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April 19th 2023

Snug Harbor Little League Realizes Anthony Varvaro’s Lasting Vision with Opening Day Festivities

Renovated complex honors late former league president, highlights community’s strength and resilience

Opening day is a special occasion on every baseball and softball season calendar. For Staten Island’s Snug Habor Little League (SHLL), however, last Friday’s opening day represented something truly exceptional as it honored the memory of late former league president, MLB pitcher, and Port Authority Police Officer Anthony Varvaro. The event also celebrated a long-awaited facelift to its Livingston Complex.

At FieldTurf, we’re committed to protecting the future of play by driving community development and collaboration. Snug Harbor represents a unique project mirroring our dedication to promoting greater accessibility in sport. By donating the artificial turf that now surfaces the field at the former Livingston Complex – now officially renamed the Anthony Varvaro Memorial Complex – we are continuing to empower local youth sports and acknowledging individuals striving to help young athletes see a better tomorrow.

Varvaro, who tragically died seven months ago, epitomized that dedication to community, constantly working to achieve a long-time goal of SHLL installing field lighting to allow for night games. Opening day, which was packed with activities, including a parade, an NYPD helicopter flyover, numerous speakers, and more, marked the realization of that goal.

Fittingly, it was Varvaro’s wife, Kerry, along with their four children, who pushed the buttons that turned on the SHLL light fixtures for the first time, shortly before the first pitch was thrown.

“I have four kids that will be playing here, and they will enjoy this for their entire career here,” she said. “It will give our kids such a good chance to play at such a beautiful place and to grow as players and individuals."

Varvaro’s passing galvanized the entire SHLL community, led by his brother-in-law and current league president, Dennis Thomson, resulting in a powerful movement to make his dream come true. It’s a story of how leaders like Varvaro and Thomson can equally inspire individuals and larger organizations to come together and serve a greater good with the potential to impact future generations.

Our team was among those moved into taking action for a cause that embodies FieldTurf’s “Change the Game” approach to sports at all levels. We now have the invaluable privilege of watching SHLL’s youth athletes practice, play, and grow on FieldTurf for years to come. The durability of the surface, combined with the new lighting, could result in hundreds of additional hours of field time every year.

"Snug Harbor Little League is honored to have the support of FieldTurf. It is incredible what was completed in such a short time, way beyond anything we could have imagined,” said Thomson. “The addition of a turf field allows us to play games following rainstorms that before washed us out for days at a time. With the lighting and turf, Snug Harbor holds one of the best fields in the city, and we are incredibly grateful for the partnership."

Among the speakers in attendance, many representing companies that contributed to the renovations, was FieldTurf’s Regional Vice-President Perry DiPiazza, who, as a father of two sons, is well-positioned to espouse the importance of leveraging resources, both financial and human, to bolster youth sports.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of this project. At FieldTurf, our mission is to build surfaces that make a difference for athletes and communities. To pay tribute to Anthony Varvaro and help support local youth sports is a special moment for us,” Perry said in his pre-game speech. “Tonight, we’re celebrating and immortalizing his legacy, which evokes his dedication to helping coaches, athletes, and his community. I’m here with my two sons, who are learning through experience, and like Anthony, I believe that enabling those moments is vital. To give back, help others and protect the future of play. This will be an exceptional venue that will narrate a remarkable story.”

On a day when Varvaro’s old #24 was retired across Staten Island, it was meaningful and appropriate that his son AJ wore that same number while playing under the lights, on the field, and surrounded by other renovations that are evidence of a community unified by his singular dream. FieldTurf is proud that we can play a role in helping SHLL enter a new era of accessibility and playability, with the Anthony Varvaro Memorial Complex at the heart of its future.

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