Time Out: Aug. 18, 2010

The local sporting world lost a true friend in early August with the passing of Steven Fabrykiewicz. Steve, the father of Andes soccer star Peter Fabrykiewicz, had become a regular feature at many soccer contests throughout Delaware County. An avid photographer, he could be found, camera slung over his shoulders, joyfully bounding up and down the sidelines at soccer games. His photographs became the backbone of several Internet blogs he kept that highlighted the play of Andes’ high school soccer teams.

It would be difficult to find anyone who did not appreciate Steve’s contributions to the local sport scene. Fiercely interested in his son’s soccer progress (Steve’s younger son, Sam, played for the Andes youth sports team), Steve, nonetheless was the picture of calm as he patrolled the sidelines searching for that perfect camera shot. With a huge smile swallowing his face from ear to ear, Steve rejoiced in the soccer exploits of all the student athletes, no matter what school or local community they represented.

As Peter’s performance exploded and the Andes star became the target of intense and sometimes “over the top” defensive attention, Steve modeled a perfect blend of parental restraint and support; always there, always focused and balanced, never loud and critical of officials or coaches, that broad smile never cracking.

Testimony of Steve’s quality work can be found in his YouTube video highlighting Peter’s 2009 high school soccer season. Steven’s intent in creating the video was to produce a product that could be provided to college recruiters who were interested in Peter joining their soccer programs. Shown to the backdrop of John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy,” the video now becomes an emotional tribute to a father’s love of his teenage son.

Summer hoop
On another note, Andes was once again represented in the Avoca three-on-three tournament last weekend. The tournament is a shining example of a small rural town using a local tragedy to make lasting good for their community.

In December 2001, Avoca lost one of their favorite sons in an automobile accident, Frankie Rundell, a local basketball legend who led his 1988 senior year basketball team to the New York State Final Four. Under the leadership of Bill Colmer, teammates of Frankie’s and other community leaders hold an annual Avoca Summer Classic to raise money in Frankie’s name to support scholarships for local student-athletes and various local sporting teams or endeavors.
This August, a record-breaking 75 teams took part in the tournament. The tournament closes a section of Main Street to become a line of eight basketball courts. Guys and gals play in one of six different age groups. Two of those teams were from Andes. With help from Downsville, South Kortright, and Addison, Andes teams battled in the age 15-16 and the 17-18 age brackets. The older team reached the championship game.

The Avoca effort has become a treasured community event. This summer, the tournament joined resources with other community workers who sponsored a community fair. Booths with carnival like games and activities were sprinkled around the area. A pulled pork dinner was offered at a discount to basketball participants and fans. Hundreds of players and fans lined the sides of Main Street taking part in a full day of small town summer fun.

The Summer Classic is great for local businesses, too. Throughout the afternoon, I wandered through some of the local establishments and chatted with the entrepreneurs. At the corner pizza parlor, five workers behind the counter could not keep up with the demand. The local deli/grocery store reported that sales in drinks and snack foods had skyrocketed.

The Avoca Summer Classic is one small rural town’s meaningful way to keep the memory of a local fallen hero alive, while at the same time, contributing to the quality of their community life in his name.