Remember in the movie “Field of Dreams” the voice said.. build it they will come…I heard the voice.. I built it and they did come!..60 and strong wrestling alumni from Island Trees High School encircled the brand new mat that had just been dedicated. Mrs Petersen “the Mother of Island Trees wrestling” was called forth to cut the red ribbon the wrestlers held across the new mat. (Neil Duncan made us a beauty and could not have become a reality without many generous alumni and supporters,we especially want to thank alumni Dave Pottruck) As Coach Garcia called the names, champions from 1963- present came out one by one..making a circle of lifelong family members, united by the Father of Island Trees Wrestling the late Ted Petersen. On the corner of the mat are the words : from Teds boys NYS champ Dominic Macchia,who gave a heartfelt speech, reminding everyone present, that Coach was for all wrestlers everywhere and always said if they could make it through a season of wrestling they could do anything in life!
There were tears and cheers throughout the evening..the young Island Trees team got a glimpse of a time gone by and their legendary roots..it was an evening that bridged the old with the new. In the cafeteria the moms and booster club kept the food coming for our alumni and sold T shirts. On the wall hung a Red and White Banner painstakingly designed and painted by 1975 wrestling alumni Sal Adesso,which now holds the signatures of the alumni that where present that evening ..this will be given to Coach Garcia to hang in the wrestling room for the young grapplers to see and remember their roots..and proud heritage!
I will close with the words of Gary Ventimiglia who said at the Ted Petersen Day gathering..Coach..you would always say: Seek the highest.. well perhaps tonight we have!!
Yours in Wrestling