forth by Boston Spurs is inspiring, and I am grateful for the support and love shown by all who contribute.”
Soccer Without Borders
Soccer Without Borders is a Boston based charity. They focus on critical issues facing young people in underserved communities throughout the world. Their mission is to “use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success”.
While there are many positive sport experiences, soccer is the most universally accessible; at its most basic level it offers playing opportunities that are low-cost, physically beneficial, inclusive and enjoyable. Soccer also enjoys worldwide popularity, making it the perfect platform from which to develop physically, socially, and individually.
Soccer Without Borders believes that the potential of soccer to make change is deeper than simply playing the game. Rather, our programs are built around the philosophy that soccer’s interpersonal environment has unique potential to meaningfully impact participants. Within that environment, youth are exposed to the benefits of soccer and team sports for their bodies, voices, and minds, and supported in the application of these benefits to their everyday lives and future goals.
When it comes to marginalized populations such as refugees, soccer offers an accessible, familiar space to build friendships and social capital, gain confidence, experience success, acclimate to new surroundings, and heal.
Soccer provides an avenue for positive engagement, a platform for personal growth, and a toolkit for a brighter future.Soccer Without Borders
Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice
Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice is a community-based hospice service providing support for children and young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families in North and Central London and Hertsmere. They hold a strong partnership with Spurs. You can dig into the how a bit further by visiting http://www.forpreciousmoments.com/, which is their official partnership site.
We are delighted to partner with Noah’s Ark, a fantastic organisation that operates on our doorstep and support the charity in achieving its goals over the next two years.
As a high profile football club with a global fanbase of over 400 million, we have the unique ability to engage and inspire people around supporting good causes like Noah’s Ark.
We hope to be able to highlight the wonderful work of Noah’s Ark in supporting young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families, while encouraging individuals to give up their time to volunteer for a great cause and further enhance the offering the charity is able to make.Daniel Levy, Tottenham Hotspur chairman
Boston Spurs Involvement
I spoke to Hayman about the involvement of Boston Spurs. Here’s what he had to say:
“Many Supporters Clubs give back to their communities through charity work and it’s something that Boston Spurs had not done early on. On the one hand, the Club had not yet grown to a size that would allow us to make a significant contribution, although every little bit does help. On the other hand, we did not really have someone within the Club who had the experience and initiative to get the ball rolling in that respect.
“A few years later, long-time member Chris Gervasi felt it was time for the Club to explore working with local charities, and after a few discussions the Boston Spurs Holiday Charity Raffle was born. What was initially a single live charity raffle held in conjunction with a Spurs match during the festive period has grown into two live raffles and two online auctions.
“With this year’s events being the 6th annual, Boston Spurs have donated nearly $20,000 to charity over the course of the past five years. The size and scope of the event grows annually as does the amount donated, and every year we hope and expect to surpass previous years.”
It’s important to note that all the prizes involved in both the raffle and online auction are donations from various BSSC members and others both at home in Boston and abroad.
Some of the stuff you can expect to see includes kits, tees, shorts, socks, hats, scarves, books, games, balls, DVDs, etc. Basically, anything you think of that could be Spurs or Boston Spurs-related.
**IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO THE RAFFLES, PLEASE EMAIL INFO@BOSTONSPURS.COM**