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LI athletes thank their dads for Father's Day

Six Long Island athletes penned letters of love, thanks and appreciation to their dads as Father's Day 2015 approaches.

RUI AND TIFFANIE YANG

To Rui Yang From Tiffanie Yang, Half Hollow
Photo Credit: Richard T. Slattery

To Rui Yang

From Tiffanie Yang, Half Hollow Hills badminton

Dear Dad,

Over the past four years, badminton has quickly become one of my greatest passions. Everything that I've accomplished so far is because of you. You've been there for me through everything, from teaching me how to hit a birdie in our driveway to flying with me to China so I could train with a professional. You've helped me become the athlete I am today, and without you, I would have never had the opportunity to play with one of the best badminton teams on Long Island. Through athletics and academics and everything in between, you have been my biggest supporter. You were the one to drive me from a match to a music lesson to a review class. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to participate in all of my extracurricular activities.

Whenever I was apprehensive about competing against a tough team, you were always the one who told me to focus not on winning, but on playing my best. If I ever lost a match, you'd help cheer me up, and we would laugh about the silly mistakes I made. You always say how I'm the only person in our family history to actually succeed at a sport, and I am so happy that my accomplishments have made you so proud. Thank you for always pushing me that one extra step and for helping me discover something that I truly love. Happy Father's Day!

Love, Tiffanie

CARLOS AND JAKOB RESTREPO

To Carlos Restrepo From Jakob Restrepo, Sachem East
Photo Credit: Handout

To Carlos Restrepo

From Jakob Restrepo, Sachem East wrestling

Dear Dad,

First and foremost I'd like to thank you for helping me become the man I am today. Without your guidance I would not have excelled in the classroom, on the mats, or as an individual. You selflessly put my needs before yours, and always made sure I accomplished my goals.

Sure you're tough on me, but it's only because you want me to do the best I can, in every aspect of life. I hope to be half the man my father is someday. More importantly your faith in me has helped my confidence.

When it came to wrestling, you always believed that I would be a New York State Champ and wrestle for a Division I school. To me this was just a dream that wasn't entirely real to me. Your encouraging words and guidance helped me realize my goals. Happy Father's Day dad! I love you!

Jakob

NICK FANTI SR. AND NICK FANTI JR.

To Nick Fanti Sr. From Nick Fanti Jr.,
Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

To Nick Fanti Sr.

From Nick Fanti Jr., Hauppauge baseball

Dear Dad,

I wanted to thank you for all the time you have spent with me over the years helping me realizing my dream of being drafted to play professional baseball. You have made countless sacrifices for me with all the time you spent with me traveling all over the country and to the Dominican Republic. Because of you and mom I've been given everything I need to live the best possible life. I thank you guys for that and I've had tons of fun with you. I know at times it's not easy to smile with some things that happen in our lives but I take a lot of pride in brightening up your day whenever I can. Whether it's going out to lunch at Millers or bringing these cool awards home from school and baseball, I know it makes you proud. The accolades I received this year and throughout the years wouldn't have been possible without you as a mentor and surrounding me with the right people to help me succeed. I appreciate everything you do for me. You're my best friend. Happy Father's Day.

Love, Nicholas

DAN AND SARAH CORNELL

To Dan Cornell From Sarah Cornell, Clarke softball
Photo Credit: James Escher

To Dan Cornell

From Sarah Cornell, Clarke softball

Dear Dad,

Thank you for always being there for me. We share a common love of sports whether it's watching the Islanders game or college softball, there's always something to talk about. You have worked with me to develop my softball skills through hours of practice. You've taught me to leave everything I have on the field. I love spending every weekend in the summer with you driving me to a softball tournament. I wouldn't be half the athlete I am today without you. You're my best friend and my coach. I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day!

Love, Sarah

LOU AND NIKKI ORTEGA

To Louis Ortega From Nikki Ortega, Centereach (Middle
Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

To Louis Ortega

From Nikki Ortega, Centereach (Middle Country) lacrosse

Dear Dad,

I can't even begin to thank you for all of the things you've sacrificed in order to get me to where I am in my lacrosse career. You've put in so many hours in the backyard, practicing with me into the night when all I could see was the little back light on and the yellow of the ball, while hearing you say "just one more drill." Every game, I knew I could look over to the sideline and see my number one fan cheering me on. I know next year when I'm at Notre Dame you'll still find a way of seeing all of my games and you'll call me up after to critique my game. Dad, you've challenged me and pushed me to what I thought was my limit, only to discover that I can always do more.

Whenever I step onto that lacrosse field, I not only play for myself, I play for you. I play with all of my heart for the father that taught me more than just the X's and Os of the game, who motivated me to be better than I was the day before. Today you're celebrated for being an incredible father, but you deserve to feel honored like that everyday. Thank you for all of your love. Happy Father's Day!

Love, Nikki

ALAN AND JACORI TEEMER

To Alan Teemer From Jacori Teemer, Long Beach
Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

To Alan Teemer

From Jacori Teemer, Long Beach wrestling

Dear Dad,

Happy Father's Day! I am very thankful to have a Dad who is always in my corner. You are always there for me to give me advice on anything that life has to offer. You are the one that motivates me and pushes me to the limit to achieve my goals on the wrestling mat and in the classroom. The past two years have been a great experience and I am glad that we shared it together. I am looking forward to the next three years and hope to continue to do great things with you by my side. Thanks again for all the sacrifices that you make to help me and my siblings be the best that we can. It is greatly appreciated. Have a great day! You deserve it.

Love, Jacori

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