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LSA...Providing Summer Memories

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

During that first summer I watched the girls swim the seemingly endless laps under the direction of Coach Connie Schenck. She was a feisty woman with a very contagious laugh. She would walk back and forth on the deck with her floppy white hat and yell at anyone who tried to hang on the wall. She, with the help of older swimmers, taught the children how to dive, flip turn and cheer. My girls never missed a morning workout. Then after practice we would stay at the pool where the girls played with their team mates while I chased the baby around the kiddy pool until 5:30 p.m., the time when the pool was open to only adults except on team practice nights.

There were four meets that summer: Tri-Pool, Tri-Sectional, Novice and Championship. We put a hold on our trips to the lake, so that we could be there for each competition, even though our daughters did not qualify to swim at the Tri Meets. My husband, Joe, volunteered to be a timer. I sat with the kids in the bleachers and cheered. By championship, when we had to dry everyone’s towels in the laundromat because of a cloudburst and take turns at salvaging their sodden lunches, we were hooked. We couldn’t wait for the next summer.

The next year I began to help as an assistant coach and my three year old played along the wall of the swim lane. At meets Joe was given the job of lining up the swimmers for each event in the “bull pen” and sending them down “the shoot.” His 11 years as a Marine had fully prepared him for the task. The following year I assumed the position of head coach. Thus I began the best 10 summers of my life.

Meeting the swimmers at Parkway every morning was a great way to begin a summer day. I admired the spirit and determination of each child who struggled to improve. The swimmers were always so focused and enthusiastic. They were so kind and helpful to each other and to me. Each week we could see such improvement in skill and spirit. And, we all looked forward to Championships!

During those summers so many friendships were forged between swimmers and adults alike. We developed a healthy rivalry with Carman Avenue and even stole Coach Heaney’s mascot, Larry La Rock. We drove to each of the pools in the early morning and trimmed their fences with red and white streamers(our colors). We created cheers and practiced them on rainy days. We had scrimmage meets, spaghetti dinners and evening beach barbecues and enjoyed a wonderful awards evening in Levittown Hall at the end of the season. We established the tradition of collecting a bottle of Parkway water that was stored by the youngest member of the team, who would pour it into Jerusalem Pool at Championships for good luck.

Recently I have been meeting some of the former Parkway swimmers and parents. We are always remembering the fun days! We recall the names of people who volunteered time to make the days special for all the children: John Schuff, Betty White, the Epsteins, Joan Ednie, Dee Becker, Pat Fried, Ross Zennick Harry Kozak, Rose Marie Walker and many others from Parkway. We also recall the spirit of Ed Moody, the mentally challenged man who became a beloved honorary member of our team. We still laugh about the banner he led the children in signing on a sheet he had stolen from a dryer in the Laundromat and his swim on the Parkway Coaches relay that always started with a push by Joe because he was afraid to jump into the water.

My relationship with LSA led to many things. My children all pursued swimming as a sport, winning national meets and receiving swimming scholarships. Like so many of the participants, they contributed to the success of their high school teams and became lifeguards. And, some of the former LSA swimmers actually coach teams of their own. All of them, I believe, have wonderful memories of those summers. Best of all they learned valuable lessons about friendship, loyalty and working for a dream. And, of course, they learned about respect and sportsmanship.

It is good to see that LSA is still offering the young children of our area an opportunity to join an organization that will help them learn to be good swimmers and competitors and will provide them with wonderful memories of their childhood summers.

News

Levittown Hall in Hicksville comes alive every Thursday night with music, dance, fun and laughter as students are swept away into the world of Latin dance.

Under the instruction of professional teacher Mark James, dance hopefuls learn a trio of Latin dance, including salsa, meringue and what James describes as the biggest craze in Latin dancing today, bachata.

 book shops in Hicksville and around the country will hand out free comics on Oct. 25, to celebrate the second biggest free comic book event of the year—Halloween ComicFest. On Saturday, anyone who goes into a participating comic shop can choose from 19 free comics and participate in fun activities comic shops host for their customers to enjoy, while discovering new types of comics and the treasures found in store.

In Hicksville, both Game Master Games (954 S. Broadway) and Amok Time (108C New South Road) will be taking part in the Halloween ComicFest festivities. Game Master Games just recently started carrying comic books and this will be the store’s first comic book-related event. Coincidently, the event runs in the middle of an in-store gaming convention, and store owner Dave VanderWerf is looking forward to the increased exposure for the store.


Sports

The Hicksville girls volleyball team improved to 7-1 by knocking off Oceanside in three consecutive sets by scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.

Emily Markakis played terrificly, using a powerful serve to record three aces, seven kills and added nine digs. Nikki Chase added six kills and eight digs. Additionally, Raeann Dong was versatile—recording three aces, seven kills and nine digs.

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com