Carosa, who coined the slogan “Live Awesome” and made it his lifestyle, graduated from North Meck in 2006. Not only was he one of the most popular kids at the school, but in his own Hampton Ridge backyard as well. He was very well known for his sophisticated backyard football league, which he organized and operated, drawing the participation of dozens of his classmates including several members of the Vikings football team. Carosa didn’t play high school football himself.
While a student at North Carolina State University, Carosa began to notice persistent pains and ailments, eventually diagnosed as symptoms of a rare germ cell cancer in September 2008. He was forced to withdraw from N.C. State as his treatments continued. He died Aug. 31, 2009.
Citizen sports editor Justin Parker, who just a few years earlier wrote about Carosa’s backyard football league, wrote a moving story about his life. A quote that came from an interview with his mother, Becky Behan, perhaps best captured Carosa’s approach to life. While standing outside a hospital in Indianapolis, after hearing the news that the aggressive cancer was going to win the battle raging in his body, Behan recalled the following:
“Kevin looks at me and says, ‘Please stop crying.’ I said, ‘Don’t you feel like (asking) why?’He said, ‘Mom, I’m glad it’s me and not somebody else.’ Who says that? I couldn’t be thatstrong.”
So how to honor a young man whose zest for life would prompt him to accept such a fate rather than wish it upon others? What else, indeed, but a flag football tournament.
The second annual Live Awesome Flag Football Tournament will be held Saturday, Oct. 1, at Huntersville Athletic Park on Verhoeff Drive. Like last year, the event will be held in conjunctionwith Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville’s annual Cancer Survivors’ weekend celebration. Proceeds from the event will benefit cancer charities selected by both the hospital and Carosa’s family.
“We are excited to bring the Live Awesome Flag Football Tournament back for a second year,” says Citizen Publisher Kim Clark. “What better way to give back to the community that supports us than to honor this remarkable young man and to help perpetuate his Live Awesome legacy.”
Adds Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville President Tanya Blackman, “Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville is thrilled to honor the life of Kevin Carosa through our involvement with the Live Awesome Flag Football Tournament. We pride ourselves on being Huntersville’s hospital and are committed to improving the health of our community, one person at a time. This event provides us the opportunity to fulfill that mission.””
Last year’s tournament drew 16 teams and was won by Football Fridays at Fat Kids, a team that was made up of several players who played in Carosa’s backyard league. During the awards ceremony following the championship game, the team, in a moving gesture, donated its championship trophy to Behan.
Parker says this year’s tournament will likely include two divisions, one for competitive teams and another for more recreational teams. Several fields will be set up at the park, each 60 yards in length with 10-yard end zones. Teams will be provided with rules after they register, and registration will begin in the coming weeks. The Citizen will include regular updates on its Website and Facebook page.
To help kick off the run-up toward the Second Annual Live Awesome Flag Football Tournament, Citizen editor Andrew Warfield will serve as a guest bartender at the Kilted Buffalo Pub and Barbershop in Birkdale Village the evening of Tuesday, July 19. To get into the spirit, wear gear from your favorite football team at any level, or anything in the signature “Live Awesome” colors of black and red. Live Awesome wrist bands will be available for sale for $2. All of Warfield’s tips will benefit the Live Awesome charities.