Thursday, 28 May 2009 16:10
March 8, 2009 was a sad day for softball. Rocky Pacent lost his life to cancer and Manhasset girls lost the brightest light guiding Manhasset PAL Baseball.
Rocky was the League’s Softball Travel Coordinator, but more than that, he was the girls’ biggest fan. He lived and breathed the game and the girls on the team knew it. His girls got good because Rocky showed them they could. They became Champions! The girls won district titles and even reached the semis of the LI Williamsport Championship Tournament. Not easy stuff. Rocky knew they could.
The league’s coaches, players’ parents and friends were with Rocky and helped him with his 6-month struggle. He still went to games, albeit in pain, because he loved the game and his players. They saw his love and dedication and together they came up with a way to remember his name and honor his dedication to girls’ softball.
They began plans to have the Varsity Girls’ field at Manhasset High School completely redone. It will be a field that Rocky wouldn’t have to rake to fill mud-puddles at first base, as he had done many times, or dig a new pitcher’s mound so it was the right distance from the plate. It would be a real field, for real teams of great girls’ softball players. Why? Because they deserve it.
It won’t be an easy job. The Varsity field saw Rocky and his rake many times: the field floods at the slightest drizzle of rain and is mostly unusable for days afterwards. Aside from the floods, the bleachers aren’t big enough to hold all the proud families and friends of our players. There’s no scoreboard. The players’ benches are uncovered and out in the sun. The fence has seen better days, too.
In fact, last year over 75 percent of PAL games for the girls’ and boys’ leagues were cancelled because the Varsity field was unplayable. Think about that: that is 3 out of every 4 games. That’s a lot. It has been this way for over 5 years. Think about that, too: that’s over half a decade! That’s too long. And that’s not right.
The coaches, parents and friends are solving those problems and honoring our friend. These good people formed the Rocky Pacent Softball Fund. With the full blessing and backing of the Manhasset PAL Baseball organization, those good people have begun to raise money to repair the field. They want to rename it, too- Rocky’s Field. I couldn’t think of a better way to tell him we love him. He would be happy to see his players out there on the field.
How can it get done? It can’t. It won’t. Unless we can get together the money to bring the field to life, it will never get better. Many people loved The Rock; players, parents, coaches and just about everyone who was touched by his enthusiasm for life. If all of us give enough money to do the job, it can be done. Pretty simple. And it’s a Federal tax deductible donation to a 501(c)(3) charity.
I am amazed at the number of people who stepped up with checkbooks before they were even asked. Now, we are asking everyone we know. Help us. There is a website with information and a donation form at www.rockypacentfield.org. All the players in the PAL League will receive those sponsorship forms for Rocky’s friends and players to help build the field. You know what to do when you see it. Please.
I hope we soon get the field Rocky always wanted for the girls. They play so well and he wanted to show off their abilities. And now all of us will be able to find a seat in the new bleachers to watch them win.
Paul C. Whalen