Eric Bruce Consolo, who graduated from PAHS with the Class of 2001, has returned to New Zealand to complete his schooling and chase his goal of being a professional rugby player.

Consolo competed in football, baseball, wrestling and rugby here, but rugby is the one diversion he hopes to make his future.

"My life has changed," Consolo said. "I am now moving to New Zealand to finish schooland pursue my dream of playing professional rugby and representing my country. I know my dream is a dream for now, but perhaps with work and dedication I will reach my goal.

"I know that is the best choice for me. I have been taught by the people around me to make challenging goals and to chase my dreams, so I take this step into the unknown of an ever-changing world."

Consolo departed Tuesday for his journey overseas.

It is a major step, but Consolo is young enough to at least make the attempt. It takes courage to try such a venture.

"How do I say goodbye to my life up until now?" he said. "The people I love, the people I know, heck, even the people I hate.

"How is it that I say goodbye to the people and places of Phoenixville. This is what I am thinking on my last full day in Phoenixville for years to come."

Consolo was born at Phoenixville Hospital, attended school here in the Phoenixville Area School District and worked nearby at the Seven Stars Inn as a bus boy, then a waiter.

Now, major changes in his life lie ahead.

"Change is what scares me the most," he said. "I fear the changes I'll see when I return. I fear my moved ones will not be here anymore. I'm afraid that my best friend up the street will be a different person.

"I'm afraid Eric Consolo will be forgotten by those he loves. Despite this I thank the community of people who have known me. You have shaped me into what I am today and where I am going in the future. If you have known me, take pride in the fact that I have learned and have taken all I could from what you have taught me.

"Perhaps, now I should be saying thank you instead of goodbye. Thank you to the coaches who put their time into teaching children about winning and losing and setting goals. Thank you to the teachers who have inspired me to be a teacher myself someday."

He thanked his many friends for being there when he was "the fat kid" on the block.

Above all, he thanked his family for always being there, even he acted as if he didn't care in life.

"Thank you and goodbye to all," he said. "Perhaps I'll see you in a couple years."

Best of luck, Eric.

* * *

New Champs lead the Seniors Winter Spring Bowling League at Phoenix Lanes with an 18-6 record, two games better than the Ghosts at 16-8. NASCAR and Go Getters are tied for third place at 15-9.

Leaders for the week included Sam Gutchen (236, 635), Tom Harper (257, 674), Sandy Lawrence (212, 511), Caroline McLaughlin (244) and Ruth Bray (665).

Barry Sankey covers a variety of sports as a staff writer for The Phoenix. He can be reached at

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