Running, jumping and throwing with the Mattapoisett Track Club
MATTAPOISETT — Over 30 years ago Mary Ann Amoruso’s son joined “Mudgie’s Club,” an after school track program founded by late Center School custodian Maurice “Mudgie” Tavares.
Now, Amoruso and a team of volunteers carry on Tavares’s legacy with the Mattapoisett Track Club.
The Mattapoisett Track Club is a non-profit organization that gives athletes from kindergarten to grade eight a place to sharpen their skills and keep active in the summer.
On Wednesday, July 26 over 150 kids from the Tri-Town and neighboring communities gathered at the newly refurbished track at Old Rochester Regional High School for the second night of a track meet.
The club “keeps kids active, healthy [and] strong,” said Amoruso. “Nobody's on a tablet or a cell phone out there. They’re practicing their skills.”
The meet began with a warm-up run and stretches before kids were separated by age and took on different track and field events like the long jump, hurdles, shot put, javelin, discus and running.
“They do all the disciplines — every age, even the little ones,” she said, pointing out “teeny tiny” hurdles designed for the youngest members of the club.
After each event, the club’s coaches handed out first, second and third-place ribbons to the top athletes.
Amoruso explained that while the high school and college-aged coaches are paid, everyone else who makes the Mattapoisett Track Club possible is a volunteer.
“None of us are paid and we really spend our own money to support this,” she said.
Amoruso joked that she and the other volunteers are “stuck” running the Mattapoisett Track Club, but explained that she does it to honor the legacy of Maurice “Mudgie” Tavares.
“When Mudgie was 65 years old … he had a stroke … and that’s when we reorganized,” said Amoruso. “A whole bunch of people came to help out to keep this going for Mudgie … he came down here for years in a wheelchair until we couldn't get him down here anymore … we gotta keep going for him.”
And at Wednesday’s track meet, the kids, coaches and volunteers kept going strong.
The night ended with a 200-meter and 400-meter race for the older age groups, and a run around the entire track just for fun.
“This really is a passion project,” said Amoruso.
The Mattapoisett Track Club runs on Monday and Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Old Rochester Regional High School until Aug. 16. The program costs $80 per child and families can register at the event. The next meet is scheduled for Aug. 14 and 16.
For up-to-date information on the club’s activities, visit Mattapoisett Track Club on Facebook.