2011-04-22 / Letters

Great American Day

Dear Editor,

Opening Day is a great American tradition. Last Saturday, other American traditions (generosity, hard work, community) were out in full force and Rockaway Little League would like to express its gratitude to all involved.

As most people know, a Federal government shutdown could have closed Fort Tilden and canceled Opening Day for our 800 children. In the League’s time of need, Aviator Sports stepped up and offered us space at their facility for free. Our vendors (nykidstime, DJs at Work and Bassett Catering) showed flexibility. A gaggle of volunteers sprang into action to prepare generators, furniture and equipment for transit across the bridge. Congressman Weiner’s office pressed Gateway for alternatives.

Fortunately, we were able to celebrate Opening Day at our Fort Tilden home. Parents and children (and even some pets) brought the joy of Opening Day to Fort Tilden. Two of our most trusted public servants contributed to our celebration: Audrey Pheffer, who is never MIA when the League is in need, and Anthony Weiner, who is fighting the good fight with the National Park Service to secure our place in Fort Tilden for the foreseeable future. Congressman Weiner flew in from DC on virtually no sleep to join us.

Many local notables also joined us to celebrate the very special athletes in our Challenger Division. Once again the spirit of the Challenger game was a bright light for our League and the Rockaway community. Some of these same people – and dozens of other local citizens and merchants – donated raffle prizes, enabling RLL to afford the day’s rides and activities. The RIBS in particular were especially generous.

None of this would have been possible without the tireless dedication of our Opening Day Committee: Rose Resker, Joe Braskey, Nancy Cregan, Rory Efron, Randy Koenig, Maureen Powderly, Kelly Schmitt, Robby Schwach, Kelly Watters and Robin Zweifler. These volunteers worked for weeks to give our players and their families a memorable kickoff to the 2011 season. They turned on a dime and poured in hundreds of more hours to set up contingency plans for the shutdown scenario. And on Opening Day, they delivered the goods for our community. We are very proud of our team and very thankful to all the players, parents, neighbors, vendors, politicians and civil servants who made Opening Day 2011 a great American experience.

PAUL KING

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