The air-conditioned Sportime arena in Amagansett played host to a hotly contested 5-on-5 men’s basketball tournament Saturday that was won by Brian Marciniak’s Team One, whose roster also included Kelly O’Halloran, Greg Burkhard, Mitch Rudin, David Hansen, and Kyle McKee.
The tourney, the brainchild of Marciniak, Jason Grossman, and Anthony Providenti, the latter two longtime members of a summer weekend pickup game here, was played as a fund-raiser for the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation.
Forty players, including the Tuths brothers, Nick and Mike, the Marciniaks, Joe and the aforementioned Brian, Jesse Shapiro, Chris Messinger, and Seth Evans, all former East Hampton High School stars, showed up and were apportioned among eight teams.
Games were to seven points with each basket counting as one — no 2s or 3s.
“This pickup game we’ve had here has been going for at least 20 years,” Grossman said. “We’ve played at the middle school, at the high school, in Springs, and, for the past 10 years, here on the court adjacent to this arena. Whenever it rained — you remember it rained a lot earlier this summer — I’d say, ‘Let’s move inside.’ We had two full-court runs from 9 to noon last weekend. Mike [Ritsi, the arena’s manager] has been accommodating.”
The game had become a way of uniting summer and local residents with a love of the game, Grossman, who lives in Lloyd’s Neck, continued. “I met Brian and Joe out here. I went to Joe’s wedding a year ago. We’ve become friends, and, moreover, it’s intergenerational. My son, who’s 14, as is Billy McKee’s son, Kyle, are playing here today. I’m 45, and Kevin [Coffey] . . . that big guy out there, number 40, is 62.”
Providenti, whose 10-year-old son, Troy, has Down syndrome, suggested that D.S.R.T.F. be the tourney’s beneficiary. It was an idea that appealed especially to Ritsi, who worked with special education students at East Hampton High School before he became the multisport arena’s manager.
“I’m 46 and I play a lot, though I haven’t made a shot,” Providenti, who lives in New York City and East Hampton, said in answer to a question.
“As you see, there aren’t any refs — we’ve been self-policing. So far, so good,” he said, with a smile. When told that Coffey was 62 (actually not until September), Providenti said, “Wow! I thought he was only 59.”
As for the foundation, “I’d love it if you could call attention to it. It’s doing very good work in trying to come up with pharmacological treatments that can improve cognition and memory, so that those with Down syndrome can process information as we do. . . . We won’t have a hell of a lot to give them, but it’s a great charity, a great cause.”
The foundation’s Web site, dsrtf.org, said, “Our mission is to stimulate biomedical research that will accelerate the development of treatments to significantly improve cognition, including memory, learning, and speech, for individuals with Down syndrome in order that they can participate more successfully in school, lead more active, independent lives, and so that they can avoid the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.”
“. . . A 10 to 20 percent improvement in cognitive ability would provide them with the ability to live independently, hold a job, and be fully integrated within the community.”
“I play in a lot of games,” said the 45-year-old Grossman, “in Huntington, in the city, and here, but this one is near and dear because of the spread of the generations. I wouldn’t have known the Marciniaks and the McKees if it weren’t for this.”
Asked during one of his breaks from action if he were 62, Coffey, who lives in Brooklyn and Springs, replied, with a smile, “I’m 6-foot-4. I’ll be 62 in September. We’ve got the sons of guys I’ve been playing with playing now. We don’t play for trophies or money . . . there’s a real fellowship.”
“I’ve been playing with Kevin for 25 years,” said Jeff Korek of Westchester and Springs. “There are no grandchildren yet. . . . The Marciniaks and the McKees have been the glue in keeping the generations together. Oh, and by the way,” Korek said in parting, “our team has won three games.”
Others who played in the tourney were Alex Cohen, Seth Greengrass, Kenny (Ninja) Monroe, Cliff Teller, Sam Teller, Reece Grossman, Max Eisenstein, Sam Goldberg, Andy (Doc) Feldman, Ricky Weissman, Jeff Lane, Kyle Barry, Kevin Donohue, Jules Neuman, Mark Lieberman, Jake Lieberman, Charles (Chas) Marino, Noah Gassman, Jon Donenfeld, Scott Ronzetti, Dan Sihksnel, and Chris Modoono.