Team Deuce/Sorrentino Tournament Honors Patrick Hernandez-Hayes
Saturday, December 20, was one of the coldest days of 2008. Over 150 youths and adults from all over the eastern end of the Rockaway peninsula came together to participate in or watch the Team Deuce/Sorrentino Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament.
The tournament, honoring the late Patrick Hernandez Hayes who was murdered on July 10, 2008, took place at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation's Sorrentino Recreation Center.
The carrot to get more than 59 youngsters, ages 14 and under, to participate in two 45-minute workshops for Conflict Resolution and Life Experience was the single elimination basketball tournament.
The purpose of the event was to address the violence prevalent on the Rockaway peninsula. The organizers, Team Deuce/Sorrentino, brought youngsters together from different neighborhoods to talk about ways to counter the growing epidemic that is spreading like wildfire.
The organizers wanted to enlist young people to express their views on what they saw as the reason their peers resort to violence. They believe youngsters can use other means to resolve their disagreements and conflicts as well as get them to buy into exploring alternatives to violence.
Before the basketball tournament, NYPD's Officer Jeff Thompson and Ms. Kathleen Bracken, Director of the NYC Commission on Human Rights - Community Service Center, facilitated the workshop on conflict resolution.
The participants were given strategies and scenarios to resolve conflicts; The youngsters were told to assume that they do not have all the answers, ask questions to understand the other person, be prepared to compromise or make a deal, keep their voice calm, look and feel relaxed, postpone and not repeat.
The Life Experience workshop dealt with the results when one does not use conflict resolution skills. Michael Hines and David Joseph from the Council for Unity talked about what happened to them when they did not use good judgment and were forced to pay the price for their actions.
The youngsters were attentive and participated in both workshops. And then it was game time. The tournament consisted of Hammel All-Stars, Sports All-Stars, G-Way All-Stars and Team Deuce/ Sorrentino.
After the basketball games, Team Deuce/Sorrentino staff recognized the family of Patrick Hernandez-Hayes, a youth murdered by another youth this past summer.
His mother was given a plaque and two dozen roses honoring Patrick posthumously. Isaiah Mc- Fadden, a youngster from G-Way that Patrick tutored and mentored, read a speech about his relationship and how Patrick is missed and loved by the many youth from their community.
Sorrentino's Youth Coordinator, Robert Lindo, spoke about Patrick in glowing terms as a youngster who went out of his way to help where needed, extend a helping hand to other youth and provide mentorship to several center youth.
The presentation left not a dry eye in the gym. Team Deuce/Sorrentino will work towards organizing a yearly Patrick Hernandez-Hayes Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament.
Stan Brown's World Champion Double Dutch team entertained the audience with their routine that won them the world championship at the Apollo in the first week of December 2008.
The Far Rockaway Weed and Seed Initiative and the law firm of Cooper, Paroff, Cooper and Cook of Kew Gardens, New York provided sponsorship.