2011-04-15 / Community

Aviator Sports Threw Lifeline To Rockaway Little League

Offered Facility In Case Fort Tilden Closed
By Howard Schwach


Aviator Sports Complex at Floyd Bennett Field. Aviator Sports Complex at Floyd Bennett Field. With a national deadline looming that could have shuttered all of our national parks, including Gateway National Recreation Area, and its component park, Fort Tilden, the Rockaway Little League faced a problem of epic proportions.

For its opening day ceremonies, it had contracted for catered food, entertainment and several rides for young children.

The organization had a big party planned for its 850 players of all ages and their accompanying relatives, and, had the government shutdown come to fruition, the little league would have had the amenities without a place to put them. All of the national parks were to be closed and locked as being “nonessential federal services.”

For more than 15 years, the Rockaway Little League Baseball organization has held its annual parade and opening day celebration at Fort Tilden, at the Gateway National Park (part of the National Parks Service).


The Little League parade was held at Fort Tilden on Saturday morning. The Little League parade was held at Fort Tilden on Saturday morning. The league’s volunteer officers worked long into the night on Thursday and Friday to come up with a solution.

They found the solution in the guise of Kevin McCabe, the owner of Aviator Sports at Floyd Bennett Field, right over the Marine Parkway Bridge from the west end of Rockaway.

McCabe looked at the problem and offered the little league all of Aviator’s resources and playing fields.

“Since food had been ordered and vendors paid, postponing the event would have come at a huge cost to the volun- teer-run organization,” McCabe, the founding partner of Aviator Sports and Events Center, told The Wave. “So, it seemed the right thing to do to offer the organization free use of the land outside the sports complex. All of the vendors are on hold until the announcement at midnight on Friday. If Fort Tilden is unavailable, all trucks will head to the Aviator at Floyd Bennett Field to set-up the fields, rides and food for the festivities.”

“The Rockaway community has been very supportive of Aviator and it is our pleasure to come through for them in this time of need,” said McCabe. “We welcome the Rockaway Little League Baseball board members, city officials, players, coaches and family members to Aviator to continue this long-standing tradition.”

As it turned out, Congress made an eleventh-hour deal to keep the government up and running, and the little league held its Saturday morning opening ceremonies at its Fort Tilden venue.

That does not mean they were not beholden to McCabe and Aviator Sports.

“We really are glad that Fort Tilden became available at the last minute,” one of the officials said just before the opening parade on Saturday morning. “Had Fort Tilden closed, these kids and their parents would not have been disappointed thanks to McCabe and Aviator. What he did is really what community is all about.”

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