Group founder works to restart Philly Tigers

The Philly Tigers was a Northeast-based organization that helped raise money for people in need through sporting and other events. Years after ending, founder Larry Goldstein is hoping to keep the name alive.

Passion for helping: Larry Goldstein (center) hopes to restart the Philly Tigers, a local group that held sporting events to raise money for the needy. PHOTO: LARRY GOLDSTEIN

No one is entirely sure why the Philly Tigers disbanded.

Membership in the volunteer organization that used to raise money for people in need gradually dissipated, until the organization just stopped hosting events roughly six years ago.

“Members moved away or got busy,” said Larry Goldstein, the founder of the organization. “We lost a lot of people in the organization, but I’m trying to do it again.”

At its peak, there were about 45 or 50 Philly Tigers. Goldstein, a Far Northeast resident, organized the group to hold sporting or other events to raise funds for people in need, mostly meant to benefit individuals facing medical bills they could not pay alone.

The Tigers would raise funds by selling merchandise and asking for donations at their various sporting events. Goldstein described the events as packed with “food, fun and all-out entertainment.”

“Philly Tigers was about helping and giving back to others,” he said.

Goldstein still works to help and inspire others, though in different ways. He works with adults at the Fox Chase Adult Day Care to coach them in tai chi, fitness and spirituality.

In its heyday, the Philly Tigers softball and football teams played games against the Philly Ballgirls and played in the Trenton Thunder Arm & Hammer Park in front of crowds of 100 or more. The coed teams were entirely comprised of volunteers.

Goldstein recalled helping a young girl named Kristen who needed money for an operation to treat an issue with her brain. The team, which included the girl’s mother, was able to raise enough money for the operation to happen, and Goldstein said the girl grew up healthy.

Other individuals the Tigers helped included a man who needed a kidney operation, who Goldstein said was moved to tears by the game, and a woman who lost all of her possessions when her house burned down.

Besides helping people, the Philly Tigers helped by donating to local animal shelters.

“My two passions are helping people and helping animals,” Goldstein said.

Some games featured performing animals during the halftime shows.

Goldstein recalled a woman who had awoken from a coma after a bad car accident and was unable to speak or walk. The woman used therapy dogs to relearn basic living functions one step at a time, and eventually recovered enough to put on dog shows.

“She came out with three dogs and performed tricks for the audience,” Goldstein recalled with a laugh, saying the audience went wild for her show and her story.

Goldstein’s golden retriever named Goldie was one of the performing dogs.

Life moves on, and Goldstein said he was sad to see the group gradually disband. Though he is busy with his own life, he is always looking to run another event for the organization.

In the meantime, he has other ideas about where the organization can go.

“We’re trying to form a kids class and adults class on the side,” Goldstein said. “We would teach CrossFit exercises and focus on healing, exercise and fitness. It would work on the mind, body and spirit — all parts of a person.”

Kids classes would be for ages 8 to 14, and adults classes would be for “anyone willing to participate.”

Goldstein plans on beginning these classes in early 2018. Anyone interested in participating should contact him at larrygoldstein770@yahoo.com

Goldstein hopes to start these classes and reignite the Philly Tigers.

“To be a Philly Tiger means you’re giving back to community, to people in need, and doing a good service for people and for God,” Goldstein said. “And also having a lot of fun, too. To be a Philly Tiger is all those things wrapped up in one.” ••