GLENMONT — Volleyballs are not the only things expected to soar high during the Colonial Acres Tournament in Glenmont on Thursday, Aug. 1.
The neighborhood volleyball CAT tournament, celebrating its 10th anniversary, will happen at the Colonial Coliseum on 82 Cambridge Dr. at 5 p.m. First created by brothers Nick and Garrett Bernardo and their childhood friend Alex Martin in 2010 as a night of volleyball with friends, it has since grown from an eight-team (six players each) event to a 16-team one this year. The Colonial Coliseum is their nickname for their backyard actually.
While they said it is open to all ages, it would also feature around four to five hours of volleyball time, a live DJ, play-by-play announcements, a food truck, a photoshoot with teams on a red carpet, drinks and more.
The tournament is presented by NOVUS Clothing Company, an Albany-based custom sportswear and apparel company, which the Bernardo brothers and business partner Scott Klimchak founded in 2011. All participants this year will be given special 10th anniversary CAT jerseys created by Garrett, NOVUS’ lead designer.
The trio decided to work with the Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund this year to help raise $5,000 for cancer research and treatments. The topic of cancer has impacted the trio’s personal lives as the Bernardo brothers’ aunt, Karis Bernardo, is fighting stage four cancer for two years now, and Klimchak’s mother, Kathy Klimchak, passed away last October from cancer.
“We thought it seemed fitting to honor people like our aunt and Scott’s mother, and also people out there who are continuing to fight cancer,” Nick said. “Why not use this event to have a little bit more meaning? It seemed like a no-brainer.”
“We really want to raise awareness of the issue and engage anyone in the community who needs help, and that can be through a financial donation or simply just coming out to the tournament to support us,” Garrett said. “When everybody starts to come together and rally around a great cause, great things happen.”
Garrett said that the tournament has almost 10 supportive corporate sponsors now and “we’re already a little over 75 percent there in reaching our $5,000 goal in the last week and a half. We’d started the fundraising page earlier this month.” All proceeds will go directly to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute — the brothers said their aunt did her treatment there — and the Jimmy Fund.
In addition, the brothers acknowledged how children who’d participated in the annual tournament’s early years have been growing up, including their 14-year-old brother, Caden who will start attending Bethlehem Central High School this fall.
“People are moving away like to college and in some years, we wondered how we’re going to continue the tournament,” said Garrett. “But it’s cool that it is still a family event and generations of kids have been cycling through it. They’re moving up to do great things — some are business owners, professional athletes or working at the Capital — and it’s really cool that an idea that started out as summer fun is now making an impact on people’s lives here. It really goes beyond what’s happening on the court.”
Nick said that there may be as many as 96 contestants and “a lot more people coming out in support.” He added that a local woman going through cancer will speak at the tournament too about her journey and to spread an empowering message to the public. “We hope that this event can be a reminder and an inspiration so that people can go out and do the same thing,” Garrett said. “We just want everyone to know that you can put a great cause behind something fun. It’s amazing to see what people are capable of.”
Looking ahead, Garrett said that this would probably be the last year the tournament will be held at the Colonial Coliseum, explaining that as NOVUS and attendance grows annually, it would be an opportunity to “make it a bigger event that needs a bigger venue.”
For more information, visit www.novusclothingcompany.com/cat10.