A three-on-three basketball tournament in honor of Army National Guard 1st Lt. Joseph J. Theinert of Shelter Island and Sag Harbor, who was killed in Afghanistan in June, will be held at the Shelter Island School on Nov. 27. There's still time to get a team together or volunteer to help with the tournament that will benefit the scholarship fund in his name.
Ian Kanarvogel, the Shelter Island Youth Center director, grew up with Theinert and his brothers, Jimbo and Billy, all of whom played basketball and other sports. After he heard the Shelter Island Lion's Club had established a scholarship fund in the fallen soldier's name, he wanted to help support it in a way that would make his friend proud.
"He used to play in all the three-on-three's. I knew it was something he would be a part of if he were here. It's something he would enjoy putting his name on," Kanarvogel said. Theinert was 24 years old when he died in Kandahar.
James Theinert, who lives in Sag Harbor, said said he was appreciative his son was being remembered. "It's wonderful to see Joey's contemporaries want to do something in his name. I don't want to say they're following in my lead, but I said when Joey was killed, I just didn't want him to be forgotten. They've pick up that mantle and they're carrying it for me."
When raising his three sons, he encouraged them to play sports -- basketball, lacrosse, and they ran cross country. "I believe it helps build character, and I fostered that in my kids," he said.
By all accounts Lt. Theinert always exhibited good sportsmanship. Even though the tournament is competition, Kanarvogel said Theinert would want it to remain fun. "I don't want people just to play because they want to win. With Joey, it was never about winning, it was about having a good time."
Carla Cadzin, who is helping Kanarvogel organize the event, said, "The nice thing is even those people who can't attend are reaching out from all over. And, if they don't want to embarrass themselves on the court, they can volunteer." While there will be no admission to be a spectator, concession food will be served and there will be a raffle for dinners at the Chequit Inn and Sweet Tomato's on Shelter Island, among other prizes.
Each team will have a minimum of three players and a maximum of six. Every team must have one high school student, one player out of high school and one female. "A lot of females play on Shelter Island, so that was important," Kanarvogel said. Family teams are encouraged to participate and there are already some rivalaries forming. To enter, teams will pay $15 each.
Registration will be open until Nov. 23. To register or donate, checks can be sent to Ian Kanarvogel, c/o the Shelter Island Youth Center, P.O. Box 592, Shelter Island, NY 11964.