Girls Club Fields Avenue D Sluggers, But $5,000 Check Is Going, Going, Gone

Photos: Philip Ross.

The Lower Eastside Girls Club will field two new softball teams with the help of a $5,000 check, but the check itself disappeared before it could be presented at East River Park yesterday afternoon.

SportsNet New York planned to turn over an oversized $5,000 check to the Girls Club, to go toward uniforms and equipment for its new Avenue D Sluggers. But before that could happen, the car containing the giant check was towed away, all but kiboshing the presentation ceremony. But there’s no crying in baseball, or softball, either – so the folks at SNY gave the Girls Club 100 tickets to a Mets game on July 24 and promised to present the check then.

The donation is being made in honor of the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which bans gender discrimination in educational programs receiving federal assistance, and will allow two teams of girls aged six to 12 to play at East River Park every Saturday. It’s the first sports team that the Girls Club has fielded in a few years.

sluggers 3Philip Ross

“Health is a huge focus of our organization,” said Kate Sease, the club’s development associate, said yesterday as the Sluggers fielded fly balls. “We want to get the girls up and moving. Having an all-girls softball team is really important to us and the girls in the neighborhood.” The club also offers yoga classes and nutrition courses, and distributes organic meals.

Actress Rosario Dawson, a longtime supporter of the Girls Club, showed her support for the program via Twitter. “Congratulations to the Avenue D Sluggers grant that will help Lower Eastside Girls Club members level the paying/playing field…! #TitleIX‬,” she Tweeted.

Michelle Yu, an anchor at SportsNet, mingled with the girls yesterday. Raised in Harlem, the daughter of Chinese immigrants said she could relate to the young girls who may not have the same opportunities as those in more affluent communities of Manhattan. “I’m like them in a way,” she told The Local. Ms. Yu said that as a youngster, she received free tennis lessons thanks to a program organized by the City Parks Foundation. “We couldn’t afford private golf lessons,” she said.