Nine years of hard work and perseverance have paid off big time for Vito DiMartino and A.N. Myer Secondary School.
The school Thursday officially unveiled the Phil Mazzone Sports Complex, a $350,000 facility which features four basketball courts which double as tennis courts as well as shuffle board courts.
“I’m happy the day is finally here and kids can finally use it,. That was always my intent in the first place,” DiMartino said. “I wanted to promote physical activity. Since I am involved with it, I know the benefits of it.
“If we want to reduce health care budgets, why not do more preventive things like this and encourage kids to be physically active? Plus, it will pay off in the long run.”
DiMartino, who acted as committee chairman for the project, admitted there were several roadblocks along the way.
He said the low point may have been when the school was also considering installing a turf football field at the same time.
“The idea was to combine the projects together and excavate one but I knew it was a bad idea because one was board money and one was fundraised money and that caused a two-year delay,” he said. “That’s when I thought this may never get going, but the word came back to me to be patient.”
DiMartino, who is retired, would have loved for the project to be completed while he was still working.
“I would have loved to teach there on the court as a teacher but it kept being delayed and delayed but I was committed to seeing in through,” he said.
The complex was named after Mazzone, a former Myer teacher who taught at the school from 1977-93 and was instrumental in helping hundreds of student-athletes achieve their goals of attaining scholarships.
“This is truly a wonderful and unbelievable day,” Mazzone said. “Words cannot express my true feelings. I am overwhelmed and honoured. I am deeply humbled and I am also proud and grateful for this generous and heartfelt gesture.
“There are so many who helped bring this project to life.”
Mazzone tipped his cap to many, including DiMartino.
“Vito had a dream and had been working on this project for teaching and coaching. Nine years of planning and appealing for sponsorships, donations and approvals,” Mazzone said.
Mazzone marvelled how nothing was going to stop DiMartino.
“Anyone but Vito might have walked away from his dream and moved on to other opportunities,” he said. “I never witnessed or heard the work quit in Vito’s vocabulary. His strength of purpose, his determination, his perseverance and positive and caring attitude drove him to continue and succeed.”
Mazzone can’t wait to see the complex filled with athletes.
“This complex may bear my name but it not about Phil Mazzone. It is all about the students and the community who now posses an enviable state-of-the-art athletic facility second to no other sports venue across the province of Ontario.”
Source : wellandtribune.ca