One day, Kelsey and Jamie Schroeder will tell their daughter, Hazel, what really happened in 2009, when she was born weighing just less than two pounds, and spent 87 straight days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center.
But for now, 5-year-old Hazel is having a ball and is looking forward to another visit from Santa Claus. On Dec. 20, Hazel was climbing on the stands at the Bryn Mawr gymnasium before the Martians took on Notre Dame Prep in the 15th and final Paul Sherry Shootout.
One day, Hazel, now a cute-as-a button, blonde dynamo, will walk up to family friend Jan Sherry, and give her a hug and kiss and say thanks, because in 2009, the Paul Sherry Shootout benefitted the GBMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in honor of Hazel.
"She's a miracle," Joe Twist, Hazel's grandfather, said. "Now, she's a very happy, healthy 5-year-old little girl. She loves to play and have a great time."
Joe Twist's daughter, Kelsey, is now the dean of students at Roland Park Country School. In 2001, she graduated from Roland Park as The Baltimore Sun's Female Athlete of the Year. A prep All-American lacrosse player, Kelsey also played basketball in high school, though it was at the Towson Recreation Council program years earlier when she first met Jan and Paul Sherry.
Paul and Jan moved from the San Francisco area to Baltimore in 1985 so Paul could continue a broadcasting career at WJZ-TV Channel 13. Eventually, he left the broadcast business for a brokerage firm, though he continued to coach a girls' basketball team, which also included his daughters, Theresa and Laurie, who would eventually attend Bryn Mawr.
Like Kelsey, Theresa Sherry was a sensational high school lacrosse player, who also played basketball. In 2002 and 2003, Sherry, a three-time first-team All-American lacrosse player at Princeton, helped the Tigers win back-to-back women's national championships
In 1997, Theresa and Laurie Sherry helped formed the nucleus of a 13-and-under basketball team called General Dye. One year later, the same team, coached then by Sherry and former Bryn Mawr girls' coach Snuffy Smith, won the AAU national invitational tournament championship in New Orleans.
One year later, in 1999, Paul Sherry died of cancer.
"On that first team, we had four girls from Bryn Mawr, two from Roland Park and girls from Friends, St. Paul's, Dulaney," Snuffy Smith said. "They all played on the same rec team. Paul coached them early on and kept them together. They were a terrific group of girls -- great athletes."
One year after Paul passed away, Smith, Joe Twist, Jan Sherry and Bryn Mawr athletic director Wendy Kridel put together the first Paul Sherry Shootout, a basketball game between Bryn Mawr and Catonsville High that that honored Paul's legacy of coaching sports in the Towson area.
For the last 15 years, the event has changed lives by designating an individual or deserving group or business as the tournament's beneficiary. And while the tournaments have raised substantial amounts of money for worthy causes, the Sherry family simply feels the event has run its course, and it's time to more on.
"It's very difficult to sustain these things," said Snuffy Smith, who retired from coaching at Bryn Mawr in 2007 and was replaced by Mimi Walters. "People get older. They move away, but the Sherry family has kept this intact. I think we're approaching something like $130,000 to $140,000 raised for local causes. The integrity and the character of the people involved is what stands out."
The 15th and final Sherry shootout was held Dec. 20 at Bryn Mawr, as the Martians took on Notre Dame Prep. NDP won, 46-39, though once again the final score seemed secondary to the bigger picture -- donating to this year's beneficiary: The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
"I think there are other ways to remember my dad now," Theresa Sherry said. "Of course, he lives on in us in other ways, and Bryn Mawr will always have a special place in our hearts. We're just really grateful to Snuffy Smith, Joe Twist [and] Wendy Kridel for everything they've done to keep it going."
Kridel said she was proud of what the school and the athletic department has been able to do.
"I just love that our athletic program is doing something for others on a yearly basis," Kridel said. "I loved having an annual event where we were always focusing on the good for someone else. When you add to it that I am so close to the family, it was an easy event to keep going."
Kridel is also the Bryn Mawr girls' lacrosse coach. In addition to Theresa and Laurie, she also coached their younger sister, Valerie, a graduate student at the University of Maryland. Kridel is more than just a former coach and educator to Paul and Jan Sherry's three girls. She is extremely close to the entire family.
"I feel like they're my own children, Theresa especially," Kridel said. "I feel like I almost raised that child. That, to me, is what coaching is all about. It's about relationships and maintaining those relationships."
The Sherry sisters, who also played basketball for Smith at Bryn Mawr, were back home Dec. 20 for the final Sherry Shootout, along with their brother, Jack, who graduated two years ago from West Virginia University, and their mom, Jan, who thanked the crowd for again supporting the event and announced this would be the last year it would be held.
"This is the 15th year," Theresa Sherry said. "It's been really neat to come together and see people my dad knew and reconnect with those people. But also have a larger cause in the community and to raise money for different charities and organizations."
Theresa Sherry lives in the San Francisco area with her sister Laurie, who played college lacrosse at Santa Clara University. Once the coach at the University of California, Theresa now runs the successful Tenacity 10: Premier Lacrosse Camps and Club Teams program for girls in the Bay Area.
"When I walk back in this gym, I have a ton of memories, a lot of big games," Theresa said "Playing Roland Park, I got to play with my sister, Laurie, for two years, with my dad in the stands and then without him in the stands. There's a lot of memories flooding back whenever I walk in here."
Since 2000, the Shootout has benefited some exceptional individuals or group causes: The Joyce Green Van Fund, The Rayna Dubose Assistance Fund, Fisher Houses of Walter Reed Medical Center, The Gilchrist Hospice Center, The Maryland 911 Victims and Survivors Fund, The Stadium School Youth Dreamers, The Carson Scholars and, in 2009, the GBMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
"You just have to thank them for all the time, effort and expertise that they put in," said Joe Twist, founder and president of the Collaborative Group, which has been one of the Sherry Shootout's primary sponsors. "To take this little girl who was less than two pounds and bring her now to being a healthy and happy little girl is really amazing. …
"This has been a terrific event. Whenever we saw a need, we said, 'How can we help?' And the needs changed from year-to-year. So the choice of our charities also changed from year-to-year."
Hazel Schroeder sat between her mom, Kelsey, and grandfather at the game Dec. 20, and smiled from ear-to-ear pretty much the entire game.
Her mother, like Theresa Sherry, is one of the best overall athletes in Baltimore prep sports history. Kelsey Twist went to Stanford, where she became a first-team All-American lacrosse player and met her future husband, Jamie Schroeder, a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic Rowing team. She was also a teammate of Theresa Sherry's on the 1999 U19 United States Women's National Lacrosse team, which won the world championship.
Kridel was their head coach.
"Every one of those girls who played on that General Dye team went on to play college athletics," Joe Twist said. "It was a special group. The whole athletic process really equipped those girls to be terrific citizens -- whether they're moms now, or they're working or both."
The 15th and final Sherry Shootout meant much more to the large crowd than just final score -- it was the end of an era.
"I loved the fact that a lot of the kids who played in this game came back today," Kridel said. "There are girls here from Snuffy's first team, to girls who played last year. That's sports. That's the good part. No one will remember who wins any of these basketball games. But all of these kids in the last 15 years will say, 'Oh yeah, I remember playing in the Sherry Shootout.'"