May 14 was a day to celebrate the most important women in our lives: our moms! Hoopfest is fortunate to be influenced by many great moms, whether that be on our Board, Operating Committee, Office Staff or volunteers. One mother in particular embodies Hoopfest as a family affair.
Cathy Santangelo is seriously familiar with Hoopfest. “I walked through my first Hoopfest as a student at Gonzaga University. It is hard to describe the magic of the weekend to those who have not had a chance to see it,” Cathy reminisces. “I remember walking wide-eyed through the crowds of people and marveling at all of the courts set up downtown.”
A lot has changed since Cathy’s first Hoopfest experience. She is now the wife to Hoopfest Executive Director, Matt Santangelo, and mother of their three energetic kids. “I became a mom for the second time over Hoopfest weekend in 2007, so I had a great view of the event that year from my hospital bed. Then, the first two years that our boys participated as players, I wore our daughter on my back all over downtown,” says Cathy.
With three young kids and busy schedules, family time and supporting one another is still emphasized in the Santangelo household.
“We get to talk about Hoopfest all year long at our house. The boys, especially, are thrilled when Matt comes home with a new color scheme, idea for the poster, or a new basketball or t-shirt design,” explains Cathy. “We have a lot of early morning coffee chats around the kitchen table with the kids about Hoopfest and what Matt might be working on at the moment.”
While Matt and Cathy’s daughter is not yet old enough to hoop it up on the streets of downtown Spokane, the Santangelo boys are able to participate in Hoopfest. You can find the whole family taking part in the Best Basketball Weekend on Earth every summer, figuring out brackets and navigating the nearest snow cone stand!
If you think Cathy’s daily life is already jam-packed, you’d be correct. But as a mom who teaches her children to “be a person for others,” she sought out an opportunity to lead by example. Cathy is now a member of the Hoopfest Operating Committee.
“Now that our children are getting older, I was ready to focus on ways that I could give back and volunteer. Basketball has been a catalyst for some amazing adventures in our lives, so Hoopfest was a natural fit for me,” Cathy says.
As an O.C. member, Cathy works closely with Chad Smith, Hoopfest’s Operations Manager, to help coordinate volunteers.
“Cathy is a tremendous addition to our team,” Chad Smith says. “Her organization and attention to detail are vitally important when organizing and communicating with our Hoopfest volunteers. It’s great for all of us at Hoopfest to get to see her and the rest of her family on a regular basis.”
With her husband at the helm of Hoopfest as the Executive Director, Cathy has witnessed “how critical all of the community and volunteer involvement is to making the weekend successful.” Our dedicated volunteers combined with Cathy’s desire to contribute to Hoopfest are the necessities of ensuring another smooth and successful weekend.
“I am always impressed by the passion of the longtime volunteers who come back year after year to help,” says Cathy. “I am happy to be a bigger part of the puzzle now and contributing in a larger way to make the weekend run smoothly. I also have a better understanding and appreciation for the scope of the work that Matt does and why it speaks to him.”
This year, with Matt busy preparing for the tournament weekend with the Hoopfest team and Cathy’s role with the Operating Committee, you’ll find the fam all over our site! Find the three young kids in the Hoopfest Store presented by Nike, at Nike Center Court or using the bungee jump in the Family Fun Zone. We encourage you to join them and enjoy all Hoopfest has to offer!
With Hoopfest 2017 less than SIX weeks away, the Santangelo fam is ready and excited for the tournament weekend!
“Our boys had great fun this year choosing team names and uniforms with their friends, and they are certainly spending more time shooting around,” Cathy says. “I think the tournament will be a tremendous success and another opportunity to create memories as a family.”
If you’d like to join the Santangelo family in making memories at Spokane Hoopfest, come join us June 24 & 25! If you’re interested in playing, register here, but don’t procrastinate – registration closes May 22.
We are always welcoming new, great volunteers like Cathy Santangelo! To help contribute to the Spokane community in a big way, sign up to become a Hoopfest volunteer!