Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Longwood Youth Mourn Dominic Trionfo
Last week the whole Longwood community was in mourning for the loss of fourteen-year-old Dominic Trionfo, of Middle Island, New York. After getting his license to operate a jet ski, he was taking out his grandfather’s jet ski for the very first time in Peconic Bay. Tragically, he came to close to the anchor chain in front of his grandfather’s boat and died in front of his family. Dominic was well-loved at Longwood High School and it was his first year working as an umpire for Longwood Little League / Longwood Youth Sports Association.
Parents and youth alike struggled with dealing with the death of one so young. Grieving counselors were available at Longwood High School all week and moments of silence were held in his honor at the Academic Achievement Award night and other school events. At Longwood Little League, moments of silence were held at ball games. At the wake, umpires came dressed in their uniforms to show their respect.
A letter from Ron Webber, Director of Umpires, describes how one game in particular was held in honor of Dominic:
“This past week at our major baseball field was to be Dominic's first major baseball game along with his best friend John Hernandez, as these two young umpires have worked hard to move to this rank. As a tribute to Dominic, I worked the plate and John the bases, and we used special baseballs with Dominic's name on them. After the first pitch I removed the ball and presented it to Dominic's best friend John Hernandez. Everyone in attendance clapped for this gesture. That was a show of support and unity. The game was played as if the coaches and players were playing in a professional game and the game was one of the best of the season. I could not thank the coaches, players, and parents enough for their professionalism at this game. Not only was it an honor to remember Dominic at this game, but word got back to his family and they came down to watch and thank us for what we were doing. I had the honor to present Dominic's family with a game ball. I cannot thank all of you enough for what that game meant not only to me but to the many who knew him.”
It was eerie passing the news truck every day as I picked up my daughter from the high school. They were there interviewing the students, teachers, and passers-by about how they felt about Dominic’s untimely death. Mothers spent their days crying, even if they did not know him. Maybe they overlooked a few fresh remarks or looks, because they were that much more thankful to have their children alive. Maybe they stopped complaining about their busy sports schedules because they realized that at least their children were alive and healthy enough to participate. Men were just as emotional, but they expressed it in thoughtful gestures, such as Ron’s tribute during the baseball game. Those who had the money contributed to scholarship funds and family fundraisers.
Every time there is another end of the year activity I think, would Dominic have received an award tonight? Would he have been asked to the junior prom? Would he have umpired this year’s Little League All Star Game? As I see a boat being transported on the highway I wonder if Dominic’s family will ever take the boat out on the water again.
There is no wrapping your head around the loss of a young person…no matter the cause. All people can do is support the family, and come together as a community, as people did after Dominic’s death. Give your kids an extra hug tonight and say a prayer for someone who wishes they could.