Tags Posts tagged with "Youth"

Youth

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Miller Place sophomore Lauren Mancini carries the ball downfield with a Mount Sinai defender on her back during a scrimmage. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Miller Place boasts a mix of youth and experience in its girls lacrosse team this season, including nine eighth-graders, many   of which were on the Panthers playoff team last year.

Miller Place sophomore Madison Murphy gains possession off the draw. Photo by Bill Landon

The team finished its 2017 campaign with a 7-6 record, making the playoffs but falling to rival Shoreham-Wading River in the opening round. The girls scrimmaged Syosset before going toe-to-toe March 17 with New York State champion Mount Sinai, scoring several goals against their formidable neighbors.

Being a young team, boasting just four seniors with sophomores, freshmen and the nine eighth-graders making up the rest of the roster, Miller Place head coach Thomas Carro is under no illusion as to what’s in store for his squad this season.

“We’re going to have some growing pains in the beginning,” he said. “They’re going to make mistakes. We turned the ball over like 11 times in that last scrimmage [against Syosset], so we’ve got to limit those — and we will.”

Carro said five-year senior goalkeeper Hailey Duchnowski, along with returning defenders, should keep the Panthers in games.

“I think we have one of the best goalies we’ve ever had,” Carro said of Duchnowski, also pointing to junior defender Ava Burns and sophomore midfielder Madison Murphy, who he said is “going to have a good year.” “If those girls play hard, that stuff becomes contagious and the younger group will follow them.”

Miller Place freshman Alexa Corbin moves the ball through midfield in a scrimmage against Mount Sinai. Photo by Bill Landon

Duchnowski pointed to areas of promise and areas of concern she has with her unit up to this point in practice.

“We are doing really well at moving the ball fast on offense, coming together on defense, working hard,” she said. “But we’ll have to get better in transition.”

Murphy’s assessment of her team’s progress so far she said belies its age, but also noticed moments of weakness.

“We have a bunch of athletes,” she said. “We need to play together as a team, and if we do that it’ll all come together. We’ll need a lot of communication on the defensive end as well as on offense, and if we can do that fluently we can win.”

Senior Nicole Beck will also provide the Panthers with the leadership they need, and said, like her coach always does, Miller Place doesn’t rebuild, it reloads.

Miller Place junior Ava Burns battles for a ground ball against Mount Sinai. Photo by Bill Landon

“We lost a great amount of talent last year, but so far we’re still able to put up the numbers offensively,” Beck said. “It’s been impressive — we didn’t think we’d be able to do that — we have a lot of young girls who are playing really well.”

Murphy said her team’s preparation for the league opener at home against last year’s nemesis won’t have anything to do with the athleticism of the team, but with the mental preparedness. Miller Place will host Shoreham-Wading River March 28 at 4 p.m.

“If we go into that game with a positive mindset, work as hard as we can, I think there could be a positive outcome,” she said.

Carro said his team competes with some of the sport’s top Long Island talents, and said finding a way to neutralize high-caliber opponent’s threats will be key to competing with the cream of the crop.

“Shoreham lost a lot [of talent] last year, but it’ll be a test for us to play a team that’s next door to us; the girls all know each other,” the coach said. “We have Rocky Point and Mount Sinai [as neighbors and opponents this year], and those are tough teams. These girls come out and play hard against those teams, and if we take care of the ball and make good decisions, we can be in the game with anybody.”

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By Bill Landon

Port Jefferson’s youngest football players practiced alongside the Royals varsity squad Aug. 26 during a camp designed to teach the fundamentals of the game while stressing the do’s and don’ts of safety in the sport.

Royals head coach Andrew Cosci had players break into groups of running backs, receivers, quarterbacks and linemen during the camp for which the idea he said was long overdue.

“I think it’s extremely important to involve the younger players, especially with the way football is being looked at across the nation, along with the NFL, with the emphasis on safety,” he said, also adding the desire to get the younger kids enthusiastic about and interested in the program. “It shows that we’re all in this together. The game is a great game, it teaches a lot of life lessons and you want to share it with the little ones because that’s where a lot of the fear is. When the young kids come up, [they can] see how we teach the athletes the right way to play the game.”

“I think it’s extremely important to involve the younger players … with an emphasis on safety. The game is a great game, it teaches a lot of life lessons and you want to share it with the little ones.”

— Andrew Cosci

For senior wide receiver and strong safety Thomas Mark, practicing with the younger players has been special.

“It’s definitely really important because when I was a kid coming to all the games I looked up to those players,” Mark said of seeing previous varsity athletes. “So to be out here and to see these kids look up to us is really rewarding.”

Port Jeff sixth-grader Shane Wardell said the reason he was at the camp was simple.

“To have fun and to see the varsity team,” he said. “I want to play on varsity some day.”

Senior running back Joey Evangelista echoed Mark’s sentiment, and said he thinks the camp is an important one.

“It shows them what we do up here at this level and it gets them ready for it,” Evangelista said, and then assessed his team’s chances this season. “We have a lot of our backfield coming back, which is awesome. A lot of our line left us last year, but we have some big guys, so I think we can do it.”

Cosci will rely on all 14 of his seniors to set the example for the younger generations and the underclassmen on the team. The hope is to make a deep run in the playoffs.

“From year to year you never know and you always get surprises, but hopefully they’re good surprises,” Cosci said. “We have a couple of holes that we knew we’d have to fill up front because of guys who graduated last year, but every day they’re getting better and they’re working hard and that’s all you can ask of them.”

“I remember when I was that age and we didn’t have a Port Jeff youth program, so it’s nice to be part of … it’s nice to be able to give back to the community and I’m happy that I’m able to be part of it.”

— Jack Collins

The Royals look to improve on the 5-3 conference season from last year, and have a new weapon in their arsenal to get the job done, according to senior quarterback Jack Collins.

“This year we have athletes like we’ve never had before,” the third-year varsity player said. “We have some new kids who are really good outside. We’ve lost some tonnage from last year’s team, so we’re going to have to work on getting the blocks down, but we got players to do it — we have the size to do it.”

Mark said he also likes what he sees in this year’s lineup.

“We have a lot of skill players — our receivers, running backs, quarterback — we’ve got a good bond so far and a lot of really athletic kids, so I’m looking forward to seeing how many big plays they can make,” he said. “But it’s knowing who to block and when, and knowing our schemes.”

Collins reflected on what it means to be involved with the local youth football players in their formative years.

“It’s very important to involve the younger players [because they] are the ones who keep the program going,” he said. “I remember when I was that age and we didn’t have a Port Jeff youth program, so it’s nice to be part of [it]. It’s nice to be able to give back to the community and I’m happy that I’m able to be part of it.”

The Royals will pick up where they left off as they open their season on the road against Miller Place, the team that ended their season in the playoffs last year. The Sept. 8 matchup has a kickoff time slated for 7 p.m.

Cosci said he is optimistic about Port Jefferson’s chances to go further.

“What I like a lot is our skill positions — they’re very dangerous on the football field,” the head coach said. “Even on defense our linebackers and our secondary, we’re very, very strong and as long as we keep going in that direction we’re going to be a dangerous team. Shoreham is the team to beat — we’ve always had a tough time with them, but we’re not just looking to make the playoffs, we’re looking to make some noise when we get there.”

What keeps us young? Well, certainly eating healthy foods, exercising and sleeping are all on that list.

But there’s something else that works, too. If you can, try hanging out with a group of younger people at a party, even if the music is loud and incomprehensible.

At a recent party, I wasn’t sure what my daughter was saying, as I watched her sing every word with her eyes wide open and her hands fluttering at her sides like a butterfly’s wings.

It’s as if both of my children have sped up the needle so fast on their speech that I suspect that what’s coming out of their mouths probably started out as distinct words at some point. I’m hoping that the message they are repeating isn’t something offensive or objectionable, like, “Environmental regulation is bad, so let’s put the fox in charge of the hens at the Environmental Protection Agency. Go fox, Go fox, Go fox.” No, wait, this isn’t about politics.

A room full of children at the party, held by a family friend, made me think a bright scientist may one day figure out how to harness that energy, store it and release it at just the right time, either when someone needed to warm a house or a heart.

The next generation seems to follow a simple formula: Why walk when you can run, skip or flip, why talk when you can shout and why stay on the ground when you can challenge gravity to hold you down?

I recognize that loud parties filled with perplexing music may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The decibel level may damage hearing aids, destabilize pacemakers, or rattle fillings or dentures.

You don’t need to attend a kids party, especially if you weren’t invited to one, to share the exuberance of youth. Have you stopped your car on the way back along familiar routes to watch a T-ball baseball game, to listen to a chorus singing music you might know, or to watch a marching band trying to master John Philip Sousa while figuring out what yard line they’re supposed to be on when they reach the high notes?

All that energy begets energy. I’ve heard people talk about how their children keep them young. Imagine multiplying that, even for a day or a few hours, by however many kids are celebrating the moment in a way that doesn’t get bogged down in blinking Blackberries, a pending deadline or a need to disappear into the immobile ether of the television.

And if you’re fortunate enough, you can engage with some of the next generation in questions they raise about the world. Many of us think we are pretty knowledgeable. That may be the case, until a child asks us a question we can’t answer. Of course, we could rush to the internet to find an answer we might soon forget, or we could try to inch our way to an answer or even revisit a question we hadn’t pondered in years.

I’m sure teachers feel the same kinds of highs and lows that appear in so many other jobs. They have to discuss the Magna Carta year after year, or explain how the change in Y over the change in X represents the slope of a line.

But, then, every once in a while, a student may ask a new question that brings the material to life and gives the teacher an opportunity to learn from the student. The best answers inevitably lead to the next best questions.

Energy, insight, curiosity and joy don’t exist solely in the world of youth, but they are often easier to spot among a group of children whose joie de vivre lifts off at a party.

The town’s Prom Boutique is open from March 7 to June 17. File photo

Brookhaven Town wants to make prom special even for teenagers who cannot afford it.

The Prom Boutique will open at Brookhaven Town Hall in March “so young ladies who qualify for assistance can be dressed from head to toe, helping to make their prom dreams come true,” according to a press release from the town.

There will be a free selection of gently used gowns, handbags and costume jewelry, as well as makeup and fragrances, between March 7 and June 17. The hours of the second-floor boutique will be Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be special evening hours on March 10, April 7, April 21, May 26 and June 9, which will run from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Appointments must be made by calling 631-451-8011, and all clients’ identities will be kept confidential.

If anyone is interested in donating clothes and accessories to the initiative, which is an effort of the Department of Housing and Human Services’ Youth Bureau, they can be dropped off at the boutique on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. All clothing must be dry cleaned and pressed before it can be accepted.

Visit www.brookhaven.org for more information.

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The Salvation Army youth league begins Feb. 3 and will take place every Wednesday. File photo by Kevin Freiheit

Northport has announced year-round basketball divisions for boys and girls for third-grade to eighth-grade.

Final divisions will depend on enrollment, but each season will be 10 weeks, beginning Feb. 3.

Enrollment is $140 per player, and games will be every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army Gym at 319 Clay Pitts Road in East Northport.

Teams of three to four players will play three 10-minute games every week, and every player gets a reversible jersey with enrollment.

There are no coaches, but official and certified referees will be at every game.

The 3-on-3 games will heighten the awareness of applying skills in game-like settings where players will have an increased repetition set on both the offensive and defensive side of play. Through each game, players will be able to address skills that are often overlooked in a 5-on-5 setting.

Since there are no coaches, young players are forced to rely on their own instinct and abilities which facilitates quick growth and development. It is difficult to hide in 3-on-3, so everyone participates. There is an emphasis on fundamental skill sets and an increased competitive advantage.

Some topics addressed in 3-on-3 basketball include movement with and without the ball, screening action, individual and team defense, offensive spacing patterns, and the ability to read and react to players.

The program is geared toward providing all players an opportunity to enhance player development in a supervised, small, controlled setting while actively engaged in a safe and healthy environment and is directed by Long Island standout Ralph Rossetti.

Rossetti has been the recreational director and trainer for the Salvation Army since 2013, and has been training basketball players at the Army since 2008. At the Salvation Army, Rossetti has worked with dozens of boys and girls from the youth level through high school as well as a number of NCAA and professional players.

Registration can be done as a team or individually.

Space is limited, but athletes can register online at www.northportyouthbasketballclub.com/p/3-on-3-basketball-registration.html.