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Team Spirit on skis

"It gave us someplace to get together," DeLarma said. "The team is really family oriented. It's pretty special."

DeLarma's sons fell so in love with water skiing that both went on to perform for Ski World. Meanwhile, he's stayed involved with the team even now that his kids are grown. He used to drive one of the team's boats during the show; these days, it's common to find him helping on shore, dropping ropes into the water and picking up skis after skiers return to shore.

DeLarma's presence underscores the fact that there's a lot of work that goes into each show. "It's kind of like a second job," said Christine Palleschi, the president of the team.

But there's no pay for being part of the ski team. In fact, everyone on the team pays dues to belong. They also chip in with chores like making costumes and choreographing shows, each of which adheres to a theme. On a recent Tuesday night, some male skiers were called the New York Giants, while female members of the team who were skiing in a pyramid formation were hailed as the Giants' cheerleaders.

The work doesn't stop when the shows stop. DeLarma said the team is a 12-month commitment. Palleschi said off-season work includes raising money and finding sponsors. There are also practice sessions in local indoor pools.

Palleschi, a Scotia native, was about 12 when she first saw the ski team in action. She had grown up water skiing, but like DeLarma, she'd never tried anything like what the ski team was doing. She remembers seeing her first show: "I was amazed," she said.

But before long, it was Palleschi performing those same kinds of tricks. "It was so long ago, but I know I was scared out of my mind to try that stuff," she said with a laugh.

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