Bits & Pieces: Alliance created to help regulate area sports

Last week, the Howard County Youth Program's Bernie Dennison, who will be inducted into the Community Sports Hall of Fame in October, informed me of the formation of the Maryland Youth Sports Alliance — a non profit organization "dedicated to providing a forum for collaboration and communication for all member organizations," according to its site.

The Alliance will be involved in universal background checks of coaches, certifications, development of leagues and tournaments among members, and the coordination of county fields and facilities use.

Founding members include the Howard County Youth Program, Soccer Association of Columbia, Howard County Youth Basketball Association, Wooten Basketball, Atholton Youth Recreation Association, Western Howard County Youth Basketball Association, Howard County Elite Basketball and Elkridge Youth Organization. An executive committee made up of representatives from the aforementioned programs heads the organization.

Groups such as this one can be a positive approach, as long as all members are afforded equal opportunity to participate in the decision-making process. I look at this situation as an important coming together of so many of our vital youth groups to achieve common goals.

Special Olympians shine

It seems that every time a contingent from Special Olympics Howard County goes to an event, the athletes return loaded with medals. Such was the case for the USA Games held in Princeton, N.J. June 14-20.

In aquatics, Michael Keough took home a gold medal and three bronzes, and Nick Stewart took one gold and one bronze. In athletics, Thomas Logue took silver and a bronze, and Russell Ulrich took a bronze.

The basketball team captured a silver medal with players Bryan Bourdon, Charles Gaines, Jeffrey Krischik, Kenny Long, Zachary McKay, Nora Nickle, Julia Phillips, Brian Silvea, Munir Vohra and Antoine Webster.

Alex Barnes captured a gold and bronze in team bowling, and a bronze in singles. Peter Colabucci captured a gold in team bowling and a bronze in singles. A silver medal was awarded to Catherine Guss in dead lift and power lift, as well as two other bronzes in bench press and combination. Thomas Smith got a bronze in dead lift and another in bench press.

The tennis gold went to Philip Beijan, while Nicole Dalrymple took first in doubles and second in singles. Monica Evans captured silver in unified doubles with Jen Stark, Erika Hagelis captured silver in unified doubles with Kate Lynes, and a bronze in singles. Meaghan Hyer took a gold in singles and silver in mixed doubles.

Remembering Annie Nelson

I have had the privilege of covering some of the most exciting sports events in Howard County since 1971, including the Junior Olympics held here, the men's senior golf tournament held at Hobbit's Glen in 1998 and the First American Bank Celebrity Tennis Challenge in 1986. I was there for many great high school sports moments, state championships and personal achievements. I have seen new programs begin, new athletic facilities built and watched in awe as Howard County sports rose to the very top in the state.

Still, all those exciting moments pale in comparison when you learn that a friend has passed away. She was Annie Nelson, from Auburn, Mass. — a most welcomed visitor to our area as a guest of Jim and Cissy Martin. She lit up all of our lives and made me reassess my values of what is really important in life.

I came to the conclusion that it's family, faith, friends and pets for me.

We often forget scores and games in due time, but we don't forget people who have touched our lives and made a difference.

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