Sports columnist Marc Maturo’s official column
Step aside Father Time, these guys won’t be denied
Youth must be served, except when it comes to pickup basketball or “hoops.”
There are many Over-30 basketball leagues throughout the county, half-court games for those so inclined, and other organized leagues but pickup or “open” hoops still manages to thrive.
Two such opportunities exist — on Saturday mornings at the Jewish Community Center of Rockland in West Nyack, for members and their guests, and on Sunday mornings at Independence Park in Orangeburg, where a group of regulars gather each Sunday morning (weather permitting, of course).
Basketball is, indeed, seemingly better suited to youngsters and young adults, but don’t tell that to Lew Weinberg of Spring Valley, who continues to play full-court basketball and turns a mere 70 years of age come February.
“As long as my body allows me to, I’ll keep playing. I listen to my body,” said Weinberg, a retired assistant principal in New York City and the grandfather of two boys (Jake and Ben Silverman).
“As long as I don’t put on any additional weight I can still run,” added the trim 140-pound backcourt veteran (he’s a point guard) who played football and baseball at Evander Childs HS in the Bronx.
“My claim to fame is that I pitched to (future Mets player) Eddie Kranepool (Monroe HS), but I was 5-foot-4 and he was 6-foot-2,” laughed Weinberg, repeating that he will never retire from his basketball regime.
Weinberg joined the current crew about five years ago, and takes pride in everyone’s ability.
“We come pretty regularly,” he says. “Most of us are all working adults, but sometimes we get kids from college who happen to be home at the time.
“It’s great (at the JCC). You don’t have to play outdoors and bang on the asbestos. It’s a good game, we’re not one-day warriors.”
Weinberg, who has been able to avoid any serious injuries along the way, adds: “You never want to be superstitious and bless yourself … have aches and pains that come with age, but nothing to stop me from playing. While it lasts, I will enjoy it.”
Lasting, going the distance, is one hope held by a relative youngster, the 35-year-old Nyack resident Justin Sandomir, a teacher at Clarkstown South HS who also plays in a 30-and-over league.
“I just hope I’m playing when I’m that old,” said the 6-4, 230-pound Sandomir, who marvels at one regular named Steve who, when on the sideline, does handstands.
“The competition is pretty good,” added Sandomir. “We like to play and get some exercise. Like I said, it’s pretty good competition.”
Two other regulars are 52-year-old theater district executive Jerome Kane, a longtime Rockland resident, and 54-year-old Mitchell Weiss of Tappan, who also competes at the 14th Street Y. Weiss has run a Thursday night “open” program for some 30 years at St. Catharine’s Church in Blauvelt.
Both of them have no thought of hanging up the basketball, either. Like fine wine, these guys get better with age. To top it off, they are close friends, on and off the court.
“Mitch is a good guy,” says Kane, an alum of Albertus Magnus HS and a devout basketball junkie, playing four times a week, indoors and outdoors.
“When I’m not playing, I’m icing up my knees,” Kane laughs. “I play in the city with a guy in his young 80’s, and some kids in their 20’s. It’s a good mix. When you see how these old guys play, it’s truly inspiring. I just hope that I can still be on the court 10 years from now.”
Unlike the indestructible Mr. Weinberg, Kane has been injured, but like Mr. Weinberg, Kane says he, too, will keep playing until they carry him off the court.
“Actually, they have carried me off the court, about a dozen years ago,” recounts Kane. “I popped my Achilles’ tendon and two guys carried me off. They told me I should eat more salad! But no matter, it’s a lot of fun. It’s as good for my mind as it is for my body.”
To rework an old phrase, old basketball players never die, they just keep on truckin’.
ALDIN BROOKS, who was graduated from Ramapo HS, has committed to SUNY Nassau Community College in Garden City. Brooks, determined to pursue a career as a biologist, was assisted in the placement process by NCSA Athletic Recruiting, a select recruiting network. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Brooks was utilized as a running back at Ramapo.
CONNER ALEXANDER of Blauvelt is prepping for his senior season as a defenseman on the Northeastern University men’s soccer team. Alexander, an alum of Bergen Catholic HS in Paramus, N.J., played in all 21 games last season, helping the Huskies to a Colonial Athletic Association-leading 0.70 goals-against-average, and a program record 10 shutouts. The Huskies start the new campaign with exhibition games at Boston College (Aug. 18) and against New Hampshire (Aug. 24), before heading to Durham, N.C., for the Duke Nike Invitational. There they will face Elon (Aug. 30) and Duke (Sep. 1).
SUFFERN HIGH SCHOOL has two teams ranked in the top five in Rockland County for the 2012-13 school year, following a thorough examination by Tom Doherty, a longtime and dedicated scholastic archivist. The Mounties’ girls outdoor track team, coached by Jeff Dempsey, is top-ranked, and the girls cross-country team, also led by Dempsey, is ranked No. 5. The Tappan Zee HS softball team, with Gene Kousoulas as coach, was placed at No. 2, followed by the volleyball team at Clarkstown South HS, coached by John Pardy, and the Nanuet HS girls cross-country team, coached by Sheri Dempsey.
THIS & THAT
CHELSEA ZEIG of West Nyack, in Masters Ice Hockey, and Lois Silverman of New City, in Junior Girls Basketball, are competing at the 19th Maccabiah Games in Israel, which opened on July 17 and run through July 30. Jewish athletes from around the world were expected to make up a field of more than 9,000 athletes representing 82 countries, in an event held every four years.
THE 40th ROCKLAND COUNTY FEIS will be staged at German Masonic Park, 89 Western Highway, in Tappan on Sunday, July 21. There is free parking for the event, which is sponsored by The Ancient Order of Hibernians. Cost is $12 per person, with no charge for children under-14 accompanied by a parent. For information call 845-942-1874 or visit http://www.rocklandcountyfeis.com.
BRIANA DANA OF CONGERS won the Youth Girls (ages 13-14) long jump event at the USA Track & Field New York Association Junior Olympic Championships at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island.
ANNA GACKOWSKI , an alumna of the River Rowing Association of Nyack, and her Ohio State University team upended defending champion Michigan State at the Big Ten Rowing Championships, staged in May in Indianapolis, Ind. For more information access the RRA website at: www.riverrowing.org.
VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED in various roles by the Tri-State Bulldogs Adult Minor League Football Organization, which is based at the Joseph T. St. Lawrence Sports Center on Torne Valley Road in Hillburn. Access www.tri-statebulldogs.com, or call 845-497-3647.
THE RAMAPO RAGE, a fastpitch girls softball team, is holding tryouts on July 23 and July 30 at the Torne Valley Bubble in preparation for high-level tournaments in the northeast. Access www.rampaoragefastpitch.com, or contact John Macchia at 845-558-6744.
SOUTH ORANGETOWN’s two-year reign as state champion ended with a 5-1 loss to Mid-Island in the Little League softball Majors Division (12-and-under) state championship game at Stotzky Memorial Park in Riverhead. Assisting in South Orangetown’s district and sectional victories were Kaitlyn Borruso, Oriana Castello, Elizabeth Coyle, Meghan Coyle, Madison Kousoulas, Taylor LePore, Nicole Malpeli, Kayla McKiernan, Kelli O’Shea, Jessica Ragonesi, Diana Rizzo and Emily Trozzo.
THE CYNOPSYS SPORTS Business Seminar is scheduled Aug. 14 at the Grand Hyatt in New York. Speakers include: Jon Miller of NBC, Lisa Baird of the
USOC, Jon Kosner of ESPN, Commissioner Gary Bettman of the NHL, and Jim DeLorenzo from Sports Illustrated, among many others. Details at: http://www.cynopsissportssummit.com/.
CASEY KERN of Chestnut Ridge lost a perfect-game bid with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning, but erased the runner on a double play and completed a no-hitter as the Rockland Astros blanked the visiting Fair Lawn Cutters, 9-0, in a North Jersey Amateur Baseball League game at Albertus Magnus HS. In support of Kern, Joe DePool of New City and Dan Stroud of Nyack each knocked in two runs.
PEARL RIVER defeated Nanuet, 9-6, as Julia Kinnally pitched a two-hitter and went 3-for-4 in the title game of the 9-10-year-old District 18 tournament at Veterans Park in Stony Point. Isabella Esposito added three hits for the victor, which begins play in the Section 4 tournament in Fishkill on July 19.
JACKIE CARBONETTO of Blauvelt, a Tappan Zee HS alumna, placed 20th at the Summer Team USA Bowling Trials at the International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas. Carbonetto is on the Junior Team USA roster along with North Rockland HS graduate Danielle McEwan.