You will recognize the address of 575 Merrick Avenue in Westbury and the fact that it has hosted games for the better part of the past decade. What you will also see is that there are many changes including the name which is now the JMF Sports Center. Tonight was our “soft opening” meaning that the games went on even though the building is still undergoing major renovations. The rest rooms and the lobby are not yet finished but it is all taking shape. The lobby area is about 60% complete with an entirely new look and so much more space. Visitors will see constant changes over the next three months. We will be refurbishing the courts at the end of the summer but right now we just want to play as many games as possible, host camps every week of the summer and train motivated athletes each and every day. Watch for announcements this coming week about our impressive lineup of summer activities.
The same highly experienced team which operates the Island Garden and Lightning are behind this new site. We have added a great manager, Joe Armenio, whom the experienced AAU people will know as the person who ran Hooperstown for a decade until recently when it was sold. Jim Fox will continue to be the leader of Island Garden, Lightning, NY Metropolitan AAU and the new JMF Sports Center. The real MVPs of our team, however, are Karen Cammer and Tom Sigismonti, both of whom have made Island Garden and Lightning what it is today. A very important third person on that list of MVPs is Rosemary Nies. While she may currently be on the disabled list fighting an illness, we look forward to her return in the not too distant future. Rosemary worked for 25 years to build what we enjoy today and she too is enjoying the growth and excitement of what is happening. Finally, there are two people who do the dirty work to make what we do successful. Debbie Shaw has the unenviable task of collecting money and keeping accurate financial records and then there is Dwayne Gray who is always cleaning the Island Garden, smiling and never winning a one on one game!
We are all very excited to take on this new challenge. Our vision is to always work as hard as we can to make the experience of playing sports great fun and exciting for athletes of all ages. We realize that we are far from perfect but we will continually make every effort to improve each day. We love what we do and hopefully that makes us better at what we do.