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Team Spirit on skis

Morgan Eserti really can't remember a time when she wasn't part of the U.S. Water Ski Show Team.

Her family dad Bob, mom Lisa and sister Jackie have been involved with the team for years, so some of Eserti's earliest memories involve the team that regularly performs behind Jumpin' Jack's in Scotia.

"I've pretty much been on it my whole life," said Eserti, a 14-year-old from Burnt Hills.

Eserti's story is similar to many of the other skiers'. In fact, when the people on the team talk about how it's like a big family, that's in no small part because many of the members are family in the literal sense. The crowds they draw to Jumpin' Jack's are also heavy on families, who turn out on Tuesdays to see the show that is a staple of summer. The last show of 2009 is Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 6 p.m. It's always a good idea to arrive early -- the hundreds of people who turn out often make a night of it, grabbing dinner from Jumpin' Jack's and then settling in on the banks of the Mohawk River to watch the show.

Eserti's friends are often among those in the crowd.

"They think it's really cool," she said. "They don't know how I do it."

That's because the team does far more than just ski behind boats. Women ski in pyramid formations. Men do jumps. Skiers of both sexes and all ages ski backwards, barefoot and with partners.

Roy DeLarma grew up water skiing on Sacandaga Lake, but he never tried anything like that. When his kids were 12 or 13, he brought them to Scotia to see the water ski team, and the show blew them all away.

"They were just as excited as I was," DeLarma said.

So, soon DeLarma and his wife, Sandra, joined the team with their kids: sons Michael and Brian and daughter Michelle.

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