When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012, support came from around the nation to help with the devastation.
“It was amazing,” Islip coach Joe Patrovich said. “People from all over the country contributed. I remember that there were some volunteers that came from Oklahoma to help out.”
So after a tornado brought havoc to the Sooner State a few weeks ago, Patrovich was among those who felt compelled to take action, not only to return the favor for the aid received during Sandy but because of the connection between the wrestling communities of Long Island and Oklahoma.
“We have a relationship with that area of Oklahoma,” Patrovich said. “El Reno, a neighboring town, came to Islip to wrestle six or seven years ago. We were supposed to go there the next year, but the airport was shut down because of a blizzard and we couldn’t get there. But we’ve known people there for years. Pretty much every town involved in the tornado, we’ve wrestled or were supposed to wrestle. It’s the heart of Oklahoma wrestling. We’ve had our wrestlers go out there for the Junior Duals many times too. When you add it all up, you ask yourself what you can do for the people. We felt it would be a really nice thing to raise some money and help as much as we can.”
That’s how the “Long Island Helps Oklahoma” event came about. In just a few days, the wrestling tournament, which will be held on June 8 at Islip High School, was put together.
All of the funds raised will go to help those impacted by the storm in Oklahoma, including the $25 entry fee for wrestlers and the donations of corporate sponsors. In addition, Patrovich said t-shirts will be sold and a collection jar will be there for anyone who wishes to contribute.
“It’s an awesome cause,” Patrovich said. “We won’t charge to get in, but we hope people will come and help out. We may even have a DJ to make it a little different than a normal wrestling tournament.”
There are other ways it will be different. Participants will wrestle both freestyle and folkstyle in a round robin format, with Patrovich aiming for each competitor to get at least 2-3 bouts.
“We wanted to include folkstyle because some of the wrestlers are most comfortable with that,” he said. “But we thought it would be good to have freestyle too. The international rules recently changed in freestyle and a lot of guys haven’t wrestled with the new rules yet. We want wrestlers and referees to get some match experience with those new rules. We’ll have a clinic before to explain the changes. It will be a great way to prepare for Fargo and Cadet or Junior Duals.”
The Junior Duals are coming up in June. Those who represent New York at the event, which is annually held in Oklahoma, will bring something special with them.
“We’ll be sending a check to the United Way from the Long Island Wrestling Community to help the people in Oklahoma,” Patrovich said. “It will be presented at the Junior Duals. I think it will be a nice touch for the wrestling community and show that we all help each other.”
For more information on the tournament, see the flyer 2013OklahomaFundRaiser.
If you wish to donate to the cause, see the contact information on the above flyer.