When it comes to sports, a group of local parents wants to make sure that no child is left behind in the intense competition of school athletics where not everyone who wants to play always makes the team.
All children benefit from the exercise, self-confidence, and sense of sportsmanship and team effort that goes along with playing a sport. But scarce gym time and competition can make it difficult for everyone to get involved. So a group of parents created Hamptons Youth Sports which is designed to give all children in grades 3 to 6 a chance to play by creating a league comprised of walk on teams. The league has started with a season of basketball at SYS in Southampton (as well as a couple of other locations further west) where no one gets cut and no one suffers the anxiety of tryouts or experiences the pain of rejection. The teams are organized according to each child’s level of play so there’s a place for those just learning the game as well as advanced players who perfecting their skills.
“I didn’t want my kids watching television and playing X box all day,” said Allison Scanlon, a Sag Harbor mother of three and founder of Hamptons Youth Sports. “We wanted our kids to be able to play sports even if they weren’t able to be star players and make the school teams, so we got together and started this last year. Remember Michael Jordan was cut from the team twice.”
Scanlon wants to grow the organization (there’s talk of adding football) and has organized a fundraiser on March 24, just as the first season of Hamptons Youth Sports comes to a successful end. With some teams heading to playoffs later this month and others just happy to have been able to get out on the basketball court, it’s a good time to celebrate,
The fundraiser, at 230 Elm Street in Southampton, will feature music by The Hackensack Men, a 13 piece band with a powerful sound and a strong horn section that frequently plays at the Talkhouse. The group offers up a wide variety of tunes that appeals to all ages says Scanlon. In fact, she hired the band to play at her wedding at the old Waterside in 1999.
“You know the words to these songs, you can sing along and it is great to dance to,” Scanlon said. “Everyone will have a lot of fun. They are a great band that appeals to all ages.”
Scanlon notes that Hamptons Youth Sports was able to get the Hackensack Men at a “bargain price” thanks to the efforts of David Elliott, a music teacher at Bridgehampton School and member of the band.
“He saw how great the program was and how much the kids like being on these teams with their friends,” said Scanlon, a lifelong athlete who played high school basketball in suburban Massachusetts and ran track and field in college.
Applying the teamwork mentality to the fundraiser, Scanlon is happy to take on all parents who want to volunteer to help. Like the league itself, all are welcome.
Hamptons Youth Sports Fundraiser, Saturday, March 24 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. 230 Elm Street ( former Polish Hall), Southampton. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and include cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, door prize and 50/50 raffle. For info contact www.hamptonsyouthsports.com.