Fathers competed against their sons at the 10th annual Lucy Eisler Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, played on Father’s Day on the courts of the Lincoln Park Jewish Center on Central Park Avenue in Yonkers. Mike Mathews, known to his teammates as “Big Mike,” is a former power forward and center for the Harlem Globetrotters and the Harlem Wizards; he has a 17-year-old stepdaughter and a 12-year-old daughter. Mathews, who has previously played ball on and spoken at the synagogue’s courts, returned to give a meaningful and inspirational Father’s Day talk to the young men gathered to play ball. Mathews explained that “when I was 6 foot 7 inches in ninth grade, I was carrying a bass drum in the marching band. I did not want to play basketball. But the coach persuaded me, and playing for the Blountstown Tigers varsity basketball team, I was the first from my small town to have a chance to go to college at Florida State University, where at 6’ 10” I played college basketball.”
Mathews graduated with honors from FSU with a degree in sports management and a minor in journalism in 2003, holding a position as one of the top 5 shot blockers in Florida State University history, and continued on to a basketball career. After playing with the Harlem Globetrotters, Mathews helped to build the Hooperstown Huskies AAU program into respectable contenders and in 2010 was named the director of basketball for Hooperstown, emphasizing player development and skills development. In 2013, Mathews joined the Greenwich Stars, of Greenwich, Connecticut as the director of training and instruction.
Zach Hodskins, 21, was born without the lower half of his left arm, but that has not prevented him from playing excellent college basketball for the past two years at the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus. Hodskins competed in the 10th annual Lucy Eisler Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, an event that each year raises funds for charities, honoring the memory of Lucy Eisler, a longtime Yonkers resident and member of the Lincoln Park Jewish Center, sponsored by her son Nathan Eisler and his wife, Denise Eisler; his brother David Kallin; and their families. The proceeds from this year’s event benefited the Organization for Autism Research (OAR), a national organization based in Arlington, Virginia. Their website is: www.researchautism.org.
All contestants received an event T-shirt, breakfast, trophies and the satisfaction of knowing that they competed well and contributed to a worthy cause aiding others.
By Robert Kalfus