Sport is both one of the most unifying and divisive subjects across the Region. It is a community that intensely embraces its high school athletes, and that often leads to the deep rivalries that are common from town to town. Yet the spirit and passion displayed by the athletes on the field are things that everyone can get behind, and that was celebrated at Wednesday’s 73rd Annual Gary Old Timers Athletic Association Banquet.
Coaches, former athletes, officials, and fans met at the Avalon Manor to celebrate sports and honor a cornerstone of Region Athletics, Bill Dorulla, Crown Point High School’s Athletic Director. Dorulla has dedicated nearly his entire life to Region sports, graduating as a standout football player and wrestler from Andrean High School, spending 20 years as a coach at Lake Station Edison High and Chesterton High, and leading numerous teams to championships and state placements. For him, high school sports are about much more than simply winning.
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“We’re education-based sports and there’s more to that than just playing games,” Dorulla said. “There are life lessons to be learned: expectations, sportsmanship, academics, all types of things like that which you don’t have in club sports. That’s what I really like about sports in school, as opposed to outside of school.”
Crown Point High School named Dorulla their Athletic Director in 2003, and since then, he has risen up as not just a pillar of the school’s athletic programs, but as one for the community as a whole. His service even earned him the Community of Achievement Award from the City of Crown Point.
“He embodies everything. He is Crown Point athletics,” said Chris Seibert, Head Coach of the Crown Point Girls Basketball Team. “His personality, his passion, and the dedication that he has to Crown Point athletics and the community really shines through. Whether it’s him helping every day to get ready for games or him getting honors like this, it’s all so deserved and we could not be more blessed to have been able to work under him.”
Two modern Chicago sports icons also made appearances, Mark Giangreco and Jeff Blanzy, lead sports anchors for ABC 7 and NBC 5 news respectively. The two entertained and regaled the crowd full of Bears, Cubs, Sox, and Bulls fans with behind-the-scenes stories and jokes.
“I’m very lucky to have worked in the golden age of television. Back then newscasters were kings. Everybody was a big celebrity,” Giangreco said. “It was viciously competitive; I tell everybody that the movie Anchorman is not a comedy, it’s a documentary.”
Everything came together for a night where the rivalries were set aside for a time to highlight the people and spirit that makes Region athletics as special as they are.