In what has now become a yearly tradition, the College of Staten Island softball team volunteered their services at the annual Matthew Sapolin Memorial Wheelchair Basketball Tournament help at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, and this time they were joined by their counterparts on the Baseball team as well, making for a memorable weekend filled with thrilling gameplay and tremendous community outreach by our Dolphins. The two-day event featured six teams spanning two divisions and the Dolphins were there to lend support and engage with many of the participants every step of the way.
The Baseball squad lent their hands to the event when it kicked off on Saturday with the Preliminary Rounds of play, welcoming participants, registering teams and providing statistical and post-game support to the staffers on-hand at PPCDS. On Sunday, it was Softball’s turn, as the playoffs and championship rounds were played.
“Veterans are a symbol of what makes our nation great, and we must never forget all they have done to ensure our freedom,” said Softball Head Coach Stella Porto. “To be able to give back to them with our time and support is the least we can do. We take for granted what we can do independently everyday such as playing a sport we love. To watch these amazing athletes do these skills despite their conditions gives us all hope that no matter what cards life deals us we are strong and will get through it. It was an amazing day working with these athletes they are an inspiration to us all.”
At the event itself the staffers from the squads were tasked with escorting the athletes and their equipment, help feed and take care of them and also run general duties for the game itself, such as stat-keeping and clock operations. Many staff members for the weekend tournament consist of volunteers, and the CUNYAC is a proud sponsor of the tournament each year.
The tournament features the nation’s best wheelchair basketball teams and is produced by NYC & Company. It is one of the largest tournament’s of its kind in the Northeast and has become one of the premier events on the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) schedule. The tournament, formerly known as the Mayor’s Cup, was renamed in 2012 to honor Commissioner Matthew Sapolin, who passed away in 2011 after leading the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities for nearly a decade.
“It was an eye-opening experience for for us coaches and players, watching these athletes play at such a high level.” said Baseball skipper Michael Mauro. “It was a great bonding experience for our players interacting with the people who were participating and especially for the new players joining our team this year. Giving back to the community is always a satisfying feeling. Watching the team helping and actually caring for strangers was amazing. I couldn’t be more proud of my coaches and players.”
Both the CSI Baseball and Softball teams have promised more community service themed events throughout the year.
You can access all of the photos taken at the event HERE.