The NY Emperors Memorial Day Tournament - The Spirit
The sense of community is strong in this year's Memorial Stickball Event. Part of it is just old friends and acquaintances getting together again. Perhaps they saw each other at a recent stickball event or maybe they haven't been in touch for years. However long it was, it was probably too long and now laughter, music and warm conversation fills the air.
The tournament is much stronger this year than it has been the last few seasons and most people credit this to Steve Mercado's efforts to make sure that the event is a success. Steve, was President of the Emperors Stickball League back in 94/95 but had stepped back in response to the birth of his son and increased family commitments. He returned as President this year with a clear purpose, "to bring stickball's community spirit to the next generation."
According to Steve "Stickball is all about community. For me I learned the game from my father, and others of his generation. They were my heroes, the role models we looked up to. Stickball was an important part in our tradition of teamwork, determination and community. My goal now is to reach out to the kids growing up today to make sure we continue to pass down these values."
Steve feels that stickball's strengths are that it requires almost no equipment and can be adapted to lots of different fields. "It's been somewhat displaced by other more organized sports, but we think the time is ripe for it to reclaim its important role. We hope begin bringing stickball back into the schools this fall and to introduce it to the next generation."