For seven seasons Anthony Pino did a great job directing “The Marty Pino Division” of the East Boston Youth Basketball League. In April of last year he accepted the position of Executive Chef at the Cunard Tavern on Orleans Street.
“This was a big loss for the League,” said Michael Gaeta, league president.
Gaeta was not sure how to fill the void. Before the season he approached two former league participants and asked them to take over.
“It turned out to be a great choice as life-long friends and East Boston natives Mario Santos and Elijah Chisolm accepted the challenge and have done an outstanding job this year,” said Gaeta.
The first order of business for Santos and Chisolm was to move the league to the recently renovated Paris Street gym. They got the word out in the community and soon had eight full teams.
Each Saturday Mario and Elijah greet each player as they enter the gym and make them feel both welcome and comfortable. The gym is full of life as many players and spectators arrive at 11:00 a.m. and stay until closing. The Gym becomes a destination for the day thanks to these two young men, their great coaching staff, and the dedicated staff at the Paris St. Community Center.
Both Mario and Elijah are well known by the kids at the Center as they also run the non-profit East Boston Basketball Club which regularly sponsors community events.
They both are committed to making the community that they grew up in a better place. Mario also coaches East Boston Pop Warner. Growing up both young men participated in East Boston Youth sports including the EBYBL. Each is a graduate of East Boston High School as well as Framingham State College where Elijah also played for the basketball team. Mario is currently working at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Elijah works at the Embassy Suites Hotel.
Players and coaches alike appreciate the pair’s enthusiastic approach to their roles. They are dedicated to the program and are setting a great example for the youth in the community.
League Director Michael Gaeta summed it up very well when he said, “Mario and Elijah have done an outstanding job this year. We are so lucky to have them.”