The Bayside-based De Phillips Athletic Club held its annual field day Sunday at the Bayside High School Athletic Field, where it registered children for its three sports and held a home run derby and two all-star games.
Mr. Met, New York Giants Super Bowl-winning punter Sean Landetta and New York Yankees World Series champion left fielder Roy White made appearances at the event, posing for photos and signing autographs for the kids.
White also threw out the first pitch in an all-star game between 13- and 14-year-old DAC players and the Bayside Little League.
“We rely on events like this to register kids for the fall season,” said DAC board member Steve Weisman.
The club runs three sports: Little League baseball, basketball and the only NFL flag football program in the borough.
Weisman said DAC, which targets children in Bayside, Whitestone, College Point, Little Neck and Douglaston, is different from other youth leagues because “every kid is guaranteed to play half the game, regardless of skill.”
He said the field day was important because youth leagues are competing with video games for kids’ attention.
“There’s a problem with youth sports now,” he said. “Enrollment is down.”
John Zullo, DAC’s vice president and athletic director, said about 1,400 children participate in the three sports, including more than 550 in the football program.
DAC members received free admission to the field day, which included throwing around the football, two all-star games, food from Outback Steakhouse and ices from the Lemon Ice King of Corona’s Whitestone location.
“It’s all about doing things for the community,” Zullo said. “It was a good day. We had great sponsors.”
Steve Gross, a DAC commissioner, said some children who participated in the 62-year-old league return after they have grown to make an impact on the youngsters.
“Previous kids come back and they want to coach and it helps our organization,” he said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2010 Community News Group
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