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Some Call it Kickball, We Call it Celebrating Billy

Young Billy

Huntington kids in the ‘70s and ‘80s faced a different scene than today. Since the drinking age was only 18 (which translated to 16 for most) the local bars were a lot more accessible to the under 21 crowd and a bit more hole-in-the-wallish.  Snyder’s for example was a local bar that was popular with the younger set.  It was located in the building on Wall St. now inhabited by Café Buenos Aires.  Snyder’s big attraction was a two-headed cat mounted on the wall.  There was no heroin or crack epidemic. Teenagers had to get by with bad pot and NyQuil.

Of course, there was no Starbucks and most kids were not given their parents’ credit cards for fine dining.  In place of caffeination and canapés, the local kids usually found their way to what was fondly known as Bud Beach.  Bud Beach was a strip of sand in Huntington Bay where everyone could get together, make a bonfire and have a Bud or two WITH their buds. One of the kids who got along with everyone and was a Bud Beach denizen, Billy Oliva.  Billy was not loud but not really shy either. I always thought of him as that cute sweet guy with whom I could have an easy conversation.

Billy was the victim of a freak accident and died while at work about six years ago.  His friends and family miss him dearly.  As a way to celebrate his life they are having a kickball tournament with a $20 registration fee that will go directly to the Let It Begin With Me – William F. Oliva Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will offer funds to a college bound senior at Huntington High School to further his or her education.  This student will possess many of the character traits Billy was known for in his life; a commitment to the overall good of the community, dedication to academics; great athletic skills and sportsmanship; and a source of encouragement to other classmates.

To facilitate trash-talk and bragging rights, the kickball teams will be divided up according to the different schools in town.  Come alone or with a group of friends and join what most certainly will be a day of camaraderie, rivalry and probably a few sore knees and ankles.  The point is to remember and honor one of Huntington’s own, celebrate a life that was well lived but ended way too early and to lessen the loss by helping another good Huntington kid.  The smart money says Saint Pat’s is going to kick butt, unless Bud Beach qualifies as a school (we’re already printing two-headed cat team uniforms)!

If you knew Billy please add your favorite Billy story below or send photos to publisher@villagetattler.com and we’ll post them for everyone to share.

Tournament particulars:

When:  Saturday, April 24, 2010  2:00PM – 5:00PM

Where: Huntington High School Baseball Field (Oakwood & McKay Roads, Huntington NY)

Who:  Open to alumni of any Elementary (Primary) School in Huntington’s HUFSD District 3’s history. Email  RoseKitzmiller@gmail.com if you have eligibility questions. All ages & abilities welcomed and encouraged to participate.

Why:  Alumni from HHS Class of 1984 have organized this benefit event in memory our former classmate Billy Oliva. All proceeds will be donated to the new Let It Begin With Me – William   F. Oliva Memorial Scholarship Fund which will benefit HHS Grads of the future.

Round Robin Tournament will determine which school still has the best kick-ballers.

And really… why NOT? Kickball is awesome and fun.

Cost: A $20 registration fee goes straight to the Let It Begin With Me scholarship fund.

If you don’t want to play, you can still make a donation in any amount. Corporate sponsorships are also welcome.

Registration:   Pre-registration is STRONGLY encouraged, so team rosters can be developed. To register, email RoseKitzmiller@gmail.com. You can also register day of game.

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1 comment to Some Call it Kickball, We Call it Celebrating Billy

  • Anonymous

    Billy was an exceptional person and friend. My husband went to grammar school and high school with Billy. When my husband died suddenly in 2001, Billy was quick to reach out to my daughter (then 2 1/2) and me. He was a constant source of happiness for us. We would meet him every Wednesday for lunch at his family’s deli. Billy was always ready for us, with a big hug and a huge plate of cookies in hand for my daughter. He would allow her to feed the fish, splash the water, as he talked endlessly about things him and my husband did as kids and young adults. To this day, my daughter remembers Billy, the cookies, feeding the fish and many of the stories he told over the four years we met him for lunch. We were devastated by his loss but grateful to have known him.

    May the best team win!

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