Bedford Officers Coach New Recreation Department Intramural Basketball League


Sgt. Mark Barbieri Off. Rob Abajian Me-lol Off. Jeff French-rear ECO Jeff Vinciulla Off Sheldon Maloney-rear ECO Brandon Marshall Off. Steve Waite Off. Gary Martin  Also not shown in picture is Off. Tracy Cook who is also a coach!
 Intramural Basketball League coaches (l-r) : Sgt. Mark Barbieri, Officer Rob Abajian, Chief Robert Bongiorno, Officer Jeff French-(r), ECO Jeff Vinciulla, Officer Sheldon Maloney (r), ECO Brandon Marshall, Officer Steve Waite and Officer Gary Martin of the Bedford Police Department. Not pictured is Officer Tracy Cook who is also a coach.  Image (c) JMcCT, 2014

By Julie McCay Turner

Sprited competition
Sprited competition  Image (c) JMcCT, 2014

“Good effort!” “Owwww!” “Rebound! Rebound!” “Hold it!” “Let’s GO!”  While the Recreation Department’s Olga Chambers-Maher kept the score book, the Bedford police officers coaching the High School Intramural Basketball League game enthusiastically encouraged their players on the Bedford High School (BHS) basketball court.

The new league, a collaborative venture between Bedford’s Police and Recreation Departments, is popular with parents. Claudia Fox Tree applauded the league for offering varsity football players a team experience during the off-season. “I love this,” she enthused, after watching her son’s game.

Members of Bedford’s varsity basketball team watched the proceedings from the bleachers and gave the games high marks, hoping that another league would begin in the spring after their BHS season ends. Because of conference rules, athletes may not play on both varsity and intramural teams during the same season.

The Recreation Department’s Amy Hamilton attended the league’s first game. “It was great to see the kids competing, but also encouraging each other,” she said.  “Players range from freshmen to seniors and [it’s] really good to see the various ages having fun together.”

The league’s interdepartmental collaboration also elicited Hamilton’s appreciation. “I can’t say enough about the Bedford Police Department,” she added. “These men and women volunteering their time with enthusiasm and delight demonstrate astounding dedication to the youth of our town.”

According to Chief Robert Bongiorno, the program’s teams engage more than 50 high school youth on six teams with a dozen coaches, all of whom are Bedford police officers. “This is a great partnership with the Recreation Department to connect with the youth in Bedford,” said Bongiorno. “Our goal is not only to provide a good healthy activity but it is equally as important for our youth to connect with the officers.”

Community policing is a philosophy that is important to Bedford’s chief. “Officers in uniform and marked police cruisers give the appearance of creating barriers which may intimidate,” said Bongiorno; “we hope through this league that the youth will now see officers as approachable and someone they can trust.”

Tryouts for the Intramural League took place in December to assure the best possible balance of athletic ability on each team among players who are not participating in the BHS basketball season. The intramural games are played for fun, without additional weekly practices. The league’s eight-game regular season is played in the BHS gymnasium on Thursday evenings, with three games each night at 6, 7 and 8 pm. After the final game on March 13, a playoff series will begin during the week of March 17.

The next intramural league basketball games will take place in the Bedford High School gym on Thursday, January 23 at 6 pm, 7 pm and 8 pm.

Click to view more images from the 7 pm game on January 14.


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