EASTON — As Talbot Goes Purple grows across the county, local sports teams are joining the effort by donning purple socks, T-shirts and towels, and offering educational booths at sporting events.
Throughout September, sport spectators can expect to see purple at Easton High School football and field hockey games, Talbot Braves football games, and Talbot County Parks and Recreations field hockey tournaments in support of TGP.
TGP is an initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary that empowers youth and the community to “go purple” as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse.
Friday, Sept. 1, is a big day for Talbot County and TGP, as banners, and purple lights flood the streets of towns across the county to raise awareness to the heroin and opioid epidemic.
Easton High School’s football team will host its first home game against Washington High School at 6:30 p.m. that night, and players and cheerleaders will wear purple socks to show their support for the project.
On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Easton High School field hockey team also will don purple socks and ribbons for its home game against Pocomoke High School that starts at 4 p.m., Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble is set to speak to both teams before the game.
Other Easton High School fall sports teams that will be going purple include volleyball, soccer and cross country. At St. Michaels High School, the field hockey, soccer and golf teams will sport purple during games this fall.
The main event for TGP will be on Tuesday, Sept. 19, as Chris Herren, former NBA star and founder of Project Purple is set to speak to the public at 7 p.m. at Easton High School.
In support of that event and in TGP, Mike Schuettpelz, coach of the Talbot Braves (an intramural football team for ages 5 through 14) will host an informative table and talk by Gamble on Saturday, Sept. 16, prior to the start of home games that begin at 9 a.m Banners will be on display as well.
Schuettpelz said the players and cheerleaders will wear TGP T-shirts before and after the games.
“The whole team is doing it,” Schuettpelz said. “It is something for our kids to be a part of. Education on this starts early, and with it affecting so many people, it’s just something good for the community, and we are happy to be a part of it.”
Schuettpelz said the kids will be able to learn about TGP and why it is so important. He said kids are the best teachers, as well.
“It’s like the wear your seat belt campaign. Kids are always the first one to say put your seat belt on, because they are taught how important that is,” Schuettpelz said. “So if the kids know it, they will share it.”
On the same day as the Talbot Braves’ games, Talbot County Parks and Recreation will hold three field hockey league games at Moton Elementary starting at 9 a.m.
Throughout the day, field hockey coaches will wear TGP T-shirts. The players will wear purple T-shirts before and after each game.
In addition, there will be a TGP information table for all players and their families and visitors to educate themselves on the cause.
“Gamble came out and talked to us, and we thought it would be great for our girls to get involved,” said Emily Gilmer, recreation manager for parks and recreation.
For more information on TGP, visit www.talbot goespurple.org.