2009-03-20 / Sports

Special Olympians/ Rockaway Beach Special Athletes Go Traveling

Olympians Have Fun Playing Basketball And Various Activities
By Joe Featherston

The Special Olympians/Rockaway Beach Special Athletes recently participated in three wonderful events.

First, they played an intrasquad basketball game on the famed Fordham University court at halftime of the Fordham-Xavier University Atlantic 10 matchup. Tommy Ryan led his "green" team with an assortment of inside power moves that led to ten points. Joe Orban, Heather Huber and Jeffrey Resnick also scored, while Leanise Salas and Nicole Figueroa were the playmakers.

Kevin Reilly and Kirsten Mc Mahon led the "white" team in scoring with four points each. Also scoring were Paul Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth Sena and Terence Burke, who hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Perhaps the proudest player of all was Emily Hutton who scored her first ever basket on such a big stage. Also happy were our kindergarten and first grade "assistant coaches" Annie Burns, Sean Peter Mullen, Caitlen Mullin (whose dad Terence was there scouting for the Golden State Warriors), and Joseph Featherston.

The teams were coached by Jim McVeigh and Jay Burke, and the game was enjoyed by volunteer coaches Christine and Sean Parchment.

Much thanks go to Julio Diaz, the associate athletic director of Fordham, who orchestrated the event. After the game, the contingent went to Arthur Avenue for Italian pastas, pizza and pastries.

At the end of President's Week, 28 athletes and their families and coaches traveled to Windham Mountain's Adaptive Sports Foundation for Friday night tubing and two days of skiing.

In 1999, at the invitation of Flip Mullin who was a ski instructor with the Foundation, six Special Olympians learned to ski. This year, 28 athletes went skiing or snowshoeing, and the total party that traveled to Windham was approximately 120 people. Each athlete had his/her personal instructor and experienced a great thrill coming down confidently from the top of the summit. Our program is especially proud of Patrick Carroll, Terence Burke and Jennifer Romaro, who have graduated from the Foundation's "learn to ski" program and are now assistant instructors with the program.

An additional highlight of the weekend was the annual awards dinner on Saturday night that was held at the ski lodge. Windham Mountain Skiing Medals of Excellence were presented to Paul DeVincenzo, John DiBartolomeo, Danny Dory, Jeanne Farina, Nicole Figueroa, Paul Fitzpatrick, Jzahkya Ghyll, Mary Kate Gorry, Duane Granderson, Heather Huber, Emily Hutton, Salena Lanza, Kevin Manning, Alana McCarthy, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Kirsten McMahon, Timothy Mullally, Amanda Olinsky, Joseph Orban, Kevin Reilly, Jeffrey Resnick, Colette Rup. Leanise Salas, Nikolai Santiago and Elizabeth Sena.

Also receiving medals were many children of the Rockaway-Breezy community who accompany our Olympians every year to Windham and who partake in all the activities.

These included: Maggie and Camille Kelly; Aiden, Shaun and Matthew Smith; Sean Peter, Fiona and Brendan Mullen; Seamus, Hannah, Rory and Kennedy Kirk; Ronan and Jack Mullally; Khalib Lanza; Joseph Featherston; and Annie, Molly and Kathleen Burns.

Much thanks to the local residents who were instructors for the Foundation including: Jim McVeigh, Maryellin Carroll, Jay Burke, Eric Heym, Rocky Dorogoff, Flip Mullin and Adam Smith.

Big thanks to Rita Mullin for her "behind the scenes" overall organization of the Windham activities, to Christine Parchment for all the paperwork organization before the weekend, and to Danielle Tesoriero for getting the skiing medals.

The athletes then returned home for their regular Monday night activities at the St. Camillus gym for a special treat; Bernadette and Tim Mahoney and John McCormack gave them dance instruction in the Irish Waltz in preparation for the St. Camillus St. Patrick's Dance.

Twenty four athletes attended the dance including: Tyrei Duncan, Adrian Fareri, Timothy Malone, Amanda Seward, Patrick Tritschler and Kurt Wagner. Also there were volunteer coaches Kathy Clarke, Russell Hauk and Rose Gurry. Father Ahlemeyer was a gracious host.

As always, the Olympian athletes, their parents and their coaches are all gratefully indebted to the Rockaway- Breezy community that supports them so generously and allows them to participate in all these activities.

A special thanks goes to Joe Keenan, who does the "legal book work" for the group.

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