Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Classic: Round One

The opening round of the Boys Division ALMOST resulted in the two biggest upsets in the history of the tournament as the top two seeds barely escaped being upset victims. #1 ranked St. Rose trailed 16th seed Brick by 13 points at the half when head coach Dennis Devaney finally arrived at the Ritacco Center after being held up in traffic for hours on the Garden State Parkway. Despite the deficit and the disappointment over a one-point loss to CBA the day before the Purple Roses rallied for a 62-59 win with Joe Quinn leading the way with 18 points. Next up for St. Rose is a quarterfinal date with Toms River East on Thursday. The Raiders edged Ocean 49-47.

Second-seeded Central has its strongest team in years but it took a controversial call in the final seconds for the Golden Eagles to finally find their way past #15 Brick Memorial 52-50. With the game tied and Central in control of the ball coach Mike Clemente decided to hold for a final shot but with fouls to give the Mustangs were called for a questionable intentional foul with just over five seconds left . Ibn Moye (28pts) they calmly hit both free throws for the winning points as the dejected Mustangs game effort fell just short. Central will now play defending champion Raritan in the quarterfinal round Thursday as the Rockets got past Southern
52-43 in their opening round.

The other quarterfinal round match-ups will find #3 Toms River North battling 6th seeded Toms River South…the Mariners beat the Indians on opening night less than two weeks ago. 4th ranked Point Boro, who was upset by Wall in the opening round last year, gained some revenge by beating the Crimson Knights this time around and they now play #12 Manchester, who disposed of fifth-seeded Lacey behind Marvin Brodie’s
27 points, including a pair of slam dunks.

The tournament resumes on Wednesday with the girls quarterfinals after an opening round which saw just one upset as #12 Manchester ousted fifth-seeded Toms River East 52-50. The Lady Hawks meet Shore Regional in the round of 8. Top-seeded and two-time defending champion Rumson battles Wall, #2 Colts Neck faces #7 Point Boro and third-seed Lacey meets Southern.

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's The Holiday Season

(Webmaster's note: Kevin will blog about the WOBM Christmas Classic while the games go on)

You won’t have me to kick around any more this year because this is my final segment until 2008…as a matter of fact the Hometown View is on hiatus until January 7th. I would like to tell you that I’m going on a well-deserved vacation to some exotic location but the truth is beginning Saturday I will be spending most of my time at the Ritacco Center. The WOBM Christmas Classic begins this weekend with all 16 girls’ teams playing their first-round games tomorrow and the boys doing the same on Sunday. After a couple of days off we resume on December 26th and go right through the 30th when the championship games will be played. Then it’s crash and burn for a couple of days and a feeble attempt to re-charge the worn battery.

With this being my parting shots for a couple of weeks I just wanted to take a moment and tell you what a privilege it is to be able to come into your home, car, workplace, etc. each day. Whether the subject is serious, humorous or frivolous I get to share my thoughts and it or not.

I was going to tell you my New Year’s Resolutions but instead will wait until I return and then disclose which ones I have already broken. However I do want to share some wishes I have for 2008.

* My son graduates from Penn State in May and after a 2- week vacation begins working for a pro sports team in his chosen
field of Sports Management. Best of all he gets health benefits and
tickets for his family.

* My 16-year old daughter decides then when she graduates from high
School she too wants to attend Penn State giving her father four more
years of excuses to turn back the clock and act like an idiot at college
football games.

* My wife finally realizes that while I don’t cook or clean, can’t fix or
do anything around the house, am never home and snore loudly I do have a lot of things going for me. However I need more time to share that list.

Finally….same things I’ve wished for the last few years. The Mets win the World Series, the Rangers capture the Stanley Cup, Penn State claim college football’s national championship, the Knicks’ get sold and somebody leaves me a beach house in their will. Is that too much to ask?

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's The Holiday Season

After hearing it from quite a few people over the last few days I know I’m not alone when I say it just doesn’t feel like Christmas is only a few days away.

I know the signs are everywhere….trees, decorations, lights and those lovely front-lawn inflatables. I’ve heard enough holiday music to last me a lifetime, every radio and TV commercial and newspaper ad is aimed at shopping and gifts, cookies and candy are everywhere and it seems like everyone is sending out cards with pictures of their children and pets. Of course the WOBM Christmas Classic tips-off at the Ritacco Center Saturday & Sunday and that’s something I directly associate with Christmas. If that’s not enough to remind you tis’ the season there is traffic…worse than ever. I was driving northbound on Hooper Avenue in Toms River around 5 o’clock last night and it took me at least 15 minutes to go less than a mile between Washington Street and Route 37…a trip that would usually take about 45 seconds.

Except for the fact that it’s not really cold all the other ingredients are there to remind you that Christmas is almost here so why don’t I feel it? I’m convinced that it has something to do with being numb over the fact that there’s no slow building to December 24th and 25th like there used to be. Years ago the Christmas season started when Santa Claus made his appearance at the very end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Now it seems like the “big guy” arrives in malls just after Halloween which has sort of become the unofficial start of the season. Just as we say goodbye to pumpkins and witches it’s hello to holly and wreaths with no time in between.

When I was younger just about everyone put up their tree within a week or two of Christmas and many didn’t decorate until Christmas Eve….it was the final act in getting ready for Santa Claus to arrive. Now you drive around on Thanksgiving and see trees in windows….why the rush? To me the best part was each day as you got closer it felt more and more like there was a true holiday spirit. Now we have pushed everything so early and so hard that Christmas Day is just the end of a two-month odyssey.

Heck…we might as well start playing “It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas” on July 4th next year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Positives In Sports

There’s so much negative in the sports world so I thought it would be nice to mention a few good things today…at least from a local standpoint.
Randy Holmes was a former star basketball player at Lakewood High School and last night came up a winner in his head coaching debut at his alma mater. The Piners rallied from 5 points down to start the fourth quarter to win at Central 65-63 in a battle to teams expected to compete for the Class B South championship. Holmes, who played his college ball at St. Peter’s, returned to Lakewood as an assistant to longtime coach John Richardson and was promoted to head coach when Richardson retired after last season.

On the girl’s side Central’s Meredith Parliman also collected her first career victory as the Golden Eagles used a big fourth quarter rally to win at Lakewood 48-42. Parliman was the middle school coach last season and only found out she’d be coaching the varsity last month. I’ve known her for years as she spends summers as a lifeguard on the 2nd Avenue beach in Seaside Park….my personal beach of choice.

Toms River North linebacker Zach Kane capped an outstanding high school football career by earning first team honors on the Associated Press All-State team. Kane is planning to continue playing football at the University of Miami.
A pair of his Mariner teammates collected third team honors…defensive end Austin Kugler and quarterback Anthony Penna. Also named to the third team were punter John Smicklo of Toms River East and Toms River South kicker Jake Delvento.

Point Pleasant Beach took a huge step towards winning the Class B Central wrestling title by knocking off defending champion Shore Regional 38-25 last night. The Garnett Gulls got big wins down the stretch from flu-ridden heavyweight Zach Fioretti and his cousin Taylor Fioretti.

So there you have it….a little time today to salute good things right here in Ocean County.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oversleeping On Tuesday

Random thoughts on a morning in which I overslept by 35 minutes and
thankfully was saved by my wife who woke up before I did:

It’s funny how most of us are on such a regimented time schedule that any diversion can kind of throw us off. Sleeping late meant I got out of the house behind schedule, stopped for my coffee later than usual and had to scramble once I got to work. Of course for those of you who commute and might have to catch a bus or train being late can have far greater repercussions.

I don’t really know Joe Scarpelli well, having only met the former Brick mayor on a few occasions. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison Monday for accepting bribes while in office and many I’m sure will look to “kick him when he’s down.” However Scarpelli was a pretty good public servant and a dynamic mayor for many years and certainly deserves some of the credit for creating the atmosphere which brought so much new business to Brick. Here’s hoping he does his time and is able to go on with his life.

As sports fans many of us rip professional athletes for their lack of loyalty and usually in the end following the money and caring little about the uniform. That’s what’s happening in college sports, but it’s the coaches not the athletes who are the ones not being loyal. The latest is Rich Rodriguez, who Monday accepted the football coaching job at Michigan. He leaves West Virginia University less than a year after he was courted by Alabama but turned them down thanks in part to a new contact at WVU. Rodriguez is a West Virginia native and said being a Mountaineer player and later a coach was all he ever dreamed about and there’s nowhere he’d rather be than Morgantown. However when Michigan came calling all that turned out to be talk and despite having a contract, despite his team having a bowl game in two weeks and despite recruiting players by saying he would not leave…he did just that. The hypocrisy of it all is that he leaves free and clear and the players can’t…unless they want to transfer and lose a year of eligibility.

The only bright spot is that young men get a good life’s lesson….the rich (as in Rich Rodriguez) get richer.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday's Random Thoughts

Random thoughts just a week away from Christmas Eve:

I’m not saying malls and shopping centers are empty but it sure does not seem like what you would normally expect the next-to-last weekend before Christmas. More and more retailers are saying on-line shopping is having a greater impact with people choosing to spend time on their computer rather than searching for a parking spot.

It’s easy to get caught up in the madness of the holiday season with everyone trying to make sure they get done with shopping and all the other stuff that goes along with this time of year. However it’s also good to pause and thank all the local people and companies that have given time and resources to various efforts to make the holidays something special for those less fortunate. From toy to food drives many do understand and believe it is better to give than receive and in turn they’ve received the ultimate gift…making a difference in the lives of others.

I was home by myself Sunday and really looking forward to watching the Jets and Patriots play in near blizzard conditions. What a disappointment it was to see that the worst of the storm was over by the time the teams took the field in Foxboro, Massachusetts because there’s nothing like watching great athletes completely humbled by Mother Nature.

Jackson Memorial’s Scott Winston and Southern’s Glenn Carson emerged as champions this weekend at the season-opening Beast of the East Wrestling Tournament at the University of Delaware. Winston won the 160-pound title and improved to 106-0 for his career while Carson claimed the 215-pound championship which is very impressive when you consider he was playing football just three weeks ago.
Jackson finished 4th out of 79 teams in the prestigious tournament which marked the debut on new Jaguars coach Doug Withstandley.

These are not good times for West Virginia football fans, like Crabs Claw Inn owner Sam Hammer. Just a few weeks after blowing a chance to play for the national championship they have lost their coach with Rich Rodriguez leaving for Michigan. Ironically the Mountaineers also lost their basketball coach to the Wolverines nine months ago.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Mitchell Report

I’m going to be very honest when I say I’m not sure how to react to what was revealed Thursday with the release of the Mitchell Report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League baseball. Many of the 85 names were ones we were expecting….Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Jose Canseco, Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Paul LoDuca and Lenny Dykstra. However the two names that are grabbing the headlines in this area are those of pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, who were among the 16 current and former Yankees named in the report.

In the hours since the report was released I have listened to and read at least a dozen opinions and they are as different as night and day. Some are calling this the darkest moment in baseball history while others dismiss the report as a waste of time and paper. Only time will tell what this all truly means but for now no player takes a bigger hit than Clemens, who is not only the best pitcher of his generation but among the greatest of all time.
If everything in the report is true than the “Rocket’s” incredible durability
well into his 40’s might have had a lot to do with steroid injections in his buttocks. His stature as a sure first-ballot Hall of Fame could very much be in jeopardy and he might take a spot right next to Bonds as the poster players of baseball’s tainted drug era. Clemens’ lawyer Thursday vehemently denied the charges that illegal substances were used.

Of course when all is said and done it’s possible the sources of the Mitchell Report might be exposed as less than credible and many fans say they really don’t care because what counts at the end of the day is performance. Of course that’s what got us into this mess to begin with.

On a more positive note it’s opening night for high school basketball and wrestling teams. Not that they don’t have their problems but a high school game is still pretty much pure in which athletes give their best to represent their schools and the name on the front of the uniform is more important than the one on the back. Here’s hoping for an exciting season filled with memorable performances.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Charity Basketball

After many years as part of the Central Regional School District, Lacey Township opened its own high school in 1981. As you might expect the two schools have developed a pretty good rivalry over the years in sports and tonight that rivalry finds them battling on the basketball court with the winner to be children. Staff members of the school districts will play a benefit game for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program. The game takes place at the Central Regional Middle School Gym beginning at 6:30 and admission is $3.00 or a new, unwrapped toy with everything going to the Toys for Tots program, now in its 60th year.
The co-ed game is expected to set new lows for basketball ability and an ambulance, complete with resuscitation equipment will be on site.
With the home court advantage Central has been installed as a 4 ½ point favorite by Las Vegas oddsmakers.

There will also be a benefit basketball game in Barnegat Saturday night as the local police take on the Pinewood Estates Volunteer Fire Company at the Brackman Middle School. Proceeds from the game will go to the Feal Good Foundation, which helps those first responders from 9/11 who have suffered in a variety of ways. The game tips off Saturday at 7pm and among those on hand to lend their support will be former Jets great Joe Klecko and former
Giant and Lacey star Keith Elias.

Next summer will be the 10th anniversary of the Toms River East American All-Stars winning the Little League World Series in Williamsport. The 12 players and coaches will team up for a continental breakfast fundraiser to help the East Little League on Sunday, December 23rd. All, including Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds and manager Mike Gaynor will appear at the fundraiser which will be held in the High School East cafeteria from 10am-1pm. Autographed baseballs and pictures will available for purchase.

You can expect some local people will be making a road trip to Penn State Saturday for the Nittany Lions basketball game against the University of Denver. That’s because the visiting Pioneers are coached by Pelican Island native Joe Scott. Scott in his first season at Denver after previously coaching at Princeton and Air Force. The Pioneers are 3-4 which is not bad when you consider they were 5-26 last season. The 41-year old Scott was a three-sport athlete at Toms River East and returns to Ocean County as often as he can during the summer months along with his wife and two sons.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WOBM Christmas Classic

The 24th WOBM Christmas Classic began for many high school basketball players Tuesday when they got to represent their teams and schools at the “Tip-off Brunch” at the Quality Inn of Toms River. This annual event has become one of the highlights and about 250 young men and women put on a very impressive display of eating with most making a couple of trips to the buffet line. Quality Inn General Manager Bob Van Bochove, who hosts the annual brunch reports a record 100 pounds of bacon was devoured along with enough food to feed a small or even large army. The great thing about being a teen-ager is that by the end of practice later in the day they had burned it all off.

Eating is important to the kids but so was the business at hand in which the pairings for the holiday basketball tournament were announced following Sunday’s seeding meeting at Klee’s Bar & Grill in Seaside Heights. That meeting saw the 16 Girls coaches get their business done is about half the time if took the Boys, which is a pretty good indication of what to expect when the 7-day, 54-game tournament begins on December 22nd and 23rd at the Ritacco Center.

St. Rose was awarded the #1 boys seed and will open up with 16th seed Brick, who was the top seed last year and had a very good season before losing their top players to graduation. Central, who has never won the WOBM Classic, grabbed the #2 spot and will face Brick Memorial in the first round. Among other matchups, #3 Toms River North will play Old Bridge and fourth-seeded Point Boro takes on Wall, who shocked the Panthers in the opening round last year on their way to the semifinals.

As for the Girls, Rumson beat Colts Neck in last year’s final and many seem to think a repeat is likely with the two Monmouth County schools returning a host of talented players. That group is headed up by Kate Miller, last years MVP and Colts Neck sophomore Brooke Hampton. Rumson faces Central in the first round with the Cougars playing Monsignor Donovan. 3rd seeded Lacey opposes Toms River South and #4 Shore Regional meets Old Bridge as part of the 8 opening-round games. The pairings and brackets are available by visiting

During Tuesday’s breakfast Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent Michael Ritacco was presented with the “Jim Ruhnke Award” for contributions to the tournament, which donates money to college scholarships as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Toms River Kindergarten Referendum

To those of you not living in the towns making up the Toms River Regional School District today’s referendum is of little consequence. If passed the lion’s share of the project would allow for the construction of a 20-classroom building and the entire district would introduce full-day kindergarten beginning with the 2009 school year. The referendum also asks voters to approve construction, improvements and upgrades to several other schools in the district.

I’m 100% behind the project for a variety of reasons…I believe all-day kindergarten makes complete sense, the extra classrooms and improvements are needed and available state aid makes the timing perfect for this referendum.

However my reasoning behind taking up this issue today is not about why I’m voting “yes” but rather my disgust at how some now portray every school matter in the Toms River District. Everywhere I go outside of Toms River I hear praise for Superintendent Mike Ritacco and the Board of Education for forward and creative thinking to get things done. Just a couple of weeks ago I sat with a successful professional who went to school in another district and he said it’s that kind of “outside the box” thinking that is badly needed in his town. Instead he watches the administration and school board battle time and time again with the students the big loser.

So why is it that some oppose Ritacco on just about any and every issue raised? The same people who criticized the Ritacco Center, indoor bubble and on-hold Wellness Center as being anti-education have managed to find fault in what’s being voted on today. My favorite is the charge that the December 11th date is being used because so many seniors have gone south for the winter and won’t be able to vote “no.” Never mind this is one of the few select dates allowed by the state and now is the time to grab the money they’re offering….what percentage of voters do you really think are gone from the area before the holidays?

Having a difference of opinion is one of our rights but those that constantly seek out the negative and never acknowledge the positive are not worth the time they’ve already been given. If you want to criticize Ritacco and school board go ahead…their big boys and girls. However don’t take it out on the younger ones because they can’t tell you to take a hike.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Thoughts

Random thoughts on a Monday just two weeks from Christmas Eve:

The winter sports season gets into high gear later this week as opening day approaches for basketball and wrestling teams. That means the 24th Annual WOBM Christmas Classic is just around the corner and the tournament tipped-off last night with the Coaches Dinner at Klee’s Bar & Grill in Seaside Heights. Coaches voted on how to rank the 16 boys and 16 girls’ teams and those results and the opening round pairings will be announced Tuesday during a breakfast at the Quality Inn of Toms River featuring players from all the schools.
Klee’s and the Quality Inn are among the two dozen sponsors vital to the success of the tournament which begins on December 22nd & 23rd at the Ritacco Center.

Deborah Heart and Lung Center is the only hospital in New Jersey entered in a national competition that could win them a $1 million MRI machine and they are asking for your vote. All you need to do is cast a vote or two for Deborah’s video at from now until the end of the month. Seems like a pretty small favor to ask considering that for the past 85 years Deborah has never billed a patient.

Toms River High School South will have a new football coach next season following Sunday’s announcement by Brian Wilkinson that he will not return after a seven-year run. Wilkinson, who played his high school football at South guided teams into the state playoffs three times and won a division title in 2002. Coming off a 2-8 season he is stepping down as coach to finish work on his Masters and pursue other educational opportunities.

Brian happens to be a friend of mine and I will miss working with him as he’s one of the most cooperative coaches you’ll ever find. He and his staff worked long and hard and at times the results didn’t match the effort…just last week they held a very successful college night for shore conference players that drew some 400 athletes and 40 colleges.

How ironic is it that as the Patriots pursue perfection the only undefeated team in NFL history could at the same time go winless? With three weeks left New England is 13-0 and the Miami Dolphins are 0-13

Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday Fun

As my kids and I continue to celebrate the holiday season, I'll be taking them on the Santa train at Allaire State Park this weekend. This is a tradition for us now. Santa actually gets on the train and sits with each child long enough to hear a wish and take a picture. The train ride lasts about 10 or 15 minutes, and if you don't have tickets in advance and you get there early enough, you can usually score a couple of tickets if you're willing to wait a train ride or two. Or, you can just watch the train and your kids can greet Santa before or after each train ride.

I'm in the process of planning some cool stuff to do with the boys on winter break, which I'll share with you soon. Please feel free to share with me your ideas for that long, long winter break! It's a challenging time for some of us, as we look to keep the kids occupied in the cold, frosty weather until they can go back to school after New Year's!

5 Star Dinner

I don’t usually make the “A list” when it comes to invitations to fancy events so I would like to share with you the menu for a luncheon I attended Thursday.

The Hors d’ Oeuvres included Amish Pretzel Crusted mini Crab cakes, Dim Sum Pork, Sesame Crusted Seared Tuna and a Sushi Station. Entrees were
Grilled Petit Filet Mignon Oscar, Crispy Seared Salmon with Risotto Cakes and White Truffle Oil, Oven Roasted Chicken Breast stuffed with Prosciutto
And an Eastern Shore Seafood Sachet which included a Rock Lobster Claw,
Shrimp, Sea Scallop and King Crab with Fennel. The desserts sounded so good I refused to even go in the room where they were displayed over fear that I would not be able to pass. Let me add that the presentation of everything was simply marvelous and the taste matched that.

By now you obviously want to know where this fine dining experience took place. That would be the Jackson Center of the Ocean County Vocational Technical School which hosted a Salute the Media Luncheon Reception as a way to thank the local media for their positive coverage of the school district. And I forgot to mention this gourmet lunch was prepared by students from the Culinary Arts Program from the Brick center, one of six located throughout the county. Before eating we got a tour of the Jackson center in which we saw cabinet making, students learning how to service cars and some doing collision repair….we were then entertained by some wonderful singers from the Performing Arts Academy which is another part of the Vocational Technical Schools.

All in all it was very impressive…a description that describes the entire program which prepares students for jobs in over 30 different fields.

Thursday was a perfect example of why it’s so tough to not gain weight over the holidays. I somehow landed an invitation to the Holiday Celebration at OceanFirst Bank at their main branch on Hooper Avenue in Toms River. I managed to pass on what looked like a wonderful array of food but did take part in wine tasting. The question I was most asked was, “what are you doing here?” which again proves I’m not an “A list” invite.
After leaving there I spent some time with my father at Saint Barnabas Assisted Living’s Holiday reception for families in Lakewood. A very nice event and a good way to end a busy but fulfilling day.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ocean County Stormwatch

The first signs of winter have certainly appeared over the past few days and they mean different things to different people. For some the first snow flurries immediately put them in the holiday spirit while it’s a sure sign that ski season has arrived. Others fall into a depression knowing that weeks of cold weather are coming and summer is a long way off….I guess I would fall into that category. However for the purpose of today’s segment what snow and cold weather means to us at the radio station is that Stormwatch season is here. That is our program in which we get the word out to you when schools and other activities are closed, postponed or delayed due to bad weather.

For the past couple of years we have been implementing a computer-based program and each year we tell you that the day is coming in which you will not be able to get information to our listeners without access to the internet. To help with the transition we worked with groups and organizations during this period who did not have computers or anyone who could handle this task.

However that period is over and starting now the only way you can
be part of Stormwatch is via the computer and our websites.

All schools, groups and organizations regardless of their size must be registered in our Stormwatch to get their closing and cancellations announced on the radio and posted on our website. That is one of the beauties of this hole thing….you do not have to wait to call in during a certain period and the information can be viewed any time of the day and night. Of course we will still make the announcements on the air like we’ve done since WOBM began broadcasting on March 1, 1968. However knowing that you have busy lifestyles the information is also there for you to see when you need it.

WOBM’s Stormwatch program is FREE and open to all groups and organizations. However you must register in advance and it only takes five minutes to fill out the application which you can do on line by visiting and finding the Stormwatch section. Should you have problems call Joyce during normal business hours at (732) 269-0927. For those organizations that can’t access a computer we suggest a phone chain as the best way to communicate with one another.

Change can be hard to accept and deal with but in this case we’re making them as a way to serve the majority of our listeners.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Be Kind To The Coach

There is no question that being a coach on any level is more demanding now than ever before and you would not be exaggerating to say it nearly killed John Murphy. The 59-year old does appear to be recovering nicely from a heart attack he suffered just hours after being reinstated as the girl’s basketball coach at Barnegat High School Monday night. That action came following a week in which Murphy was criticized by some parents and players during a Board of Education meeting, resigned under pressure the next day and finally at a special meeting was reinstated after receiving overwhelming support from a large crowd in attendance.
However the stress of the entire affair proved too much for Murphy who was rushed to Community Medical Center early Tuesday morning after suffering a massive heart attack. After having a stent implanted he is doing well enough that he told a school official later in the day he can’t wait to get back on the court. Here’s hoping that happens sooner than later.

Obviously the stress and pressures that go with being a coach don’t always result in things as bad as this…or do they? Just because you don’t see the outward signs doesn’t mean they are not there because coaching today is challenging and can have negative effects on the entire family. Parental pressure has gotten way out of hand as far too many think their son or daughter is the next great college, Olympic or professional athlete. In the old days there might have been some second guessing from the stands but today parents think nothing of openly criticizing coaches and even complaining to the media. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to bite my tongue while listening to some overbearing parent tell me what a lousy coach their child has. However I now get a sense of satisfaction when I tell that parent the target of their lack of affection just happens to be a friend of mine. Then I watch them twist and shake and respond with something like “well it’s not like there a bad person but I just question their decision making.”

To be honest that’s part of being a fan and we all do that. However no coach….from volunteers working with 5-year old soccer players to high school coaches deserves to be vilified like some parents do today. For pennies an hour that man or woman often gives everything they have to try and get the best out of your child and team. Sure they make mistakes but so do you so why not just give them a break.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Back From A Long Weekend

Some random thoughts and notes after a weekend in which I broadcast three high school football championship games and then took Monday off to clean my garage. And you thought your life was exciting:

You can debate what the true meaning of Christmas should be all you want and I’m not here to start that religion versus commercialization argument.
However what you can’t debate is that all children should be able to open a present or two and for that reason holiday toy, clothing and food drives need and deserve your support if you are in position to do so. My personal favorite is “Kevin’s Kids” and no I am not the Kevin whose name is attached to this wonderful program. That would be Kevin Burger, an administrator in the Manchester Township School District, who is the founder and along with his wife Peggy the heart and soul of a holiday drive in its 25th year.

This is the final week that they are accepting donations for this year’s campaign in which the goal is to make sure Santa Claus visits all the children of Manchester by providing toys, clothing and even food. At this time they are asking for monetary donations which can be dropped off at any Manchester Public School or mailed to the Middle School on Ridgeway Road. Checks should be made out to the Manchester Middle School with “Kevin’s Kids” in the memo section.

This Saturday Santa’s elves, made up largely of staff members of the school district will head to local stores to shop and fill the wish lists of local children and then Sunday a wrapping party will take place which is a true example of organized chaos and one of the most moving examples you will ever see that it is better to give than receive.

For more information on Kevin’s Kids you can call (732) 350-5900.

Belated congratulations to Toms River North, Howell and Asbury Park for winning state high school football championships this past weekend. What’s truly noteworthy is that none of the three were that highly-regarded in the beginning of the season yet they managed to win Shore Conference division titles along with state sectional crowns. The North Mariners finished a perfect 12-0 and were the only undefeated team at the shore.