St.Francis Summer Classic Is Back
St. Francis De Sales welcomes everyone back to the newly reopened Fr. Grogan Memorial Schoolyard as the 29th season of the Summer Classic continues. August will be filled with basketball action with games scheduled Monday through Friday to catch up for lost time.
The Summer Classic season appeared to be in jeopardy as the schoolyard deteriorated from damage from Sandy. The yard was a community lifeline following the storm, but was undermined by the flood waters and needed complete replacement, including the lighting system that was toppled by the winds and waters.
As spring approached, St. Francis pastor Msgr. John Brown met with Summer Classic Director Keith Goldberg, Terence Mullin, Marty McManus and Jim McCool to put together a restoration plan. McCool had coordinated a January event with the Graybeards, NBC, and the restaurant Resette that raised funds for Rockaway and Breezy Point, and selected the reconstruction project to be a primary recipient of funds.
This provided the impetus to go forth with the project with a goal of playing this year’s Summer Classic. Mullin then went into gear raising awareness through articles in The Tablet, The New York Post, New York Daily News, and the Wall Street Journal. This led to an association with the And 1 apparel company which pledged to provide uniforms and other financial support. The Sean Lugano and Rockefeller Foundations joined in as well. Goldberg solicited proposals for the various aspects of the construction project and essentially became Project Manager. After contractors were selected, an ambitious schedule was set.
Unfortunately, as most of us have experienced, delays occurred from unforeseen circumstances. While play for some divisions was able to proceed in the St. Francis gym, games scheduled in the schoolyard could not begin.
Once again, help arrived as Rita Mullally and Jennifer Bethea of Gateway N.R.A. provided the newly refurbished Riis Park courts, and Kevin Raphael and Dan Wiatre provided the gym at St. Edmund Prep so that games for the remaining divisions could begin. The construction continued and many thanks are due to Brian Cosgrove from the Diocese of Brooklyn for his assistance throughout this process as well as our new pastor, Fr. Thomas Doyle. Games in the schoolyard began on Tuesday on two courts and all four were ready for play on Wednesday. The result is spectacular.
While most divisions are just underway, some are already done or nearing completion. The Graybeards Legends and Young Guns divisions had their championships on Thursday, July 25th
Women’s Open playoffs are this Monday night with the championship scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night. The 2nd grade division has five total games left, while the Girls Grammar Senior and Girls High School divisions are halfway through. The Summer Classic set a record on Tuesday as seven games were played simultaneously at 7:00 p.m. with four at Riis Park, two in the schoolyard, and one in the gym.
Games continue Monday through Friday for the remainder of August, so come on down to check out the new schoolyard and the 29th St. Francis Summer Classic.