2001-05-26 / Sports

Far Rockaway Sports Has Bright Future

Far Rockaway Sports Has Bright Future

By Emanuel Jalonschi

Last week, we took a look at the Broad Channel Athletic Club and their contribution to our community through youth athletics. We talked to president Margaret Wagner and she shared with us her goals and accomplishments at the Athletic Club.

This week, we cross the bridge over to the peninsula and have a gander at one of Far Rockaway’s biggest athletic contributors, the RSA and its president Mr. Greg Carter.

The RSA (Rockaway Sports Association) has been operating for ten years. It was founded, and is still currently being run, by Far Rockaway alumni Greg Carter.

The RSA started with football; with a team called the Far Rockaway Panthers. Then they went on to girls softball, flag football, tennis and lacrosse.

"My goal, and the RSA’s goal, is the same as it’s always been -- the goal I started with -- and that is to create scholarship opportunities for the student-athletes of the peninsula."

That they’ve done. One can look at past athletes like Michael Richardson (who went on to play at Howard University) and Alex Benjamin (who graduated from Cornell).

"Another one of our up and comers is [lacrosse star and former Wave Athlete of the Week] Luis Lopez. He has aspirations of going to the United States Air Force Academy. Why? Because he saw them play at West Point."

Pointing to the very meager efforts of the two local high schools at getting kids scholarships and at the middle schools for having practically no interscholastic athletics activities, he illustrates his point about the RSA coming about because there was a need for it. " The high schools, over the last 20 years, as high as our standards used to be, have failed at obtaining scholarships. Seriously now, name a kid from our programs that have to a big name school over the last two decades. Who were the last two kids to make all-city lately? Chris Howard, a quarterback for Far Rockaway, and Michael Cooper, a wide receiver who went on to play for Umass."

Mr. Carter definitely sees a connection between sports and interest in schoolwork and other productive activities. "Those two men are now productive citizens in their communities. Those two young men are perfect examples."

"If we had one [athlete] per year just from the football programs of each school get a scholarship, that’s 40 local scholarships over the last 20 years!"

Always a man of action, Mr. Carter is already working on a plan to alleviate the situation on the peninsula. Besides his involvement with the RSA, outside tennis programs and working with State Senator Malcolm Smith on a plan to get more scholastic participation in sports, Mr. Carter is also working in conjunction with the Wave Sports Editor and other political personalities at getting the local high school programs stronger than ever.

"We’re going to start passing around a note to reach out to the Principals and Athletics Directors of the local high schools [as well as John Lee, Superintendent of Queens High Schools] and we’re going to try to find a way to instill community support for the local high school sports. There should be no way that Beach Channel is playing Far Rockaway at anything and the bleachers aren’t filled."

Greg Carter and as he put it "a whole score of parents and volunteers", have truly put in a lot of hard work over the last ten years in hopes of getting more and more community involvement in youth athletics and recreation. He is especially grateful to Carolyn Leigh, J.Kelly, Eric Copeland and the lat Rosemarie Dimieri.

He’s got high hopes for the peninsuala. "Far Rock is really a local town." The RSA helps make it so.

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