This past Sunday, I had the pleasure to participate in this year's Farmingdale Baseball League (FBLI) Opening Day Parade. The parade marks the opening of their 55th year of providing baseball and softball programs to our community. The beautiful, warm, sunny day provided the perfect backdrop for the event. As I watched the ballplayers of all ages gather, I could not help but think of how fortunate we are to have the dedicated volunteers from FBLI to not only administer to this tremendous program, but also to make the extra effort to put on this parade so our children can enjoy a special rite of passage - the beginning of the baseball season.
I also could not help but notice the other dedicated volunteer organizations, many of which I have written about in past columns. As I watched the apparatus pull up from all our local fire departments, the auxiliary police start blocking off the side streets and our local color guard from the Cub Scouts assemble, I felt a great deal of pride to be part of this community. While I was invited to march up front with the other elected officials, I choose to march with my son, Harrison's team, which I am helping to coach. It gave me a very different perspective marching with the players, coaches and managers. I have said in the past that while the village is its own municipality, it is one of the several communities of the area served by our school district. It was great to see our neighbors from North Massapequa, South and East Farmingdale, and Massapequa Park and Amityville all enjoying the start of our baseball season.
The parade ended at Allen Park, a beautiful Town of Oyster Bay Park, where I did join my elected colleagues on the Town Showmobile. Thanks to FBLI President Tom Sabellico, we were asked to stop and think about some other special people and volunteers - the members of our armed forces serving our country overseas - in his words, "boys and girls who played ball on the fields of Long Island and who are now serving our country abroad to help guarantee freedom." Listening to the bagpipers playing God Bless America sent chills through my body. The wonderful day ended with the traditional first ball(s) being thrown out, the balloons being launched and the two words we have been waiting for all winter to be called out- Play Ball!