From the day George Kirby first toed the mound for Rye in 2014, the Garnets have won 53 games and lost eight.
By Mitch Silver
From the day George Kirby first toed the mound for Rye in 2014, the Garnets have won 53 games and lost eight. They’ve won a pair of league titles, took their first Sectional crown since 1984, and made an historic appearance in the State Final Four. Currently, they’re 9-3 and chasing another banner to put up in the gym. It’s not all George’s doing, but he’s certainly helped.
The winning thing has been a Kirby specialty. This winter, he started once again for the Garnets’ basketball team — sometimes at small forward and sometimes at shooting guard — and helped lead the team to a 15-win season and the championship of Rye’s own Michael Ice Tournament, prevailing over archrival Harrison in the process.
Little wonder, then, that the Rye Lions Club and the Rye High Athletic Department have jointly named George Rye’s Athlete of the Month. The award qualifies him to join the other monthly winners in the race for Athlete of the Year, an honor that will be announced in June at a dinner at The Osborn.
His baseball coach, Michael Bruno, puts it this way: “George is a senior captain who has been a varsity starter since freshman year. In four years he’s matured into one the best starting pitchers in New York State. More importantly, he has blossomed into a confident young man, someone the young players in the baseball program idolize.”
We asked George how he feels to be so honored. “It means a lot to receive this award,” he said. “It feels great being chosen and having my name associated with such a great organization.”
When he graduates, George plans on studying business & finance — specifically sports management — at Elon University in North Carolina, where he’s been given an athletic scholarship. Unless the 2016 Major League baseball draft intervenes, that is.
Another question, George: What prepared you for the kind of success you’ve had in school?
“My parents have always urged me to go the next step and be the best you could be. Fortunately for me, Rye is the kind of school, a great school, that pushes you to succeed.”
And which are your favorite subjects? “I probably enjoy history and science classes the most. I’ve learned a lot from Mrs. Giaquinto, my SUPA teacher (Syracuse University Project Advance, a college-level course in Forensics). It’s not enough to know the facts, you have to make ethical choices…to be a good person.”
To that end, George is a member of the Breast Cancer Awareness Club and, along with his basketball teammates, has volunteered at the Port Chester Nursing Home. He’s also a veteran of the Polar Plunge, a December jump into icy Long Island Sound to raise money for the Special Olympics.
“To be a good person.” It sounds like George is well on his way.