All Abilities Hoops 2017

Last weekend St. Monica had a great finish to the 3rd season of its All-Abilities Basketball program. The program wrapped up the season over the weekend with the 6th and final game as well as our annual season ending pizza party. There were a good number of family and friends who came out to watch the games and we know that the players appreciated the extra fan support! On their behalf, thank you for the interest and participation.


A huge debt of gratitude goes to all of the volunteers who helped make the 3rd season of Saint Monica Senior All-Abilities basketball a success. Many of the parents of the players commented to Wendy and “Commissioner” Gary Brooks about what a fantastic job the High School CYO Volunteer Coaches did with the program this year. They included:

  • “Coach” Harvey Howarth - 2 years,
  • “Coach” Chris Turocy - 2 years,
  • “Coach” Jack Sedor - 2 years,
  • “Coach” Matt Wilson - 2 years,
  • “Coach” Vikram Raghupathir - 2 years,
  • “Coach” John Belienski – 1 year,
  • “Coach” Brenden Lawton - 1 year,
  • “Coach” Ethan Fiedorek - 1 year,
  • “Coach” Peter Bagley - 1 year,
  • “Coach” Chris Kennedy - 1 year
  • And the grand prize to “Coach” Matt Moran who has assisted in all 3 years of the program.

The Junior All-Abilities program also enjoyed tremendous enthusiasm, success and support. Our gratitude goes out to:

  • “Coach” Emma Powell,
  • “Coach” Katie Mayock,
  • “Coach” Julia Weiss,
  • “Coach” Stacy Fusselman,
  • “Coach” Katie McKinny,
  • “Coach” Anna Mayock
  • “Coach” Dana Keating.

Besides Commissioner Gary Brooks, Director of Logistics and Basketball Operations Trish O’Brien as well as Chief Game Strategist and Director of Player Personnel Jerry O’Brien provided the organizational muscle to ensure that the clinics and games ran smoothly.

The basketball experience that we were able to provide for these athletes would not have been the same without the dedication of the high school volunteers that were able to help out on a consistent basis. I could not have asked for better support for this program from the Saint Monica High School CYO program. The player-volunteers assisted on a regular basis and most weeks we had 7-8 players that were able to come to the gym to help out. The willingness of the sons and daughters of the parish to not only share their basketball knowledge and skills but also to engage and connect with these athletes, made for another successful season.

As a small token of our appreciation, the Saint Monica CYO Board and the parents and players provided each of the High School CYO Coaches that were at the game last night with a Saint Monica Under-Armour Polo and a Wawa Gift card. For any volunteers who were not able to attend, “Commissioner” Brooks will soon be reaching out to you in order to make sure that you receive a gift from the parish.


A little bit of business and some final words from Commissioner Brooks: “If anyone who volunteered on a regular basis has community service requirements that need to be fulfilled for their school, please provide me with the specific form or whatever you need from me in order to document these service hours. I kept a weekly log of the volunteers so it will be easy for me to provide the information that is required in order to help get the proper credit for these service hours.”

One mother, Susan Schuller, shared the following:

Michael, who you know well from All Abilities bowling, has been playing on the green team with Coach Scott Miller. It takes one to coach the team and an assistant to just keep an eye out for where Michael is or isn’t. Scott and his assistant, whose name I can’t come up with right now, have been awesome. From the beginning, they just took it all in stride with extra instruction and patience with Michael. All the teammates, 4 of whom knew Michael from SKS, have responded in exactly the same way. Michael has learned so much and loves it. What has really blown me away is the manner in which his opponents have responded to him as well. Honestly, watching these boys play would bring abundant hope to parents with a prenatal or post natal diagnosis. One game, against the black shirts, when Michael scored, he was given high 5s, by some of his opponents. Another game, also against the black shirts, an opponent guarded back his own teammate to give Michael a little more space to pass. Green plays black for a final time at 3 on Sunday.

Don’t get me wrong, Michael gets much needed practice and reinforcement from the special needs basketball. I wanted to share, as I am so proud of the inclusive 2nd and 3rd grade bball program, the coaches, players, and parents. When Michael was born, I couldn’t even dream something so beautiful.”

And some closing thoughts from “The Commissioner: “I will leave each of the volunteers with one last takeaway from this program. Many of the All-Abilities players have truly connected with their “High School CYO” coaches. You have made a tremendous impact on these All-Abilities Basketball Players! Several of these players have asked me about the coaches from last year that graduated and are currently away at college. If you see any of the basketball players that you coached this season at school or somewhere else in the community, please take the time to say “Hi” to them and find out how they are doing. Many of these athletes struggle socially and it will mean the world to them to have you go out of your way to say “Hello” and spend a couple of minutes finding out how they are doing.

Thanks again for all of your help this year and for providing an awesome basketball experience for the 24 basketball players in this program. Your coaching efforts and dedication to this program were truly appreciated!”

Gary Brooks


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