Sometimes, playing kickball is about more than just having a good time.
LI-Kick, an adult co-ed social sports league based in Glen Cove, held a charity tournament on Saturday, July 21, raising more than $2,000 for the Nick Martone Memorial Fund which goes towards youth sports scholarships.
A total of 13 teams signed up for the tournament—a combination of league members and those interested in supporting the cause—spending the entire day playing in the John Maccarone City Stadium fields in memory of a former LI-Kick member who took his own life last year.
“Nick was the most amazing player, my best friend and an absolutely amazing person,” said Marissa Peralta, the tournament director who has been a part of LI-Kick since its inception in 2013. “We’ve been trying to keep his memory alive and we also want our league to be a place that everyone can come and feel like they have a friend or someone to talk to and not go through things alone.”
A representative of the Long Island Crisis Center was on hand with information about the services it offers and to answer any questions people may have. The center runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is part of the national suicide prevention hotline. The center is based in Bellmore, but representatives are willing to attend any event they are asked to be at to help with community outreach.
Peralta said that the foundation had raised about $4,000, with another $2,200 raised on the day of the tournament.
“We try to make it about something more than just playing,” she said.
According to the league’s founder Sal Faruggia, LI-Kick is Long Island’s “leading provider of co-ed adult social sports,” which now includes kickball, soccer and cornhole leagues, with the goal of soon adding bowling and skeeball to its list.
“We raise money for charities and one of the charities near and dear to our hearts is the Nick Martone Foundation,” said Farruggia. “We host events throughout the year in Nick’s name and the money goes toward youth scholarships so less fortunate youth in Glen Cove can play football, soccer, little league or do cheerleading for free or at a reduced cost if they have a financial need. We then present it to the recreation board.”
Both Farruggia and Peralta said this was the biggest tournament the league has held so far.
“The turnout for this tournament is phenomenal,” said Farruggia. “Our leagues are this size, so to have a one-day tournament with this many teams is awesome.”
The fields were donated for the day by the City of Glen Cove and the Glen Cove police and volunteer fire departments were both helpful in making sure the event was organized and ran smoothly.
“We’re lucky to play in Glen Cove and very fortunate to use these awesome fields,” said Farruggia.
Before the tournament began, Dominick Martone spoke to the players about his brother.
“Kickball was the world to him. He loved playing, he loved coming down and challenging everybody because he was so good,” said Dominick. “I know he’s looking down right now and happy to see everyone here playing and having a great time.”
For more information visit www.li-kick.com.