2005-07-15 / Sports

RSA NYC vs. Las Vegas 2005 Friendship Games

By Elio Velez


Rockaway Sports Association meets Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman. (pictured left to right): Mrs. Carolyn Leigh-Carter, Neil Santiago, Alese Obafemi, Coach Jared Barry, Mayor Oscar Goodman, Jimitri Lalanne, Michael Higgins and Jahvis Ferguson. Rockaway Sports Association meets Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman. (pictured left to right): Mrs. Carolyn Leigh-Carter, Neil Santiago, Alese Obafemi, Coach Jared Barry, Mayor Oscar Goodman, Jimitri Lalanne, Michael Higgins and Jahvis Ferguson. On July 1, 2005 Greg Carter, president of the Rockaway Sports Association, initiated the first annual NYC vs. Las Vegas Friendship Games ten day trip.

Although the 9 youth, along with the 4 chaperones, were looking forward to experiencing a 4 day cross country excursion by Amtrak and playing flag football and tennis with youngsters from Las Vegas, this trip provided a lot more.

The Rockaway Sports Association is greeted at City Hall by City Councilman Lawrence Weekly. (Pictured left to right): Mrs. Carolyn Leigh Carter, General Manager Selena Samuels, Jahvis Ferguson, Neil Santiago, Gilberto Martinez, Councilman Lawrence  Weekly of the Fifth Ward, Coach Jared Barry, Micahel Higgins, Alese OBafemi, Daquan Lowery and Jimitri Lalanne.The Rockaway Sports Association is greeted at City Hall by City Councilman Lawrence Weekly. (Pictured left to right): Mrs. Carolyn Leigh Carter, General Manager Selena Samuels, Jahvis Ferguson, Neil Santiago, Gilberto Martinez, Councilman Lawrence Weekly of the Fifth Ward, Coach Jared Barry, Micahel Higgins, Alese OBafemi, Daquan Lowery and Jimitri Lalanne. Upon arriving in Las Vegas we were pleasantly welcomed to the city as we checked into the fabulous El Cortez hotel which was only three blocks from Las Vegas City Hall. This initiated a gracious invitation to meet the mayor, the honorable Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, and all of the city council members.

The RSA youngsters received a grand tour of city hall, observed and were acknowledged during a council meeting, personally received official Las Vegas City Hall pins and commemorative souvenirs from Councilman Lawrence Weekly, and free movie passes.

As if this was not enough, Councilman Lawrence Weekly, along with Mr. Ricki Barlow, city council liaison, and Ms. Loretta Arrington, senior city council liaison, went above and beyond expectations to make our trip first rate. They personally escorted us to and from the Big Hart Football Camp.

This camp is the extraordinary vision of Edgerton Hartwell, linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons. The youngsters were invited to the camp in addition to receiving camp t-shirts, medals, jerseys, and even meeting other NFL players. Impressed and in awe, several participants expressed their desire to officially attend the camp next year.

Subsequently, two participants, Jahvis Ferguson and Gabriel Martinez, competed in tennis matches and received several days of professional tennis lessons from tennis pro Danny Buongiorno. The trip also included sightseeing in Chicago, Illinois, which enabled the youngsters to visit the world famous Sears Tower. All in all, with thoughts of hundreds of miles of countryside, desert, mountains, cattle fields, corn fields, 105 degree heat, and the bright lights and excitement of Las Vegas, everyone returned with bags of souvenirs, life changing memories and dreams of next year’s Friendship Games 2006.

The Rockaway Sports Association, the youngsters, staff, chaperones and parents would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone that helped to make this trip a success.

A special thanks to the following supporters of NYC vs Las Vegas Friendship Games 2005: Five Town’s Applebee’s Restaurant, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, West End Realty, Goody’s Restaurant, The Rockaway Rotary, Irish Ropes, Frank Gulluscio, Ridgewood Bank, Atlantic Service and Equipment., Breezy Point Engine Co. 329, Ralph Richardson, Kevin L. Pruitt, and Jeremiah C. Gaffney, Jr., Remax Peninsula Properties and Channel Drive Service Station.

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