2002-06-01 / Sports

Weed-N-Seed/PAL Rock B-Ball Tourney

By Greg Carter

By Greg Carter

The biggest basketball league on the Rockaway Peninsula will take place this summer. The federally operated Weed-N-Seed/PAL program will join with others from the Rockaways to bring unity and a better sense of building and development for all through youth sports. The Weed-N-Seed initiative is one that is mandated to bring a beacon o flight and recreational growth to the targeted areas of Edgemere/Arverne and the 41 Street areas of the Rockaways.

Leading the program will be a number of Rockaways’ finest. The Weed-N-Seed/PAL program includes the NYPD and the USDA. We are most proud of is that Rockaway’s greatest basketball star, Mel Utley, will be the director of the basketball program. Mel was a former Daily News All-City star for Far Rockaway High School from 1970-71. He attended St. John’s University after being recruited by over 200 colleges. After an All-American career at St. John’s, the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Utley in 1974 before an injury cut short his career.

Mel Utley knows basketball and the youth of the Rockaways will greatly benefit from it. Mel will be the point man heading up the Weed-N-Seed/PAL Rock Tourney. Draft/Registration will be on Saturday, June 15 at 3 p.m. from Arverne Park, which is located between 54th and 55th Street.

What Mel would like everyone to understand is that for over two decades, the Rockaway community, especially our two local public high schools, have basically dropped the taxpayers ball. Not only have either high school not produced a major division 1 student/athlete scholarship in decades, most of our young student/athletes do not have a sense of self. Utley says that student /athletes are killing themselves one way or another and this program will do what our high schools have not done. He has said that he wants to create a sense of community by using sports throughout all of the Rockaways

On Saturday, June 15, we will hold a draft/registration. We will have three divisions: Boys/Girls, 11-13 years old, 14-16 years old and 17-19 years old. We will have separate girls and boys divisions. We strongly suggest that parents of the children or volunteers, who would like to be involved with the program, please come on the registration date. For further information, contact 718-327-6998 after 8 p.m.

Special thanks must go to Director of PAL Centers Mr. Mike Muzio and also to NYPD police officer and Weed-N-Seed co-manager Mrs. Mary Kranebachner. There will be a feature about the program on the show Utley’s Corner, which will be on Time Warner QPTV, Channel 34 and 35 in the near future.

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