Yankee Great Mariano Rivera Pays a Visit to A-Game Sports
A-Game Sports has just completed its first summer baseball camp program and the results have been nothing short of amazing. For six months this summer, kids ages 7-14 took to the field at New Rochelle’s beautiful City Park Field for six hours a day where they received valuable instruction on the game of baseball and attended a professional baseball game each week. Kids from many different backgrounds came together on one field and developed lasting friendships through a shared interest in the sport.
What makes this story even more unique is how the camp came together. Coaches Darin Feldman and Kevin Plein share a love for sports, and in particular, the game of baseball. They love it so much that they gave up their finance office jobs to start A-Game Sports, a youth sports training and recreation company in southern Westchester dedicated to athletic and academic achievement. The summer baseball camp, A-GAME’s first foray into youth sports programming. was set up to provide kids an opportunity to play and learn baseball while also placing an emphasis on the importance of education.
Not everyone can afford to send their child to camp for up to six weeks, but A-Game Sports did not want anyone left out of an opportunity because of financial hardships. Darin and Kevin visited area schools and churches to raise awareness of the camp’s scholarship program that would allow families that may not have the funds, to send their child with good grades and upstanding character traits to camp for free. Through the help of large corporations and local businesses that have provided camper sponsorships, Darin and Kevin have been able to include kids that would otherwise be unable to attend. In total, A-GAME SPORTS was able to award sixty five weeks of free camp which was given and allocated to fifteen terrific kids. This special offer by A-Game Sports led to a moment that the kids attending the camp will remember for the rest of their lives.
To start the 5th week of the camp, it seemed like another typical hot August Monday. The campers were all checked in and began their daily activities of warm-ups and group stations to work on fielding drills and skill development. After some workouts, the campers were all called in to the center of the diamond. In their travels between area churches, Darin and Kevin spoke with the congregation at Refuge of Hope in New Rochelle. The pastor at Refuge of Hope is Clara Rivera, the wife of legendary New York Yankees pitcher, Mariano Rivera. The two coaches explained the camp and opportunity that A-Game Sports was offering and encouraged families to apply for the scholarship. The philosophy that Darin and Kevin were bringing to their camp caught the attention of Rivera, who is a strong advocate of youth education and fitness.
On that 5th Monday of the A-Game Sports camp, Mariano Rivera decided he would visit City Park field to instill some of his knowledge of the game on the campers. After a brief address to the group, Rivera worked with kids or two hours on their throwing, pitching and fielding techniques. Imagine a World Series champion and baseball legend known around the world strolling onto a baseball field in New Rochelle to teach children about footwork and how to position your throwing arm when you are 7 to 14 years old? It is a memory not soon to be forgotten by the A-Games Sports campers or coaches. Rivera explained why he supports what A-Game Sports is doing for the kids in his church and in the New Rochelle area, “You’re taking [the kids] away from the streets and giving them good exercise and learning the game of baseball… they come to do the sport, yes, but you’re motivated for school.” It is the philosophy that A-Game Sports was built on and will continue to practice as it moves forward.