NYPD and FDNY Face Off in “Battle of the Badges” at Maspeth High School

By Justin Joseph | [email protected] 

Credit: Justin Joseph

On Saturday the NYPD and FDNY gathered together at Maspeth High School, to compete in their third annual “Battle of the Badges” volleyball match aimed to commemorate the fallen heroes lost in the line of duty throughout the years.

This year’s theme was “Fidelity to Duty” which the event’s organizer and FDNY coach Gerry Matacotta explains means a lot to the force.

“We do our work in the community and we also have fidelity to our fellow officers, so this does both of those things,” Matacotta stated about the event.

Matacotta started this event three years ago after he successfully had a Battle of the Badges event with police and fire departments from New England and New York City at the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Massachusetts. He then brought the idea to New York City after seeing the success and the positive turnout of the event and has continued the tradition ever since.

Matacotta loves the aspect of bringing the community together in order to showcase the fun side of the police and fire departments and to let people know that they are humans as well, who can have fun from time to time. For a small fee of $ 10 per person, with kids being free, the community gathers together in order to support their local city heroes.

“This community is very pro police, very pro FDNY because they know the importance of these first responders,” Matacotta said.

The president of the NYPD volleyball team, Officer Malcolm Brissett-Ortiz, also stresses the importance of the event for the officers and fire fighters as well.

Credit: Justin Joseph

“It’s good for the mental health, for the well-being, to take them away from work for a little bit,” Brissett-Ortiz said.

“Work is stressful sometimes and to have something for them to put them off of work is great to see.”

Joe Armenio, Director of the AAU Urban Initiative, helps to sponsor the event and raised money for the game to take place the past three years.

“Anyway we can help we always try to get involved. We would make a donation for them and they would use it how they see fit,” Armenio said.

The NYPD earned another victory for the third straight year beating the FDNY three sets to one by the scores of 25-16, 22-25, 25-16 and 26-24. The crowd was electric throughout the entire night, with sections of people cheering for family members and even strangers who were participating in the event. It was another success for the Battle of the Badges but Matacotta  never wants anyone to lose sight of the true spirit of the event. He never forgets what makes this day so special to all those who attend the event every year.

“We remember our fallen heroes, whether they are police or fire [fighters]… we never forget them. In other words, even though we are playing here, even though this is a happy day, we don’t forget the people that permitted us to be here by giving up their lives.”

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