April 27, 2015
Many of you are still unaware that April 27 is Michelle Bentivegna Day. It was proclaimed in the year 2007 A.D. by the Honorable Ken Flatto, First Selectman of Fairfield on the occasion of Ms. Bentivegna receiving her Gold Award from the Girl Scouts of America.
Ms. Bentivegna saw the need to bring soccer to rural Haiti and collected used soccer balls and equipment. She even managed to obtain a huge amount of soccer equipment from a store that was closing. This equipment was then packaged in a container thanks to the efforts of Dr. Jerry Lowny. It was sent to Haiti and to this day, soccer remains very popular in that area thanks to Ms. Bentivegna.
It has been widely assumed that Ms. Bentivegna was once a highly accomplished soccer player. Ms. Bentivegna has discouraged such speculation. However, there is little doubt that she distinguished herself as a goalie and popularized what is known as the “face block,” the ability to stop high velocity shots with her face. Whether this was due to Ms. Bentivegna’s legendary fearlessness or due to a slow reaction time is still fiercely debated among soccer historians.
Like Earth Day and Kwanza, Michelle Bentivegna Day is still in its infancy and is mostly celebrated by family members and friends drinking port and smoking cigars. However, there is a movement in Haiti to make it an annual holiday.
Video celebrating Michelle Bentivegna Day