An Interview With Margaret Wagner
An Interview With Margaret Wagner
By Emanuel Jalonschi
Far too often, the sports pages of newspapers honor just the athletes. For a change, this week we honor Margaret Wagner and every parent/coach/administrator that sacrifices so much for the sake of our community’s youth. So here’s to you, our "Athletes of the Week."
It all started approximately thirteen years ago for Margaret Wagner. It was 1988 and she was just starting to get involved in an eight-member group called the B.C.A.C.
Fast forward to 2001 and she’s a husband, three kids and a lifetime removed from her roots. She’s also president of the B.C.A.C.
"When I started there were no sports programs for girls…now we have swimming, softball, basketball, hockey and cheerleading."
Truly, the B.C.A.C. has come a long way. Margaret started as the swimming coach for the A.C. "I set this goal…’if I do have a girl, she’ll have a home team to swim for’." Under her watch, the team went from around 20 girls to over 100 now.
Early on in her B.C.A.C. career she became treasurer. "The B.C.A.C. had to be treated like a business if it was going to succeed." During her time as treasurer, coach, member and member of Board of Directors, she got to work under many presidents. This included former president Marty Feeney. "Marty was good for the club…he was a doer. If he had an idea, he wouldn’t just talk about it -- he’d do it…we were a good team."
She inherited a strong and up-and-coming B.C.A.C. from Mr. Feeney who now runs the Jamaica Bay Little League.
Among the accomplishments of her tenure in the B.C.A.C. are included the beginning of football, baseball and hockey leagues. "The first year of B.C.A.C. hockey, our teams came home with championship trophies – three of them!"
The honeymoon, with its own complications, was soon over though. The B.C.A.C. got word that the parking lot outside of the football field they played in was being sold to "an outside organization." The parking lot is a critical part of the atmosphere at the football field and it is packed at every football game. "Well hold the presses, not as long as I’m involved were they going to sell off our parking lot. The people and businesses in our community have invested too much to lose our field and parking lot. They go together. What is a little league field without a parking lot? A danger zone!"
This is the prime issue for President Wagner and even she will admit that she gets a little "worked up" about it. "As president my goal is to finalize the sale of the football field and the parking lot between the New York City Department of Real Estate and the B.C.A.C."
With big issues such as the sale of the parking lot on her plate, Miss Wagner has to play the role of the balancing mom. She waited until her children got a little bit older because, "it’s tough being a mom and trying to be everywhere the B.C.A.C. needs you. I never want to short-change either." She also thanks her husband, who coaches within the AC for taking the kids to most of their games. "That helps me a lot."
So what’s the hardest part about being the B.C.A.C. president? "Taking criticism," responds president Wagner. "Most of us in the B.C.A.C. work and have children. We do our absolute best to make every program as good as we can." Her list of tasks includes actual physical labor on the fields and buildings they us. The AC members attend meetings, order uniforms and equipments, set up schedules, coach kids, set up award dinners, order trophies, organize parades, carnivals, dinners, sell 50-50’s, build field and hockey rink. Above all else they still have to deal with the paperwork. "After all this a parent can still say to me and say ‘I’m not happy with the BCAC’…I could just scream…if they only knew."
On the flip-side of the presidential coin is her favorite part of the whole ordeal. "My favorite part…is being able to say that I’m the first female president. I get a kick out of that."
Her thoughts and aspirations on the B.C.A.C. are quite lofty. "We do great things for the town’s children. We have a great group of people working together and if it weren’t for them I would not be in the position that I am in." She can list you over two dozen people she’s very grateful for in less than a snap of the finger.
Miss Wagner also sees the role the B.C.A.C. serves in the community. "The B.C.A.C. takes on a very active role in the community…we hold Broad Channel’s future. We are teaching our children to love and respect their community, to get involved, to make a difference and to keep this a wonderful safe community."
With the B.C.A.C. so full of dedicated members, Broad Channel looks to have a bright future.