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Coaches Night Out event resumes after three-year absence

Optimists hold a raffle and auction a Capitals hockey stick

After a three-year absence owing to pandemic issues, what had been an annual Coaches Night Out event finally resumed in Arlington.

Sponsored by the Optimist Club of Arlington, the Aug. 29 evening gathering was held under the outdoor pavilion at the Arlington Knights of Columbus. The dinner event was for coaches and administrators of the youth sports leagues in Arlington that are financially sponsored by the club can dine together and share information about their organizations.

The Optimists support Arlington Babe Ruth Baseball, the Arlington Girls Softball Association, Arlington high-school crew teams, the Arlington Soccer Association,  Arlington Youth Hockey, the Optimist-Acorns Junior Rifle Club and YULA (Youth Ultimate League of Arlington) Frisbee.

Representative of most of those leagues were present to briefly discuss the status of their organizations and to thank the club for its financial backing.

Current club president Andreas Baltaatzis welcomed the guests, then Brian Kellenberger, who will take over as president in October, led raffle giveaways and an auction of an autographed Washington Capitals ice hockey stick.

“It’s so good to be back together again and see everyone,” Kellenberger said.

Arlington Soccer Association president Frank DeMarco explained how his league has 10,000 players and has recently started new programs to attract more female players, with good success.

Robin Rodensky noted that the Arlington Girls Softball Association has some 500 players ages 5 to 18. She also previewed the upcoming annual First Responders Cup girls softball tournament, scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10 in at Barcroft Park and Jennie Dean Park fields in Arlington. Arlington Girls Softball helps sponsor that event.

Arlington Babe Ruth baseball president Brett Mikoy thanked the Optimists for sponsoring the league’s free T-ball program across Arlington County.

When the discussions ended, raffle winners of various gifts certificates received their prizes, then coach Michal Simek from the Arlington Soccer Association bid $150 to win the auction of the Capitals hockey stick, signed by longtime standout player Nicklas Backstrom.

The Coaches Night Out was last held in 2019. With this year’s resumption, the gathering was held outside for the first time.