2013-03-15 / Sports

Little League Awards Breakfast Helps Turn Page On 2012

“Rockaway Rising” was on full display on Sunday, February 24th, as more than 450 people participated in Rockaway Little League’s “2012” Awards Breakfast at El Caribe.

With so many families still displaced, the Little League was not confident they would reach the threshold of 300 people at the event, which had been postponed from last November due to Sandy.

Approximately 150 tickets were sold in the final week. The tremendous turnout bodes well for the coming season, Rockaway Little League’s 60th. (Online registration is available at www.rockawaylittleleagueny.com.)

Senator Charles Schumer was Little League’s primary honoree. Senator Schumer was awarded the Key to Rockaway Little League for his contributions to and protection of the organization over the last 20 years.

The League also honored El Caribe owner Phil Kelly, RLL Board member Paul King and the not-for-profit organization Pitch In For Baseball (PIFB).

Senator Schumer’s acceptance speech was especially entertaining and enlightening. He reflected on his days growing up in Brooklyn where he and his teammates had to clean glass off the fields prior to games. Schumer also shared a cherished boyhood memory: He kissed Frank Torre’s World Series ring.

In non-sports issues, the audience was enthused by the Senator’s explanation of the $60 billion relief bill that he authored and was passed by Congress in January. According to Schumer, the legislation will provide funding so that Rockaway homeowners can fill the gap between what insurance provides and the true cost of restoration. Money is also allocated for mitigation that the homeowner may choose to perform, such as raising a house off its slab.

The Senator also stated that the legislation was written to give homeowners and local authorities flexibility in how to spend the money. Still, he promised to work hard to make sure city and state agencies do not add layers of bureaucracy for homeowners to fight through.

Phil Kelly was honored for his ongoing generosity to Little League as well as his fundraising success.

Paul King was awarded a plaque in recognition of the work he and his committee members (Ellen Mc- Carthy, Kerry Price and Stacey Haggerty) invested during the lease negotiations with Gateway.

David Rhode, Tom Schoenfelder and Arthur Pincus from PIFB were thanked for their efforts to secure replacement equipment for Rockaway Little League and nine other baseball programs that were struck by Sandy.

After the Awards Breakfast, RLL distributed equipment bags to families who lost equipment to the ocean or fire. This was the first distribution covering 45 families. It was made possible by PIFB and a team of Little League volunteers (Richie Mills, Rob Connolly, Laura Connolly, Darrin LaMantia, Tom Allcock and Stu Mackoff) who filled about 100 equipment bags in the rain on Saturday.

Another distribution is scheduled for Opening Day (April 20th). Families can still complete the lost equipment survey at www.odgroup.com/rockaway-littleleague/sandy. RLL and PIFB will make their best efforts to get a new glove, bat, baseball and gently used cleats to each child who needs gear.

To donate to PIFB, go to their website or send a text to 80088. Say “Give Gloves” and the donation dollar amount.

Of course the real stars of the Awards Breakfast were the boys and girls themselves. Players from about 30 teams received trophies. Trophies were handed out for first, second and–in some divisions– third place finishes. Every team gave out four individual honors, e.g. MVP and Sportsmanship. (The younger, non-competitive divisions do not participate in the Awards Breakfast.)

Little League also celebrated its 10U travel team which won the District 27 championship last year. The champs are coached by Jamie Agoglia, Kamin Green and Marty McManus.

The entire event ran smoothly thanks to the tireless work of Little League’s Awards Breakfast committee: Stu Mackoff, Justin Berman, Rose Resker, Robby Schwach, Kamin Green, Robin Zweifler, Rob Rose and Tom Conaghan. In addition to food and awards, the day featured merchandise sales and raffles for an iPad2 –donated by Paulette and Keith Brown– and a giant stand-up board –donated by Kelley Brooke of The H2O Generation.

For the second year in a row, Robby Schwach was the emcee. After the Pledge of Allegiance, Robby started the program with a moment of silence for our friends and neighbors who lost their lives as a result of Superstorm Sandy. He also asked the Rockaway crowd to pray for all those who came from around the country to help us in our time of need.

HAPPY RECAPS: Rockaway Little League was pleased that loyal supporter and team sponsor Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder could attend and address the families. Phil cannot make Opening Day each year because it falls on a Saturday...The Board would also like to thank Jamaica Bay Supervisor Dave Taft and Gateway for agreeing to push up its date for reopening the northeast corner of Fort Tilden. Gateway accelerated its schedule to accommodate our annual Opening Day celebration on April 20th...Nothing hits the spot after a cold afternoon of filling equipment bags in the rain like a hot sausage and pepper hero from El Caribe. Thanks Phil!

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