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Obituary: Mike Torrellas

Mike Torrellas: The Face Of

Hicksville Community Football

Last week the unthinkable happened to the Hicksville Crusaders Football and Cheerleading program. Mike Torrellas, the organization’s founder and leader passed away suddenly at the age of 53. Family and friends filled the pews of St. Ignatius Church to pay homage to a person who made Hicksville a better place for our kids.

Everything about Mike was unassuming. With his sunglasses and hooded sweatshirt, Mike could have easily been mistaken for a truck driver who took a wrong turn down Andrews Road; but make no mistake, he was the face and lifeblood of the Hicksville Crusaders.  

Anyone who was familiar with Mike knew a discussion with him would always eventually circle back to topic of football. It was the place where Mike was most comfortable. However, Mike didn’t always talk about the X’s and O’s of football but rather on the finer aspects of the game that can help mold a young person’s life. He would reflect on the more important elements of football that can assist in someone’s life such as discipline, accountability, commitment and of course, teamwork.

Torrellas was a star linebacker for Hicksville High School and his personal experiences playing football were so overwhelmingly positive that it compelled him to find a way to allow Hicksville kids to have the same opportunity. “What other sport offers all the dynamics like football does?” Mike would say. Mike’s love of the sport was undeniable just as much as his enduring impact on the kids of Hicksville was. In a way, Torrellas’ infatuation with football became Hicksville’s gain. Most people would have stopped after donating so much of their time towards getting a program off the ground. Not Mike. He always did more, as he selflessly took it upon himself to lobby hard for politicians to construct the field known today as Walker Field. Mike took care of everyone. His motives were always genuine, pure and he never sought accolades or recognition for his constant generosity. However, people who were involved with the Crusader organization knew of his anonymous acts of kindness. They saw a man who reached into his own pocket when new equipment was needed and the money was not in the organization’s budget. They witnessed the countless registration fees that were waived by Mike in order to allow kids from less fortunate families to participate in youth football in Hicksville; or, they saw the way he went out and welcomed kids from neighboring towns that did not offer a youth program to join the “Hicksville Family” of football. “Bring them down, we will suit them up tomorrow” was all he would say.

When Mike embarked on his dream to establish the Crusaders in the summer of 2002, some thought he was crazy. He knew there would be several struggles along the way but his passion for the sport fueled him to move forward. As long as it involved football the obstacles always seemed to be invisible to Mike. Although Hicksville was a town known more for embracing other sports such as soccer or lacrosse, Mike never wavered from his drive to resurrect a program that was dormant in Hicksville for nearly two decades. “If they play it once they will come back.” His prophecy rings true today as the Crusaders now field eight teams in the Nassau County Youth Football League, as well as a cheeerleading team.

While Mike’s death has been a heavy blow to this community his legacy of goodwill will always carry on. Mike Torrellas’ contributions to Hicksville carried much further than just being someone who ran a league; he was in the business of pointing young people in the right direction.

News

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. That’s just what a Hicksville baker is doing, except in her case it isn’t lemons, but a gluten-free diet. Her lemonade stand of choice is her brand new gluten-free eatery, “Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro,” which held its grand opening on April 12.  

“I’m a baker who can’t even eat wheat or eggs,” said owner Jaclyn Messina, chuckling at the irony.

There’s a lot you can do in 99 minutes. You could cook dinner, play a non-stop soccer game, watch a romantic comedy or hang out with Odysseus, Achilles and Hercules. If you chose the last option, Hicksville High School’s upcoming theatre production of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less  is the place for you.

The mouthful of a title says it all. The cast will take on over 80 characters as they speed through all of Greek mythology, including popular tales such as The Iliad and The Odyssey, in a little over an hour and a half.


Sports

Vito Sciascia was recently named Hicksville Soccer Club’s Volunteer of the Year at the 2014 Long Island Junior Soccer League 2014 Kick-off Convention.

Sciascia started coaching travel soccer in 1998 for a boys team, the Flash, who later changed their names to the Muddogs. He could always be found at various sporting fields trying to recruit new soccer players. He would make each of these boys feel important and there was always room for another player. He tried to never turn a child away and when other coaches were having trouble with a boy he would take them on his team, no one was ever too much for him. Sciascia found the good in all those boys and they in return respected him. He took them to many tournaments and solicited enough sponsorship so that it was never a financial burden on their families.

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its first tournament on Thursday April 4. Twenty golfers came out on on a crisp but sunny morning. Charlie Hong was the only man to score under a 40, with a 38 and won for low overall score. Jim O’ Brien  scored a 41, and won low overall net in a tie-breaker with Mike Guerriero.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 percent handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season.


Calendar

American Legion Meeting

April 21

HS Theater in the Round

April 24-26

Science Fair

April 26



Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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