Jun 22, 2012
By Natalia Kozikowska
The Inwood Buccaneers have been the breeding ground for NFL stars like Lyle Alzado, Vaughn Sanders and Louis D’Agustino. The summer program has had its door open to young boys with an interest in football for over 50 years making it one of the oldest and most historic members of the 16 Nassau County Football League teams. The program has thus expanded to incorporate other sports such as soccer, basketball and even cheerleading.
It all started in 1956 on a warm sunny afternoon when a group of five boys were playing football. Without the knowledge of the boys, an onlooker, Billy Brightman, now the founder of the program, was watching them play. He walked over to the boys and simply asked, “How would you boys like to form a football team?” Thrilled, the five boys agreed and ran home to their parents to try and convince them to join the yet unborn organization. Fifty six years later those five boys- Richard Sorrentino, Jim Fiero, Michael Dominici, Kevin Gravey and Frank DeBaise, are called the “Original Buccaneers” that started a legendary football team right here in The Five Towns.
Frank DeCicco Jr., the football director of the summer program and a volunteer coach was a Buccaneer in 1977. The program has been a long running tradition in his family. His uncle was one of the original Buccaneers and his father has been involved with the organization since DeCicco was. “My dad has been involved since ‘77 and is currently president of the organization” says DeCicco. “He hasn’t left.”
DeCicco has been a coach off and on since he was 19 years old and now two of his children are also involved in the program. One of his fondest memories as a coach was when his son, then six, scored his first touchdown. “That was unbelievable. He still talks about his first touchdown” he says. “There is no better feeling in the world.”
Indeed the Buccaneers football program prides itself on strong family values. Most of the volunteer coaches are parents of the children involved. Bobby Player coaches his son’s team. “Its such a family oriented league that Ryan’s grandfather played in the Buccaneers in 1959″ he says. He says that coaching his son was one of the best experiences of his life. His seven-year-old son agrees and says that he is proud to have his father as a coach.
In addition to tight father-son bonds within the program, DeCicco Jr. says he teaches his kids important values like sportsmanship. “It’s a rough sport but the fact is when I teach kids to tackle someone, I also teach them to pick them up” he says. “We also teach them how to lose the same way they win” he adds. Player says he learned those values in his three years playing for the Buccaneers. “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose” he says.
The Inwood Buccaneers charge $135 per child and $110 for any additional children. The fee includes the uniform, insurance, league fees, buses and trophies. DeCicco Jr. says that he would never turn a child away for financial reasons. “I would never turn a kid away for money ever. There are other ways to do it .We could sell raffles, work concession- there’s always something we can do.”
The program’s teams are divided into ages groups between 6-13, with one team for each age, except 6′s who play with
the 7′s. There are anywhere from 18-22 kids on each team. Each age group has a weight limit that is strictly adhered to before each game. A 17 lb uniform and growth allowance is given for weigh-ins before the game.
The Inwood Buccaneers’ first practice is on Thursday, August 2 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. From there on in practices will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.– 11:00 a.m. Game schedules will not determined until after Labor Day but all home games and practices are held at Lawrence High School’s football field. The Buccaneers play four home games and four away games. The regular season ends around Thanksgiving but can last until December depending on whether the Buccaneers make the playoffs.
For more information visit www.leaguelineup.com/Inwoodbuccaneers . To register your child contact Frank DeCicco Jr. At (516) 330-6961. The Inwood Buccaneers are open to all children within the age and weight limitations.
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