“We’ll never forget this night,” he said.
Back on the sidelines as the game got underway, McGinnity said she felt it was important to play the match, even though some people thought the game should have been canceled.
“These kids needed this,” she said. “It’s a team. It’s a way to come together and lean on each other. They need to lean on each other.”
She said she was struck by the fact that the two teams were playing their last games of the season against each other: the town Ritzer was from against the town where she worked as a math teacher.
“It’s crazy to think about why we would be here,” she said, noting that her students, many of whom were taught by Ritzer, are trying to stay positive. “They are paying it forward. She was a very special person.”
For the Andover players, it was senior night — during which the 12th-graders on the team are honored by the underclassmen. Many of the players didn’t even expect to have a game last night, according to Andover head coach Maureen Noone.
“I think it’s nice we can help out,” she said before the game, which Andover won 6-0. “We were going to cancel Senior Night, but the Danvers coach said, ‘Absolutely not.’”
Instead, the seniors from Andover presented the seniors from Danvers with bouquets of pink flowers before the game. All the players from both teams wore pink ribbons in their hair.
Leigh Keefe of Andover, the mother of sophomore field hockey player Brenna Keefe and the organizer of Senior Night, made pink “Ritzer Strong” signs, which she hung on the outside of the concession stand. Later, members of both teams would gather for refreshments following the game.
“Pink was Colleen’s favorite color,” Keefe said.