Shared from the 12/4/2016 The Daily Gazette eEdition

Out of tragedy emerges hope for young athletes

After losing his son in a car crash, Scott McIntyre starts program to help kids participate on travel teams


Tyler McIntyre




Jeff Wilkin TYPE A TO Z

Tyler McIntyre saw the joy in sports. “He played baseball,” said his father, Scott McIntyre of Colonie. “Every time he got a hit he stopped and gave a thumbs up and celebrated with his parents, stopped on the sidelines and then he ran to fi rst.

The 6-year-old also kicked around large white and black infl atables. “His favorite part of soccer was snack time, so I wouldn’t say he was a big athlete,” McIntyre said.

Tyler died in a car accident on Feb. 18, 2012. The boy was a passenger in a car McIntyre was driving, a car that collided with another car on Route 29 in the town of Milton.

“It was a very tough time in my life and it was very diffi cult to go back to the same life, you just can’t go back to the same life,” McIntyre said.

A longtime school athletics coach in the Capital Region, McIntyre decided to begin a sports scholarship program in his son’s name and honor. But he wanted to do something more.

That “something more” started last summer, with the creation of Athletic Haven Inc. It’s a non-profi t organization that offers sports coaching and training to young student athletes in the Capital Region area. Low-cost clinics, lessons and free travel teams are all part of the deal; McIntyre is the group’s president and managing director.

“In a nutshell, we’re trying to provide athletic opportunities for disadvantaged kids or under-served kids in the Capital Region,” said McIntyre, sitting on the basketball fl oor at the Open Arms Church on Curry Road in Rotterdam.


Travel teams are big deals these days, but McIntyre is concerned many can’t come up with the cash needed for spots on these teams. Soccer teams, he said, can cost athletes and their families $1,000 or more per season.

Everything costs money — the uniforms, league fees, tournament fees, a small salary for coaches. Kids without a chance to travel before, McIntyre said, will have a chance with his group.

Athletic Haven, with one autumn fundraiser already in the books, plans to fi eld a travel basketball team for boys ages 10 through 12 this spring and summer. Tryouts will be held at Open Arms Church, 2714 Curry Road on Monday, Dec. 12 and Monday, Jan. 9, from 4:45 until 6:45 p.m. both days. McIntyre expects the team will begin play in March.

Part of the plan is to make sure some kids don’t get left behind. McIntyre knows it happens.

“People used to say all the time Michael Jordan is the best basketball player in the world and other people would say, ‘You know what? Go to Rucker Park in New York City and you’ll fi nd three guys as good as he is,’ ” McIntyre said. “Why didn’t they make it? Why did they get left behind? What happened along the way?”

McIntyre, a 1995 graduate of Schenectady High School who coaches the boys’ junior varsity basketball team at Voorheesville High School and modifi ed girls soccer and varsity girls’ softball at Shaker High School, said players who join Athletic Haven teams — soccer, baseball and softball operations are also planned — are also going to receive lessons about the world. They’re going to have to line up a sponsor before they lace up their sneakers.

During the season, players will earn $5 “tickets,” awards for communication, teamwork, passing the ball, leadership and other things that are part of a winning team. The tickets won’t be worth real money; at the end of the season, if a player has earned $50 for example, the sponsor will donate real dough to the player, which will then be given to charity. Each sponsor will pay no more than $100.

“It engages the kids; it gives them ownership,” McIntyre said. “This is their donation. It’s not an Athletic Haven donation, it’s not a Price Chopper donation ... when kids have ownership in something, they respond much better.

“It also teaches them the benefi ts of giving back,” McIntyre added. “It teaches them you’re receiving something for free, pay it forward, give to the next person. Hopefully, they’ll take that lesson with them, aside from the lessons we’re teaching them in-game — communication, teamwork, sportsmanship. These are the things we’re teaching them on the court and these are all bigger than sports. These are all things they can take with them the rest of their lives.”


McIntyre, who will not coach Athletic Haven’s fi rst team, has room for 15 players. In addition to helping out underprivileged kids and teaching them the value of helping out people coming up behind them, he wants to keep kids interested and involved in sports.

That means encouragement during early adolescence.

“How many times have kids heard in the car from their dad, ‘I can’t believe you made that mistake!’ instead of dad saying, ‘It was so fun to watch how hard you played today!’ ” McIntyre said. “And that’s common. I’ve heard it on the sidelines after games, I’ve heard it on the sidelines during games while I’m coaching.”

Everyone will have a chance with Haven, and they’ll get a chance to improve.

“Our teams are going to be average, they might not even be that good,” McIntyre said. “It depends on the level of player we get, but we’re not turning away people because they’re not good. That’s our job. We need to coach them so they are good.”

The organization’s fi rst year has a few thousand dollars in the bank, money that will also be used during the second sports season. McIntyre wants to give a kid encouragement and hope during one athletic campaign; he would hate to later tell the same player there are no funds for a second season.

In addition to fi nancial challenges, the Athletic Haven All-Stars — team name — will not have a home gym. And parents will have to give their children rides to practices and games. But Mc-Intyre is all in for a service he believes is needed in the Capital Region.

Kids will know Tyler McIntyre too, once scholarships in the boy’s name are presented.

“He always wanted to help,” McIntyre said of his son. “He was just that type of kid.”

Do you have an idea for a future “Type A to Z” profi le? Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at or @jeffwilkin1 on Twitter. His blog is at www.dailygazette. com/weblogs/wilkin.

‘We’re not turning away people because they’re not good. That’s our job. We need to coach them so they are good.’
Pictured at Open Arms Church in Rotterdam

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