Mike Ritsi was almost in Delaware in December on his way to Florida, where he hoped he would find work, when a call came in from Sportime’s general manager, Sue de Lara, whose help wanted ad in The Star he’d answered.
He turned right around, the 28-year-old Montauk resident said during a conversation Friday, was interviewed, and was hired as the director of Sportime’s well-appointed multisport arena in Amagansett.
He’s been on the job since last month, and while he’s been putting in long hours — from 1 to 9 or 10 p.m. on weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays — he said he loves what he’s doing.
Though he might not refer to it in his résumé — if he hasn’t, he should, for it is testimony to his grit — Ritsi was credited by Mark Mensch, East Hampton High’s former trainer, with having made an astounding recovery after having torn all the ligaments in one of his knees in a football scrimmage in his senior year. Thanks to Mensch’s oversight and Ritsi’s determination, he was playing baseball that spring and went on to quarterback Endicott College’s football team.
From Endicott he went to the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville, where he received a teaching degree, and subsequently earned a master’s degree in sports management at the State University at Cortland.
Ritsi said that he’s surprised so few apparently know of Sportime’s multiple offerings, which include men’s, women’s, and youth soccer leagues, adult and youth roller hockey leagues, a basketball league for third through sixth graders, East End Waves travel team volleyball, flag football, yoga, and “play date” sports for toddlers.
The play date sessions for 9-month-old to 4-year-old children under parental supervision are to be held Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. A flier advertising the new $10-per-child offering says age-appropriate foam play equipment will be used so that the kids can be safe while having fun.
Eight-week-long winter youth sport classes for children from 4 to 14 years old are to begin Feb. 25 — multisport classes on Fridays from 4 to 5 p.m. for 4 through 6-year-olds; flag football on Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. for 9 through 13-year-olds; roller hockey Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. for 6 through 11-year-olds; inline skating on Tuesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. for 4 through 9-year-olds, and teen soccer training on Mondays from 5 to 6 p.m. for 12 through 14-year-olds.
A flier says that the multisport activities will “feature soccer, baseball, track and field, basketball, and hockey.”
Another flier urges parents to bring their sons and daughters to Sportime for Presidents Day sports (4 through 12-year-olds) camp and hockey (6 through 12-year-olds) camp during the Feb. 18-22 winter break. There is also open youth hockey “for all ages” every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“It’s a terrific facility which we’re trying to make more popular,” said Ritsi, who, besides his work at Sportime, plans to continue as East Hampton High’s junior varsity baseball coach and as an assistant to the jayvee football coach, Pete Deleski. In addition, as Little League baseball’s umpire coordinator he’s responsible for scheduling all the games. “There will be one more Little League clinic here,” he said, “on March 3.”
As Sportime promised the town, the multisport arena now has lavatories, locker rooms, air-conditioning, and soon will have a cafe run by a Sportime concessionaire.
“I’m definitely very happy,” said the young sports director. “This place has so much potential.”