Thanks to the women of an earlier generation who pushed hard for equality when it came to sports in educational environments, the girls of the current generation have just as many sports teams at their schools as boys do.
Having grown up in the 1980s, Heights’ Leslie Korkgy-Valenti realized that she was among that first generation to have equality in sports teams thanks to the Title 9 legislation passed in 1972 that banned sexual discrimination in schools for academics and athletics. Although equality exists for kids today, she found there still weren’t any sports-based environments dedicated soley to girls sports, particularly softball.
This led the softball player, former teacher and softball coach to start her own clinic devoted to girls softball instruction.
All Starz, based in Lodi, also hosts camps and clinics all over the area. This past week All Starz put on a four-day long softball camp at the Hasbrouck Heights Little League facilities for girls in grades 3 to 6 and 7 to 10.
Korkgy-Valenti, who has been doing private instruction for the past 16 years, started the All-Starz in December 2009 and since then has hosted various camps in the area. One of the most recent ones was at the Ironbound Little League Facility in Newark which was sponsored by Subway Restaurants in conjunction with Little League Urban Initiative. It was set up thru the Little League Baseball and Softball headquarters in Williamsport, PA, she said. Korkgy-Valenti said overall has more than 200 members involved with All Starz.
Her strategy takes on a classroom type approach and she has created a place for softball players to go to learn the fundamentals of the game breaking it all down so that students can focus on the elements such as batting, catching and pitching. She will host clinics that soley focus on sliding or bunting . All Starz works with students of all skill levels and abilities. “We get the honor of teaching them and teaching them right,” she commented.
Korkgy-Valenti works with a team of assistant coaches and guest instructors all who help work with the kids. One of her guest instructors is Scott Luna, a former semi-pro ball player who is head baseball coach at Paramus Catholic. All-Starz also offers baseball instruction for boys and she has coaches such as Luna, who coaches hitting and and Tommy Rowe, who also played professionally, coaching pitching.
Korkgy-Valenti was a teacher in Hasbrouck Heights for eight years and also coached softball. At the time she was there she started a freshmen softball league and a middle school league which she said have since been disbanded. She is proud to see that the teams have a come long way since she left having recently made it to county and state. She left the school district about five years ago when her son was born.