By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — Before the first course was served on Thanksgiving, the community gathered Thursday for Turkey Bowl 2022 at Mosher Park.
The just-for-fun competition between the “youngs” and “olds” brings together former RCS football players, athletes and others to go head-to-head.
“This is a tradition we do every year,” said Jeremy Putorti, a graduate of the RCS Class of 2006. “As soon as I was 17 or 18, I started to play here. Everyone comes out on Thanksgiving morning and we all say thanks to each other, we hug each other and it’s just a great tradition. We usually play until we get tired, the ‘old guys,’ but we all come out and play and it’s a great time.”
The rules to play in the Turkey Bowl are pretty lax. You just have to be out of high school and willing to have a good time.
“It used to be ages 25 and younger play 25 and older,” Putorti said. “Now we are lacking in people, so we try to see what ages show up. Last year I think it was 28 and above against 28 and younger. It’s not strict but most are former RCS football players or other athletes. We do make some exceptions for people who didn’t go to RCS but are friends of RCS grads.”
William Stewart — who went to Albany High in his school days — is one of those exceptions and played in his first Turkey Bowl on Thursday. He came into the game by happenstance.
“I was down at Jordan’s Barbershop and they were talking about this and I asked if they let people 50 and over play,” Stewart said. “They said yeah so I thought about it and decided to come down and play.”
Keith Geraldsen, on the other hand, has played in the annual game for years.
“I have been playing this for at least 25 years,” Geraldsen said. “Friends of mine started playing when we were young and it just escalated from there. Now it’s the next generation — I am playing with my son now.”
The game, as far as Geraldsen knows, has been going on in Ravena for 40 years or more.
“We love the game and love meeting everyone on Thanksgiving. It’s always a great gathering,” he said. “I love it — it’s nice to see everyone and to see the next generation, players who are now bringing their kids to play. It’s just awesome.”
His son, Keith Geraldsen Jr., joined his father on the makeshift football field.
“I started at 18 after I graduated and I’m 34 now,” Geraldsen Jr. said. “I play because my dad plays — we love it, it’s amazing. It’s great to see everybody, especially since a lot of people have moved away, but here we get to all be together at one time and see everyone.”
Evan Bullis, a graduate with the RCS Class of 2009, was on the Indians football team during his high school days.
“This is basically a football reunion every year,” Bullis said. “It’s the one time you can count on seeing everybody and it’s a lot of fun.”
With family and friends cheering from the sidelines, there were no helmets and no pads, just a bunch of guys having fun.
Michael Allen, the new president of Ravena Pop Warner who played semi-professional football with the Albany Metro Mallers, said the event is good for the community and gets the blood pumping, especially for the so-called “old guys.”
“We are older but we are still trying to be young at heart — that is the most important thing,” Allen said with a smile. “I think the community needs this. The people need to rally around each other. It’s about camaraderie and brotherhood, and the young kids get to see the old boys play.”
By Russell Gloor
For Capital Region Independent Media
Hypothetically, if I plan to sign up for Social Security at 70 and pass away before that, I will get nothing. My spouse would still get a boost in the amount she receives because I made more, but everything I put into the program vanishes.
I haven’t reached my full retirement age yet and I still have income, but if I sign up now at 63 my benefits will be withheld due to my income. Then at full retirement age (presuming I elected to claim earlier), a re-calculation will take place and my monthly amount would be adjusted.
Well, what happens if I decide to wait until 70 but pass away before I claim? Are my contributions repaid in a lump sum, or will I (or someone else) still lose everything?
Signed: Uncertain About My Future
You are correct that if you pass away before collecting your earned Social Security benefits you won’t personally get anything. Social Security has, since inception, been a “pay as you go” program where those currently working and contributing to Social Security pay benefits for those currently receiving Social Security.
That means that if you die before collecting, the monies you contributed will have already been used to pay other recipients, but the contributions you made may still entitle your dependents to benefits on your record.
For those who are in their early 60s, average longevity is mid-80s, meaning your spouse would likely collect benefits on your record for more than two decades, any minor children could collect until they are adults, and any permanently disabled child you may have would get benefits from your record for the rest of their life as well.
The Social Security payroll taxes you contributed were not put into a private account in your name. And, on average, it is to the beneficiary’s advantage the program doesn’t work that way because that personal account would be depleted fairly quickly after you claim — rather than getting benefits for the rest of your life, you’d only get benefits (plus interest) from your personal account, which would run dry pretty fast.
FYI, we have researched this very carefully and found that, on average, all payroll taxes contributed to Social Security by an individual will be recovered within about five years of starting benefits. The actual length of time to recoup one’s contributions varies somewhat depending on lifetime earnings and contributions made, but lower-earning beneficiaries will recover everything contributed through payroll taxes within about three years, while it could take as much as five years for higher earners to get back everything they’ve paid into the program.
And for clarity, since self-employed individuals pay both the employee and employer portion of the payroll tax, it does take longer for those who own their own business to recoup what they’ve contributed.
Nevertheless, on average, most who claim benefits will get considerably more from the program than they paid in Social Security payroll taxes.
As to your specific question, if you die before collecting, the contributions you made weren’t deposited in a personal account for you and won’t be paid out in a lump sum. Rather, the payroll taxes you paid while working were used to pay benefits to beneficiaries receiving at the time, and those working and contributing after you die will fund the benefits paid to your spouse or disabled adult child until they die, or to your minor children until they are adults.
The Social Security benefits you earned aren’t just for you — your eligible dependents will also benefit from your record.
This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website (amacfoundation.org/programs/social-security-advisory) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.