By Jane Lawrence
While LI-Kick’s third season of its Winter Indoor Co-ed Kickball League was well underway, founder and Glen Cove resident Sal Farruggia was scoring points of his own. Last month, he took home a second place award in a Social Entrepreneurship Competition sponsored by Lift Up Long Island and SUNY Stony Brook.
“The competition was designed to reward organizations that seek to make a positive social impact on a local or global level,” said Farruggia.
In order to advance to the finals, Farruggia had to first prepare a two-page essay about his organization and then give a 14-point PowerPoint presentation. In the final competition, Farruggia was pitted against five other finalists and had to give a 10-minute presentation Shark Tank style, followed by five minutes of questions by the judges.
Farruggia’s contention was that the decentralized nature and high cost of living on Long Island force many young adults to move away and many of those who remain are forced to move back to their parents’ house.
“This creates a feeling of social isolation,” said Farruggia, “and can lead to a monotonous life of going to work and then coming home to watch TV or check Facebook.”
Farruggia’s presentation focused on the transformative effect LI-Kick has had on this population by providing a platform for young adults to connect, mingle, relax and socialize.
“The league is so much more than sports,” he said. “It’s an easy way to meet new people. Everybody knows everybody else.”
In addition to weekly kickball games, the league provides social activities both after the games and apart from them. This winter the league organized a three-day weekend ski trip, a murder mystery dinner night and an upcoming St. Patrick’s Day party, all of which help to solidify the new friendships made. There are also ongoing fundraising activities for the benefit of local organizations.
“Our first fundraiser was for Cove Animal Rescue,” said avid kickballer Dayna Connolly, who heads up the charitable aspect of the league. “It did so well that we have decided to give back to the community on a continual basis. Since we use the facilities here at the Boys & Girls Club [for the winter league] we will be making them our next recipient.”
Farruggia, who also serves on the City of Glen Cove’s Recreation Commission, plans to put his $5,000 award back into the programs with the aim of expanding LI-Kick’s program offerings and becoming known as Long Island’s premier provider of adult social sports.
This coming spring, in addition to the regular Tuesday and Thursday night kickball leagues which will begin on April 26, two new leagues will be added. Beginning on March 16, the league will offer adults the opportunity to join a co-ed adult soccer league, which will play on Wednesday nights, and beginning April 29, a kickball league designed especially for high school students will be starting.
“There are no co-ed soccer leagues in Nassau County at all,” said Marisa Peralta, who is helping Farruggia spearhead the new league. “We are already getting a big response.”
Registration information for the new soccer league, as well as registration for spring kickball leagues can be found on their website, www.LI-Kick.com.
The new high school league is open for any high school student in grades 9-12 and is billed as a “better way to spend a Friday night.” Registration and more information about the high school league can be found at www.LI-Kickhs.com, on the city website or by calling the city at 516-676-3766. As with all the leagues, Glen Cove residency is not required to join.