Tammy Marks Wins Sportsman Of The Year Award
Tammy Marks Wins Sportsman Of The Year Award
By Andy Hutchison
Thanks to her interest and efforts, basketball players of a variety of ages from kindergarten through the twelfth grade know where theyâre playing and, for that matter, that they have a chance to play ball every week.
Tammy Marks is the Newtown Youth Basketball Associationâs (NYBA) scheduler for all 100-plus teams â recreational, travel, girls, and boys. Her volunteer efforts in helping organize the townâs youth basketball program go back to the 2007-08 season and she started volunteering with NYBA as a coach eight years ago.
Marks has had an especially busy campaign with renovations at Newtown High School and the gymnasium not being open at the start of the season causing a more schedule juggling than before, but the satisfaction of seeing the energy-filled athletes hone their skills and having fun makes it worthwhile.
The 47-year-old Newtown resident is recognized for her continued dedication to the up-and-coming athletes as The Newtown Beeâs Harmon Award For Sportsman of the Year â named in honor of former Newtown Bee Sports Editor Kim Harmon.
Marks first became involved with the basketball program as a coach with her son Jasonâs team, and also coached her children Brandon and Ashley. Marks had done the scheduling for the Newtown Soccer Clubâs Memorial Day Weekend Tournament when she was the vice president of Newtown Recreational Soccer, and brought her experience to the basketball courts. She is not coaching this year, but stays involved with the program as the scheduler for yet another year. She is also the coordinator for the girlsâ seventh- and eighth-grade teams. Marks oversees the half-dozen teams, is on hand for their games every Saturday, and makes sure things run smoothly â whether itâs dealing with referee-coach disagreements or taking care of an injured player. When a girl fractured her arm, recently, Marks made a splint out of a cardboard box and tape, and sent the player on her way to the hospital with her parents.
âJust watching them play is what really does the most for me â especially when you see them improve,â Marks said.
This winter, Marks stepped away from coaching to give her eighth-grade daughter, Ashley, a chance to play under the direction of a coach who isnât her parent. Marks also stepped in, when needed, to coach a team for one game this winter and realized she wants to get back to coaching soon enough. âI miss it,â Marks said. âI definitely will do it again next year because I miss it.â
Every year there are the challenges of finding gym space for all of the teams and lining up times for all of the teams to play, and working around the needs of other organizations, such as the Newtown Winter Guard. This year, the high school gymnasium, because of school construction, was not accessible for several weeks at the beginning of the basketball season. Marks had to work with coaches to coordinate, resulting in some teams cutting back their practice times and switching to smaller gyms at elementary schools, for example, to make it possible for everyone to get their court time, Marks said.
âItâs certainly been the most challenging year,â she said. âItâs like a puzzle â fitting the pieces of the puzzle together and making certain everyone has a place to go. I make it a point of giving everybody some place to go.â
Marks is appreciative of those who recognize the efforts to juggle the many teams and understand that compromises have to be made in order to get everyone out on the courts.
âI donât foresee giving it up. Itâs not about me. Itâs about having a good program for youth in Newtown,â Marks said.
Last year, NYBA started seeking sponsors for its teams to help out with its scholarship program and to defray other expenses, something Marks has played a role in. Another town project Marks has co-chaired for the youth in town is the development and fundraising for the two playgrounds at Treadwell Park about a decade ago.
Marks is married with five children. Her husband, Edward, is the Parks and Recreation Commission chairman. Their children, in addition to Jason, Brandon, and Ashley, are Stephen, Christopher. In her spare time, Marks participates in a bowling league at Brookfield Lanes. She also teaches second grade CCD on Sundays.
A basketball and tennis player in high school in Owego, N.Y., Marksâ family moved to Newtown when she was overseas as an exchange student in 1981. Sheâs been a Newtown resident since.