Distance Swims, Artists-Writers Game, Ellen’s Run

The sportiest weekend day of the summer
Alec Sokolow, an Academy Award nominee for “Toy Story,” was the traditional turnip designee in last year’s game. Durell Godfrey

Saturday promises to be the sportiest weekend day of the summer inasmuch as four events here, namely Fighting Chance distance swims, the Artists and Writers Softball Game, a Hamptons Hoops Academy basketball clinic with the Brooklyn Nets’ Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and the Hampton Cup junior tennis tournament at Hampton Racquet, a benefit for Project Most, are vying for attention.

Not to forget that Ellen’s Run, now in its 23rd year of raising money that’s been spent here for breast cancer prevention, treatment, and counseling, is to be held Sunday at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s Parrish Hall, at 9 a.m.

Back to Saturday, two-mile, one-mile, and half-mile We Swim for You swims to benefit Fighting Chance, a free cancer counseling center in Sag Harbor, are to be held at Sag Harbor’s Havens Beach from 6 to 9:30 a.m. East Hampton Village Ocean Rescue Squad members will be on hand to assure that the swimmers are safe.

The Artists-Writers’ beefed-up offerings will include a throw-bat-run skills challenge for 5 through 11-year-olds from 10:30 to noon, a home run challenge for registered hitter-pitcher combinations from 1 to 2, batting practice from 2 to 3, and The Game, from 4 to 6, a starting time two hours later than in the past.

The Artists lost to the Writers last year by a score of 9-6. It was the second win in five encounters, however, for the Writers, who still hold the lead in the modern fund-raising era that dates to the late 1960s.

Mike Lupica, a Writers’ stalwart, limped off the field last year with a pulled quad muscle, but the victory, he said, had allayed the pain. “I’m icing it all the way back to Connecticut,” he said, beaming, as he left the after-party at Dopo.

The cradle of The Game is said to have been Wilfrid Zogbaum’s front yard in Springs, where, beginning in 1948, antics ran rampant, and Philip Pavia, the late heavy-hitting sculptor, smashed to smithereens a grapefruit painted to look like a softball. Though when it comes to verisimilitude, Leif Hope, The Game’s impresario, has come to prefer a turnip.

One never knows who will show up. Dick Cavett, Carl Bernstein, Paul Simon, Chevy Chase, Alec Baldwin, Gerry Cooney, Bill Clinton, John Irving, Jay McInerney, Kristin Davis, Rod Gilbert, Josh Charles, and Pelé, among others, have in the past.

Also beginning at 10:30 Saturday is the Hamptons Hoops Academy’s clinic with Hollis-Jefferson for 7 through 16-year-old boys and girls at the Sportime Arena in Amagansett. The clinic is to go from 10:30 to 1:30. A “family fun” event at the Clubhouse, in Wainscott, which is to include mini golf, bowling, a game arcade, and bocce, is to begin at 4.

A flier put out by the Academy’s Nick Worrall says that United Way of Long Island is to benefit from the $150-per-child fees. “Scholarships will be available,” the flier says. Prospective clinic-takers can register with Worrall by calling 631-394-5796.

The junior tennis tournament for boys and girls from 5 on up at Hampton Racquet, a tourney that is, as aforesaid, to benefit Project Most, is to be contested from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to a flier, the $40 entry fee is to include a barbecue. Non-players can partake of the barbecue for $25.

Julie Ratner, who launched a foundation after her sister, Ellen P. Hermanson, died of breast cancer almost a quarter-century ago, said during a conversation at The Star this week that she’s proud of the fact that virtually all the money raised by Ellen’s Run and associated events has stayed here, the Ellen P. Hermanson Breast Center at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital being the chief result.

“I feel it’s my responsibility to give back to the community that supports me,” she said. “I think this is a beautiful community, and I love it that people come out to help others here, whether you know them or not.”

While research obviously was critical, “this is where you need the money, where it can impact and transform lives. And that’s what we’ve done. We’ve paid for two state-of-the-art tomosynthesis 3-D mammography machines, one at the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center and one for the satellite center in Hampton Bays. It’s the same equipment you’d expect to find at Memorial Sloan-Kettering or Weill Cornell.”

“This year,” she added, “we have several goals. One was to fund 10 chemotherapy chairs at the Phillips Cancer Center, which is being built in Southampton. They’re $10,000 each, and we’ve funded all of them. Another is to boost Ellen’s Well, our outreach program to reduce anxiety that includes the services of a full-time oncological social worker.”

In that regard, she was happy to announce that through State Senator Ken LaValle’s efforts, “we’re due to receive a $75,000 grant from the state for Ellen’s Well. Because of that we’ll be able to fund so many more services for women.”

There once was some concern that traffic would prove a dampener for East Hamptoners driving to Southampton for the race, which originally had been held at East Hampton High School.

“But, as we all know by now, there’s nobody out and about on Sunday mornings,” Ratner said. “There’s no line at Starbucks, it’s a clear shot. It takes 20 minutes from my house in Northwest. And when you arrive, we’ll greet you with open arms and lots of love.”