Written by Steven Culhane, email@example.com Thursday, 16 January 2014 11:01
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.
Saturday, 20 September 2014 00:00
Rhea Manjrekar traded in her running shoes and track shorts for high heels and an evening gown recently, as she participated in the Miss Teen India New York pageant. The 15-year-old from Hicksville snagged the title of first-runner up, and will be competing for the national title in December.
This was Manjrekar’s first time competing in a pageant. But she started out with major doubts about even participating.
“At first, I didn’t want to do it. I have extreme stage fright. My mom told me to try it out because she thought it would boost my confidence and look good on my college applications, so I went for the practice,” Manjrekar said. “The girls were so nice. I thought I wouldn’t fit in but I made friends immediately so I decided to do it.”
Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00
The parking lot of Sears in Hicksville transformed into a sea of cars this past Saturday as part of the ninth annual Long Island Cruizin’ For A Cure Car Show.
The show, which was founded by Jericho prostate cancer survivor Sandy Kane, is the only car show on Long Island dedicated to raising funds for research, testing and also education for early detection of prostate cancer. The all-volunteer car show usually draws around 4,000 attendees. It features 600 cars, trucks, motorcycles and more; a perfect day for car enthusiasts and the like.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!
Thursday, 04 September 2014 10:49
At 6 a.m. on a blustery Saturday morning 1,600 people arrived at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to participate in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge Tobay triathlon and tri- relay race. The participants were from all over Long Island, some from upstate NY, a few from out of state and were all ages and some even with disabilities but all came with one goal in mind, to finish.
The course starts out as a half mile swim in Oyster Bay Harbor, then a 9.3 mile bike ride through Oyster Bay, Laurel Hollow, and Cove neck which is very hilly but finishes with a 2.9 mile downhill to the finish. Then the riders have one more leg of the race which is 3.2 mile run through Mill Neck and Brookville, up to Planting Fields Arboretum and back down to Roosevelt Park to the finish line.