Basketball Banquet Concludes Athletic Ministry Season
YOUNG ATHLETES WITH, back row, METROPOLITAN METHODIOS, FR. CHRIS FOUSTOUKOS, FR. DEMETRIOS TONIAS, FR. CHRIS MAKIEJ
YIANNIS WALLINGFORD, center, with Metropolitan Methodios and his Parish Priest, Fr. Chris Makiej, was honored with the 2011 Sportsmanship Award. His meaningful remarks were an inspiration to all. (More photos at the end of the article)
More than 500 attended the Metropolis of Boston Basketball Banquet at the TaxiarchaE Parish in Watertown. His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, clergy, players, coaches and parents enjoyed the annual event which concluded a fun-filled athletic season for this important ministry of the Metropolis. The athletic program was best described by this year’s recipient of the Sportsmanship Award, Yiannis Wallingford of the St. Constantine & Helen Parish in Andover, MA who said in his acceptance remarks;
“I’ve had the honor of
playing in the JOY and GOYA basketball leagues. This year marks my eighth and
final Goya season. Through our church’s youth ministry I’ve had the opportunity
to meet many of you and for that I am very thankful. One aspect of GOYA
basketball is that I was always fond of how we are continuously meeting new
“From the first season I played ball, I was warmed by how my teammates welcomed me with open arms. Regardless of the height, talent, speed, or skills, I may not have possessed, I was always accepted as an equal. Through the course of the season I became great friends with my team mates and still regularly talk to them seven years later. Of course, more was still to come. I had acquainted myself with my team but still had not known the players on any of the other teams. Unfortunately, I didn’t truly get to know the other players until going to MBC (Metropolis of Boston Camp). At MBC I got to know the people I had played against and befriended them. This changed the dynamics of everything for the next season. I was no longer playing against 5 opponents but rather 5 friends. I knew the other players for who they were as people, not by how they played ball. I only now have realized how wrong I had been. I will admit though that it wasn’t until my team stopped winning as many games that I came to that realization. My team is not the tallest, nor the most skilled team in the league, yet every game we’d leave the court with a smile - win or lose. As a team, we had stopped playing for the win and started playing for the fun of the game.
“And so my JOY/GOYA career comes to an end; eight years of my life that I will always cherish. Lastly, as Dr. Seuss once said “Don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened. " I thank you all for being here, and as always good luck in your futures.” (Yiannis will graduate this year and will study at either the Air Force Academy or West Point because he wants to serve our country.)
Expressing admiration for Yianni's character and accomplishments, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios said, “This is what the Athletic Ministry of our Metropolis is all about.” Metropolitan Methodios also expressed his appreciation to the coaches for the time they spent with the young athletes, and the parents who encourage their children and take them to the games.
The Awards Ceremony during which trophies were presented was greatly enjoyed by all, as was the delicious dinner in the beautiful hall of the Taxiarchae Parish in Watertown. The championship teams were: JOY Division - St. Nectarios Church, Roslindale, MA; GOYA Girls Division- Annunciation Cathedral, Boston, MA; GOYA Boys Division - St. Vasilios Church, Peabody, MA.
METROPOLITAN METHODIOS WITH MANY OF THE COACHES WHO MADE THIS SEASON ANOTHER REWARDING ONE FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE FROM THROUGHOUT ITHE METROPOLIS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE ATHLETIC MINISTRY PROGRAM
METROPOLITAN METHODIOS WITH MATIA KOSTAKIS, the coach at the Sts. Constantine & Helen church in Andover, MA who introduced Yianni Wallingford saying that he exemplified all of the qualities of a Greek Orthodox Christian both on and off the basketball court.