Team Deuce/Sorrentino’s Gem Jermaine Sanders Shines
Nowadays, one cannot pick up a newspaper, daily or community, without headlines (along with several pages) jumping out at us, sounding the alarm of violence being committed by our youth. One would think that all youth are to be feared and avoided. If Rip Van Winkle and his children woke up today, visited Far Rockaway, picked up a newspaper, they would be scared to venture outside for fear of being pounced upon and beaten to within an inch of their lives. Many of you reading this article, no doubt guilty of tunnel vision, can restrain yourselves with your pronouncement of “That’s life on the Rock.”
There are those of us who refuse to buy into the fear mongering depicted by the local dailies and the weekly community newspapers.
We know that there are gems amongst us, waiting to shine for the entire world to see and appreciate. Those of us working with our youth must advocate on their behalf with the powers that be, which are guilty of sounding false alarms that our community has gone mad.
We must show all, our youth are doing positive and extraordinary things. It is up to us to highlight events and activities where young people have taken the lead to improve their and the community’s lot.
On that note, double kudos go out to the Daily News (Sunday, May 2, 2010) for highlighting its Five Boroughs All Star Basketball Teams and its All City Basketball Team on Sunday, April 25, 2010. Jermaine “Nuch” Sanders, Jr. of Rice High, from Far Rockaway, made Second Team All City and First Team All Manhattan County and MVP for the CHSAA Championship Tournament.
“Nuch” honed his skills from an early age in the parking lot between Augustina and Central Avenues; where he moved on to the IS 53 basketball court, and the Sorrentino Center where he played on the house teams in age groups; 10 and under, 12 and under, 14 and under, 16 and under and 18 and under. During this time, his parents signed him up for Team Next and then New Heights AAU basketball teams. Whenever there is a lull in his schedule from his AAU and high school teams, he returns to the Sorrentino Center and plays for Team Deuce/Sorrentino, as well as interacting with younger players and passing along techniques learned in the various venues in which he participates.
Sanders has a strong family and extended family support mechanism in place. His staunchest supporters are his father and mother (Jermain Sr. and Lisa), his younger brother (Jaquan), his grandmother, his aunts, uncles, Augustina and Central family, the Sorrentino family, Deuce from Team Deuce/Sorrentino and his New Heights family.
A long day for Sanders commences at 5:00 a.m. After getting dressed and finishing his homework from the previous day, he boards the “A” train for his long ride to Harlem, where he attends Rice High School. After a hard day of studying (during the basketball season), he puts in several hours of practice, and then boards the “A” train back to the Rock.
Between his classes, practice and his commute home, Sanders studies, to maintain his average (something his parents insist on) to ensure he takes advantage of the many scholarship offers from Big East, Big 12 and ACC schools, to name a few chomping at the bit for him to attend their colleges and universities.
This article is highlighting Nuch while at the same time dispelling the myth that Rockaway youth are off the hook, to be feared and avoided at all cost. Nothing is further from the truth.
There are plenty of Nuchs on the Rockaway peninsula. It is time for us to unearth our precious gems for all to see; considering most people are too busy believing and adhering to the Paul Revere-like call throughout the village, “Lock your doors, batten down the hatches, pull out your musket, they are coming.”
Please know violence and mayhem sell papers, get politicians elected, and divide us. By no means are we saying that there is no violence in ours or any other community.
It is up to those of us who work on the ground floor with youngsters, to encourage the media to be fair and also publish positive activities being undertaken by our youth.
Better still, it is incumbent upon us to provide positive activities to the media (both electronic and print) to be published.
A job well done, Jermaine “Nuch” Sanders Jr. and keep on keeping on!!!
Young people, there are activities to partake of on the Rockaway peninsula; the Sorrentino Center, Open Gym Night at Church of God Christian Academy, Team Deuce/Sorrentino, PAL, the Action Center, Beacon 43 and Goldie Maple, and NYCHA Centers, to name but a few.
To the media, we request that you show equity in your reporting. Here is but one example, Jermaine “Nuch” Sanders Jr.