Fan Expresses Gratitude Towards Local Empire Owner
Owner Mike Kwarta received a heartfelt letter from an anonymous fan this past Sunday after the Albany Empire won the NAL Championship. Read what this grateful fan had to say below.
BIGGER THAN FOOTBALL
Here’s the challenge: bring hope and normalcy to a community that is experiencing disease, unprecedented violence, and political controversies.
Prior to the collective challenges we’ve faced, local business owner Mike Kwarta purchased the Albany Empire. Kwarta was drawn to the venture due to his love for the game and his own history of playing on a team. Football was a sport that the massive Kwarta was a stand out in. Purchasing the Albany Empire started off as a fun adventure that would scratch the competitive itch for Kwarta. No one could have predicted what it would ultimately become.
I don’t have to tell you what the past two years have been like, you have lived it. What I feel compelled to share are the commonalities between the Empire ownership group, in particular Mike Kwarta and the struggling mom and pop shops in our communities. The rising cost of running a business, a government which is routinely changing the rules, the unpredictability of consumer demand and a shortage of employees.
You can stop by your neighborhood deli or the front office of the Albany Empire and what you’ll find is that these challenges are the same. What you’ll also find are business owners who are committed to providing the hope and normalcy I first talked about to their communities.
I attended every Albany Empire home game and it should be clear to you by now that I had an insider’s view of what it took to pull this off. In the past two years have you tried to buy an appliance? Or toilet paper? Now try to order arena football goal posts which are compliant with the rules of the new league you are in. Kwarta and his team located some pvc piping and yellow paint and the next thing you saw were trucks driving down Central Avenue to the Times Union Center with goal posts for the opening game. This is one of many selfless stories I could share with you about this season.
What did I see in the stands ? Normalcy, laughter ... hope. Not a single conversation about vaccines, elections or crime, the discussions focused on onside kicks, blown calls by the referees and the glory days of previous championship teams.
A cowboy danced in the aisle, the Empresses danced on the field and a championship trophy was hoisted above the heads of a proud community.
The unity was real and for a brief moment the world was right.
It started as football ... it turned out to be much, much more.
I know I speak for many in our community when I say, thank you to the coaches, players, Empresses, staff, and to the guy who has been accused many times of having a heart bigger than his head, Mike Kwarta.
Thank You! You made Albany Champions once again!
⁃ One Grateful Fan