Publish Date: August 16th, 2018
Seventeen years ago today, a very quiet morning turned dark as the tragic news spread. At 8:46am the North Tower was hit and just seventeen minutes later the second tower was struck sending a mixture of emotions through every American’s being. Before an hour had passed since the first impact the Pentagon was hit and the fourth plane crashed into an open field. The horrific event now over, a feeling of sorrow sweeping the nation, and it was now time to start the restoration of a city brought to the brink of darkness.
Bobby Valentine, the then Mets’ manager expressed the same sentiment that many felt that day. “Fear, I think, was the first emotion, and sadness, and then a couple days later I think that anger started coming out. But the bus ride was surreal. That’s the easiest way to put it. It was something I hope I never have to do again, but it’s a lasting memory. I’m on that road often when I’m in New Jersey, coming back, and I always look at Manhattan at the exact same point that I looked at it in 2001, and the image lives on”, Valentine stated only days after the event. Valentine was the first Met to visit Ground Zero as he traveled down in a police cruiser that had alterations made to be able to carry down more supplies for first responders. When Bobby returned from the initial trip down he shared his experiences with the players and coaches.
Valentine said, “It had me experience fear at a level that I had never experienced, It had me experience anger at a level I never experienced and it had me experience sadness, again, at a level that I never had before. And then there was the confusion of what to do. And everyone in New York and the surrounding area, and I think a lot of the country, had that same dilemma. Do we go down to the recruitment center and sign up? Do we lock ourselves in our house? Do we lend a helping hand to those in need?” Even with the mix of these emotions Bobby lead the charge as the Mets helped in the relief efforts any way they could. Mets cleared debris and helped those in the surrounding area victimized by the tragedy. John Franco the Mets closer was quoted, “Bobby was a great leader, He had us out there, and even when we were done, he stood out there by himself helping everybody else, all the volunteers. It wasn’t something we were ordered to do, either. We wanted to do it, we wanted to help, and once a couple of us got the OK to go downtown, we went downtown — Bobby, John Stearns, myself, Al Leiter, Robin Ventura, Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile. We wanted to go down there just to thank the workers.” This lead to an unforgettable scene as the Mets and the first-responders exchanged hats and those hats served as symbol for the Mets who would go on and wear them the rest of the season.
Valentine’s relief efforts much like the first responders did not end on that day. As the Mets returned to action on the seventeenth, the restoration continued. Bobby reminisces on the days saying, “It was remarkable the way they were met, the workers there were working on fumes, going around the clock, and we know how desperate it was and how impossible it was, what they were trying to achieve.” Bobby would continue to give in anyway he could including adopting a family which he would help sparing no effort. Bobby took the Conroys in as if they were his own.
This is the man who we are fortunate enough to work for, the kind of person who will help you in whatever you need and never ask for a favor in return. He has an impulse to give as much as he can and continue to give without any expectation of a return. The horrific events only inspired him to give more and we should all use that as a reminder to do for others because it is the right thing to do. Bobby continues to lead by example through both the darkest and brightest of times. It is important to be thankful for his efforts and those of all the first responders who controlled their emotions and helped rebuild following the events back on 9/11.
There is a 90 minute special on ESPN tonight covering The Comeback Season at 7pm. Bobby highly recommends that everybody check this out if they can!
Publish Date: August 16th, 2018
ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Cornelius(Cory) Johnson is going into his senior year at Brunswick high school and is breaking records and catching the eyes of college coaches all around the country. He started at Brunswick school in 6th grade and when he got to the high school, started as a freshman on their football team immediately. Cory is the second in his family to play competitive football following an older brother at the University of San Diego. Cory plays the wide receiver weighing in at about 197 and stands about 6’2.5”. He began training with Overdrive Elite 3 years ago and while working with Overdrive, Cory tested his 40 yard dash ending with a 4.5 second and also his shuttle in 4.1 seconds. These numbers resembling those of NFL receivers, Cory’s offers and achievements reflect heavily upon these results.
As Cory’s football career has progressed he continues to win awards and nominations for outstanding talent. His sophomore and junior season he was named all conference. Cory stood as captain in his junior year and made the All-New England team his junior year as well. Following his junior season, Cory received a 4 star rating on ESPN and was a finalist for Nike’s The Opening. He is on the path to break Brunswick records in the number of touchdowns and yardage in the history of the school.
Cory’s hard work and efforts have definitely paid off for his dream of playing college football and then onto professionally. He received his first offer in 2017 by Duke University. Following Duke, Cory has received what seems like endless offers from all top football schools. Cory was offered by 2017-2018’s champion team Alabama this year amongst many big name schools; Stanford, Michigan, Notre Dame, Boston College, Penn State, etc. Cory is unaware when and who he is going to commit to at the moment. His favorite professional team is the Los Angeles Chargers and his current favorite player is Jarvis Landray.
When not on the field Cory takes his studies very seriously and wants to continue on with this mentality in college as well. He has about a 3.4 GPA and thrives in his math courses. In college he thinks he wants to study get a degree in a business major. Cory’s friends and family say he is one of the most passionate and driven kids they’ve seen in a while. He is determined to be the best player he could be yet knows how to keep a humble persona. He is a very easy going and caring teenager. Overdrive Elite Coach Carrington quoted on Cory saying “He is the most hard working kid I’ve worked with, always is respectful and his ceiling is high.” Renick, Overdrive Elite’s other trainer started with Cory when he was 15 and would describe Cory as “very mature for his age and has the correct mentality to make it at the highest level.”
Publish Date: July 19th, 2018
ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Our third Athlete of the Month goest to 14 year old, Kim Saunders from Stamford. She just finished her freshman year at Stamford High school. During her freshman year she played both volleyball and softball. Kim was on their varsity softball team this past season as a pitcher and third baseman playing in nearly every game. She threw a perfect game in their win against Staples. By the end of her freshman season Kim had hit 6 home runs as well. Kim was awarded 2nd Team all FCIAC as a freshman.
Kim started playing softball about 6 years ago and has been training with B.V.S.A Coach Danielle Simoneau for 5 years. Kim hopes to go on and play college softball after she graduates high school. Her dream schools are Texas A&M where her father attended college. Other schools she is interested in include The University of Rhode Island and The University of Virginia. Kim helps other kids improve their game too at the B.V.S.A softball summer camp.
Off the field Kim is very into her studies as well. She is in all honors classes making honor role each term at Stamford High School. Social Studies is her favorite subject. When Kim goes on to college, she thinks she will want to study business. Kim Saunders is a young star on and off the field and if she keeps up the hard work, she’ll be a very successful student-athlete.
Publish Date: June 19th, 2018
ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Jack, A.K.A “Jackie Boy Baseball” started coming to the Academy at age 5, when he told Frank he “wanted to be on the Furry (not Fury) team”. Jack made his first BVSA Fury team for the 10’s at age 8 and has played 10 consecutive seasons since, earning 4 team tournament championships along the way. Jack is currently playing for three baseball teams this Spring; 13U Fury, 12U Darien Blue Hawks and for Masonic in the Darien Little League baseball program.
In 2015 he was on the Darien Little League Championship, Team Merrill Lynch, has played in 2 All-Star games and most recently was on the 11U Connecticut Little League District 1 championship team in 2017, finishing the Districts season with,17 hits, 4 doubles, 4 home runs, 11 runs scored, 11 RBIs, batting .567 with an OBP of .581 and slugging 1.1 over the 8 game tournament. He finished the 2017 season with 21 career over-the-wall home runs.
Off the field, Jack is a 7th grader at Middlesex Middle School on Darien and is a lifelong Mets, Jets and Islanders fan. He and his younger brother Colin are licensed State of Connecticut boat captains. In 2015, Jack was able to take batting practice at Citi-Field with the Mets and got to announce the starting lineup on the Stadium Scoreboard and on national TV.
Publish Date: May 24th, 2018
ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Our first Athlete of the Month goes to our very own Abe Wheeler. Abe’s story and work ethic are inspiring.
Last fall Abe was losing weight and suffering from intense stomach pain. He was missing a lot of school and really lagging in football. He made many visits to doctors and specialists trying to find out the cause. He underwent countless tests and procedures. He tried multiple medications and dietary restrictions with complicated regimens – all of which he adhered to with great self-discipline. Nothing worked.
In January, after a series of remarkable events, he was tested for a condition called MALS – Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome. On March 1st he tested positive and underwent a serious open abdominal surgery. The surgery was performed by the leading MALS specialist in the country who is miraculously based in Fairfield, CT. Abe rallied and blew all the nurses and doctors away at his speedy recovery. He spent only three of the six predicted nights in the hospital. He missed half the school time the doctors expected. As of today, he has gained back 7 of the 10 pounds he lost and is back to his energetic and fun-loving self!
The more we learn about MALS, the more blessed we feel to have found it so quickly, to have had it successfully treated and to see his physical stamina returning way ahead of what was anticipated. Watching him slide face first on the ball diamond with zero inhibition this weekend reassured us he’s back!! Abe loves baseball and the boys/coaches he plays with. He has a carefree confidence at bat, and his timing and swagger are returning. He sports an impressive new “zipper” (scar) and he’s proud to show anyone who asks – or doesn’t ask for that matter.
– Wheeler Family
Publish Date: May 16th, 2018
First County Bank along with Bobby Valentine and his team are excited to announce a new collaboration between First County Bank and the Bobby Valentine Sports Academy (BVSA). First County Bank is now the official field sponsor of BVSA’s new 40,000 square foot indoor sports facility.
BVSA has been in Stamford for over 12 years and recently moved into its new facility located at 4 Largo Drive in Stamford, CT. The new BVSA building boasts 40 foot ceilings, a 15,000 square foot turf field, two multi-surface areas and six batting cages. On any given day, you can observe one-on-one baseball and softball instruction, team practice on the full field, lacrosse skill training and IQ development, soccer team/small group training, football practice for local high schools and even large scale community events that can host over 800 guests.
“First County Bank’s relationship with Bobby Valentine and BVSA is exciting to the Bank and exemplifies its mission to support local communities in Fairfield County. The BVSA facility is quickly becoming a sporting home for young athletes and families in Fairfield County, and hosts corporate events, fundraisers and sporting tournaments,” said Rey Giallongo, Jr., chairman and CEO of First County Bank. “The functionality of the facility and its multi-sport activities provide opportunities for the community to train, network and create lasting relationships which supports our strategic community-minded mission.”
“First County Bank has been servicing our community since 1851. They have a personalized approach to customer service as does BVSA. We believe when you find a partner that treats others the same way you do, it makes for a great like-minded relationship,” said Bobby Valentine. “I am thrilled with our partnership with First County Bank. Teaming up with such a great local banking institution is an honor.” Mr. Valentine is a Stamford native and has been a First County Bank customer for most of his life.
Excerpt from: http://www.stamfordplus.com