Sun Tackle Beach Cleanup in Niantic

The sun and cool breeze at Hole in the Wall beach was a mere sideshow during the Connecticut Sun’s visit on Wednesday, June 8th. The Sun participated in a beach cleanup as a part of the WNBA’s Green Initiative to support a healthy and clean environment.

Appropriately named, the Hole in the Wall beach in Niantic, Conn. can be reached through a short tunnel under railroad tracks. Also connected to the beach is the entrance to the Niantic Bay Boardwalk which stretches over a mile along the shore. Recently, act of vandalism including graffiti on 20 of the Boardwalk’s benches created a need for help. Sun head coach Mike Thibault got wind of the recent events and coordinated the cleanup event with David Putnam, Director of East Lyme Parks & Recreation.

Sun players and coaches were all split up into groups to tackle projects all around the beach area. Among the many tasks completed during the day included planting flowers in front of the beach entrance, laying down new mulch for the gardens, planting a new tree, picking up trash on the beach, and several players including Sun guard Renee Montgomery repainted the vandalized benches along the Boardwalk.

“We are having a lot of fun,” Montgomery said on the experience. “We are getting work done too but we are having a good time with it.”

The Sun received a lot of help during their stay from the local girl’s AAU basketball team, the Connecticut Cobras. Seven players all chipped in with the Sun to complete the day’s tasks.

“It’s just tremendous,” said Putnam, who is also the Cobra’s head coach. “It’s great that people are able to interact with them and especially the younger kids from my AAU basketball team. They’ve been excited for this for about a week now.”

The beach cleanup, along with the Walk for Autism and Habitat for Humanity, highlight the Sun’s recent as the team continues to branch out aid to local communities.

“It’s just one more thing for our team to give back to the people who support back,” said Thibault, who led the efforts on shoveling mulch and watering flowers. “We have a lot of fans out in this community who are season ticket holders and this is a way to participate and do more things for them.”

Written by Maxx McNall