Written by Rick Karas Friday, 20 July 2012 00:00
It’s Elmont’s finest hour, and it takes the efforts of the best officials, athletes, and volunteers the town has to offer. The Senator Jack Martins Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament was held at the Dutch Broadway School on Saturday, July 14. Now in its ninth year, the event instills a sense of community spirit, with some exciting hoops action thrown in.
Indeed, basketball is at the heart of the event. Players from fifth-grade and up take each other on in a series of 3-on-3 games, sponsored by various local officials. Winners received everything from Yankee and JetBlue tickets, even diamond watches.
“Whether you win or lose, no matter what position you’re in today, the bottom line is at the end of the day, we really win as a community,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, sponsor of this year’s 11th and 12th grade division.
Scott Cushing is truly the driving force behind the event each year. Cushing was chief of staff for Assemblyman Tom Alfano, and says it all started as a way to enjoy the newly renovated courts at Dutch Broadway.
“This is a place where so many kids congregate and play every single day, [so] we wanted to do a fun day for them,” Cushing said.
It’s also a day to remember David Dangerfield. The former New York City firefighter and 9/11 first responder was extremely active in education and youth sports in Elmont. The tournament has been named for him in past years, and family members came up from Florida just to take part in this year’s festivities.
“Elmont, this is our first home,” insists David Dangerfield, Jr. “I appreciate all the sponsors, I appreciate everyone that comes out and makes it a fun event and a family event.”
Senator Martins is the sponsor of this year’s event, and he is especially proud of one of the tournaments highlights, the game between the stars of Elmont High, and the best the Henry Viscardi School has to offer.
In the ultimate sign of athletic solidarity, Elmont athletes play the game in wheelchairs, just like their Viscardi counterparts must do all the time.
“It gives everyone a little perspective,” Martins said. “When you see the kids from Viscardi here play their hearts out, anything’s possible.”
Beyond basketball, the event has grown through the years. Corporate sponsors provide food and equipment, football and soccer clinics were held as well as a slam-dunk contest, celebrity appearances like former Knicks star John Starks. There’s even rock climbing and other activities organized by representatives of the Armed Forces.
It is truly a highlight of the Elmont calendar, made possible by the hundreds of volunteers that donate their time to help plan the event, pretty much from the day after the previous year’s event ends. Scott Cushing sums up those efforts, and really, the entire event as a whole: “You can do anything you want to if you put your mind to it.”