We recently caught up with a really good friend. Peter Finkelstein has been a part of the Backyard Sports Cares family for a number of years. He hails from Scarsdale and recently moved to White Plains. And as a business owner in Mount Kisco, he has a large presence in the Westchester community.
We asked Peter to chat with us today because we’re gearing up in less than three weeks for one of our big fundraisers, the 3 versus 3 Basketball Tournament. Peter has been a competitor in that event for the last five years, and we wanted him to share his experience, tell us what it’s like to compete at the event, and why he’s involved with Backyard Sports Cares.
LISTEN to our interview with Peter Finkelstein, 5-year competitive player in the BYSC 3 vs. 3 Tournament
Peter Finkelstein: The event is for any kind of hoops junkie like myself. It’s really the ideal basketball competition. There’s no pressure, there’s no nothing. It’s a great feeling environment. Once you walk through the door, Danny Bernstein (BYSC Exec. Director) has a team of people there to welcome you with big smiles. We’re all there for the right reasons. We’re all there to have a great time and to support Danny’s foundation. It really is something once you get involved, it’s a great feeling.
BYSC: Take us back a little bit. I know you’ve known Danny personally for a long time. I think your son was also involved with Backyard Sports in a coaching capacity at some point. Talk about that experience.
PF: My son, David, used to work with the kids down in Mount Vernon in the early morning program. Not only was it great for the kids, but it was great for my son, David, too when he did it. Think about it. It’s not just for the kids and it’s not just for David, but if you think about how much these programs really help the parents of these kids in need. It’s a win-win everywhere around.
BYSC: What do you think your son gained from that experience?
PF: Oh boy, the feeling of giving. He definitely enjoyed being with the kids. He definitely enjoyed the aspects of being there, but he felt like he was giving back to society. He felt like he was doing the right thing, and that’s wonderful all the way around.
BYSC: For folks who haven’t experienced the 3 vs. 3, this is a fundraiser. We run many, many programs across Westchester County primarily for the benefit of kids who are at-risk. Maybe their families don’t have the financial means to invest in sports programming or for special needs children who might not otherwise have access to a sports program. We use this event as a way to fund those programs and to continue to give more than 3,000 kids across the county some fun, character building, and the ability to participate in a healthy activity.
As far as your participation and recruiting a team, was that a process? How did you get that together with your friends?
PF: I play in a Sunday morning group with a bunch of old guys like me. We play on Sunday mornings and finally recover by Thursday, so we’re ready to play again on Sunday. Everybody knows Danny real well. We all know that Danny’s heart’s in the right place, so everybody does try to give to it. We have several guys that play every year, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s all for something different. It’s something to really get your competitive juices going. It’s half court, so it’s not as taxing on the body as you would think for us older guys, but it is definitely competitive. The spirit is right. I’ve never seen any arguments. Everybody is there for the right reasons.
BYSC: I’m going to assume that you are in the over 45 division?
PF: Yeah, that’s a good assumption.
BYSC: How did you fair last time around? How did your team do?
Peter F.: Surprisingly, we do pretty well each year. We’ve never won it, but we’ve come close. The last time we played we were winning that last game. If we won the last game, we would have gone on to the finals. That was a good feeling. We were definitely playing against some of the younger guys, too. It was a really good feeling. Every time I’ve left this event, I’m on a natural high. Everybody feels good about it. I haven’t had the experience where we don’t win at all. The teams are pretty fairly matched. Each group has their components of stages or skills. One of Danny’s specialties is he can match up teams pretty well.
BYSC: He spends a lot of time making sure that all fits together perfectly. This year we’re going to have a celebrity joining us. Doc Gooden, legendary world series pitcher for the NY Mets. So, our message is, if you can’t play at least come down for a fun day at the County Center and support these guys and also meet Doc Gooden while you’re there.
PF: There’s so much going on other than just the basketball. There really is. The food, the entertainment. We’ve had basketball great, Earl Pearl Monroe there. We’ve had Walt Clyde Frazier. Danny has brought in some great people. To find out that Doc Gooden is coming in is just, wow. That’s magical. It really is.
BYSC: We’re excited. Your parting words of advice to dads who may be on the fence? Should I do this? What do you tell them?
PF: It’s a no-brainer. Life’s short. You got to live life right. This is the time to do it. Just give it a shot and come out and have a great time. There’s nothing to lose and tons to gain. It’s really a great day.