BY GEORGE HOEHMANN, SUPERVISOR, TOWN OF CLARKSTOWN
Sports have always played an important role in my life. Growing up in a big family, there were lots of people around to play all kinds of sports. I enjoyed watching my favorite teams too, especially the New York Yankees. In fact, in my office in Town Hall are autographed photos of some of my childhood heroes like Roy White, Bucky Dent, and Mickey Rivers. Like many 10-year-olds boys, I dreamed of playing in the majors. It’s a goal that only a select few hundred athletes each year will ever get to achieve.
It’s always special when one of our own actually makes it. In Clarkstown, we’ve had our fair share of hometown heroes in sports. In just the past decade, the Town of Clarkstown has seen multiple residents climb from their little league teams to the Major Leagues.
Earlier this month, Congers native Chris O’Grady made his Major League Baseball debut as a starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins, pulling off a win in his first start. The left-handed pitcher graduated from Clarkstown North High School. Last August, another Clarkstown native, Patrick Kivlehan, made his big league debut with the San Diego Padres. Currently playing for the Cincinnati Reds, Kivlehan has had an impressive rookie season.
Of course Clarkstown’s baseball legacy is nothing new. Pearl River resident and former Yankees catcher, John Flaherty, hasn’t forgotten where he came from on the fields of the West Nyack Little League. John had an outstanding 14-ayear career in the big leagues and now works for the YES Network as a baseball commentator. John is an active part of the Major League Baseball mentoring program with local Little Leagues and always has time for area residents.
Some may say that there’s something in the water here in town that’s producing so many big league athletes. Clarkstown is the best community to grow up in, with great little leagues and other sports leagues. We are fortunate to have many skilled residents who volunteer their time and knowledge to coach our children, nurturing their talents and teaching sportsmanship.
Through sports, you gain many life lessons that you can take with you when the wins and losses are just history. In life you get brushed back by a pitch, but if you stick with it, you will get your fair share of hits. You learn how to be a member of a team and work towards the greater goal. The lessons I learned in sports I use every day as a father, a husband, and now as Supervisor.
Clarkstown is proud of our fellow neighbors who made it to the big leagues and to all those who helped them get there. Wonder who the next Clarkstown phenomenon will be?!