A gorgeous, “blue domer” day in the sky for baseball, softball and good old fashioned life skills enjoyed by all as the Peter J. Mulry Foundation celebrated its 18th year serving children in the community. Founder Coach Peter J. Mulry said “I thought this was the best day in 18 years of doing this. We had 600 people: 285 boys and girls, 225 parents, 100 volunteers…. great speakers, great coaches….a fantastic day.” Mulry continued “It amazes me how smooth it went. Like “clockwork” --- from the parents meeting, to the kid's instruction, stretching …. Just how the community rallied together. Tony Saladino’s photos…the major league players.” Mulry noted how this particular weekend just seems to work well for the foundation and its efforts – avoiding other events like Gasparilla, Spring Training Baseball and other events.
When asked about what Coach Mulry wants to achieve in the future, he says that bringing the excitement of another sport – girls and boys soccer. Mulry pointed out Retired Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Bob Bowman, who also coached soccer for 28 years at Jesuit High School and brought five state championships plus a national championship to Jesuit, will be among the primary coaches. Mulry hopes that the Tampa Bay Rowdies will also participate on Foundation Day – perhaps even a visit by Rowdies mascot “Pelican Pete” is in order. Mulry wants to reach more children through his Foundation and “…one day get to 1,000 between participants, parents, and volunteers….creating new goals to meet."
Mulry Foundation board member and Foundation Day Coach Lou Maggio agrees that the Foundation continues to grow and prosper. Maggio – a Little League baseball coach since 1977 and a high school baseball coach since 1983 – points out in his first day of coaching new players he tells them that 3-5% of baseball players can play beyond high school – whether in college, minor or major leagues. Yet, for the others who may not make it to the big leagues, it is about helping young people achieve a job/life balance through life skills. “You need to treat college like you would treat your life…. To be successful, you have to work hard…it is just like a baseball game. Every day is a new inning…It is part of the game to teach kids what we learn in the past, helping kids learn in today’s society the importance of values.” Maggio states that the mission of the Mulry Foundation is to “pay it forward”. “We concentrate on helping the kids succeed and now we must concentrate on the parents to help them to be more “hands-on” as an example of what we do." Maggio then explained "It is a fact that many children today are spoiled too much with the “trophy syndrome” where every kid gets a trophy. When basically, children love attention and crave it. Where learning life lessons is more important than carrying around a new iPhone or driving a new car." Maggio continues “Kids today have it better than we had it. We want to teach them to pay it forward.”
For Foundation Day, fellow Mulry Foundation board member and coach Dan Martucci stated that the highlights were the opening ceremony and parents meeting. The end of day signature process from coaches & major league players can be improved. Yet, “everyone I spoke with loved the day.” Simply, when asked about the Mulry Foundation’s mission, he agreed with Maggio, “to teach kids life skills through sports.” Martucci continued when asked about the foundation’s future “this organization is well suited for continual growth. The recent agreement with BB&T folks reading ‘Threads’ to school children that I helped to put together is just the start of taking this to the next level. By adding an additional sport(s) beyond baseball and softball will be paramount.
Foundation Secretary and long-time board member Jeannette LaRussa Fenton said “I think it’s a fantastic day and a rare opportunity for excellent baseball/softball instruction and important life skill education that is accessible to all due to no cost and central location. I think the addition of well known, respected speakers for the opening and closing ceremonies would make it even better and more attractive.”
With a visit from Tampa Bay Ray's mascots “DJ Kitty” and “Raymond”, children enjoyed a spin wheel where children could spin the wheel to win prizes and learn more about the Rays. Plus, Tim Livingston from Aces Nation spoke to parents about points program on Foundation Day during the parent's session. Participants can earn points during the year by attending future clinics, reading and more.
With all of this momentum, make sure to mark your calendars for the next “Stars of the Future” Foundation Day on Saturday, January 11, 2020, at Tampa Catholic High School Mulry Baseball Field. Registration begins at 8am, Opening Ceremonies at 9 am and Closing Ceremonies at 1 pm.
President Peter J. Mulry Foundation
2401 Bayshore Blvd. #1002,
Tampa, FL 33629
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