Monday, December 21, 2009

White Christmas

For those of you who wanted a white Christmas….you got it and then some.
Up to two feet of snow fell in Ocean County over the weekend and the digging out continues from an epic storm that was much more severe here then in the northern part of the state. Most schools are closed today as they needed more time to clear busses and plow parking lots while local towns still have a lot of work to do, especially on side streets. However give credit where its due as many of the main roads were in very good shape yesterday morning. After spending about two hours shoveling we got out early in the afternoon and it was a pleasure hitting some stores because they were pretty empty. Of course this weekend was the last before Christmas and the snow storm was not what retail stores and restaurants had in mind but here’s hoping they get some of it back this week.

About the only beneficiaries of the storm were private owners of snow clearing equipment, some of whom have been waiting years to get at least some of their investment back. They did this weekend and considering winter does not officially begin until 12:47 this afternoon many are probably optimistic that this could be the year they actually make money.

We made the decision early in the afternoon on Friday to postpone the first round games in the 26th Annual WOBM Christmas Classic which were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the Ritacco Center. With the cooperation of Athletic Directors and others we have now moved those games to Tuesday and Wednesday. The Boys play tomorrow beginning at 3pm with defending champion Point Boro meeting Lacey in the Toms River North gym and at the same time in the Poland Spring Arena Southern will take on Wall. There will be six other boys’ games tomorrow and then on Wednesday the Girls play their first round games starting at 3pm. The complete schedule is available at (

Some things never change. The New York Jets always find a way to lose an important game that they need to win.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sorting Out The Tiger Woods Mess

My biggest problem with this entire Tiger Woods mess is trying to separate fact from fiction and no matter how much you read, listen and watch you’ll likely come away with more questions than answers. Last night I just happened to be home and my wife and I watched back-to-back entertainment shows on TV. I don’t remember the names but you know what I mean…those 7 and 7:30pm programs that are pretty much 30 minutes of Hollywood sleaze. On more than one occasion we looked at one another and just laughed at what we were hearing and seeing. It’s almost comical because the hosts of these shows at times try and come off like this is real news and they are real newscasters. I’m sure even they don’t know if what they are reporting is true or just rumor, innuendo and speculation. What I can tell you is this. We’ll be subject to non-stop Tigermania until Woods himself gets in front of a camera and addresses the issues head on. Of course in watching TV last night I was told that Tiger is either getting his yacht “Privacy” ready for a sailing with one of his alleged gal-pals, or might be heading to France while his wife Elin is contemplating writing a book or going on “Oprah.” Remember though that was last night and tonight will bring more stories for sure.

A couple of local notes that have a bit more validity:

Mark Parent, who spent some 13 years as a major league catcher, will be the 8th manager in the 10-year history of the Lakewood BlueClaws in 2010. The
Phillies announced yesterday that the 48-year Parent old will replace Dusty Wathan, who guided the BlueClaws to their second South Atlantic League Championship in September and has moved up in the organization.

Several weeks ago Manchester Township’s Jimmy Lawson was a guest on our Thursday Night Football Show and said he was planning to go to Rutgers University and wrestle for Coach Scott Goodale even though there were many schools interested in him as a football player. Lawson has had a change of heart and has announced he’s headed to Monmouth University to play football for Coach Kevin Callahan and the Hawks.

Kudos to the Central Regional High School Board of Education for finally finding a way to replace the 53-year old bleachers on the school’s football field. Better late than never.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WOBM Christmas Classic

To some the WOBM Christmas Classic is just another one of those sporting events that appears during a crowded holiday calendar. Sure it’s been around for a while (26 years), has a lot of basketball teams (32) and is played in a large venue (The Ritacco Center in Toms River). However if you ask some of the participants they might tell you the highlight is the “Tip Off” Brunch which took place yesterday at the Quality Inn of Toms River. Some 268 people, most of them hungry teen-agers consumed plates of eggs, potatoes, French toast, bacon and enough sausage links to form a line between the Ritacco Center and back. Okay that’s a bad joke, one of several I told during the event which officially begins our annual basketball tournament. Actually we really got underway on Sunday night when the 32 coaches gathered at Klee’s Bar & Grill in Seaside Heights for dinner and the task of seeding the teams which determine the pairings. They left without knowing the results which I announced during Monday’s breakfast.

For now the headlines go to a little of the old and a little of the new. Defending champion Rumson-Fair Haven, winners of 5 of the last 8 WOBM titles, are the top seed in the Girls Division and many expect they will battle #2 Southern in the final for the second straight year. The Bulldogs begin their bid for the title against Lacey Sunday at 6:45pm in the Poland Spring Arena which is just a half-hour after Southern tips-off with Monsignor Donovan across the hall in the North Gym. Wall & Point Boro round out the top four seeds in the field of 16.

On the boys side its newcomer Monroe who grabs the top spot and will meet another first-year entry Barnegat on Saturday at 6:45pm in the final game of the opening day. St. Rose is the #2 seed and will face rebuilding Toms River North on Saturday night while Manchester and Toms River East fill out the top four spots. Defending champion Point Boro plays Lacey at 1pm Saturday in the first of the 52 games over 7 days that will be played before a champion is crowned on December 30th. The complete schedule and brackets are available at

Walt Peto, who retired recently from the Toms River Regional Schools, received the “Jim Ruhnke Award” during the breakfast for his contributions to the tournament. Peto has been involved as a coach, Athletic Director, parent and now tournament staff. Assistant Superintendent Michael Citta welcomed the players and coaches to the event, which moved to the Ritacco Center from Ocean County College in 2003.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kevin's Kids

There is a pretty decent chance you have heard about Kevin’s Kids which was founded and is run by Kevin Burger, an administrator in the Manchester Township School District. It’s the most extraordinary example of the goodness that can come during the holiday season and brings together what’s now hundreds of volunteers united in their desire to make the Christmas season a bit brighter for those less fortunate.

It all started 27 years ago when a teacher told Burger what one of her first grade students said when asked what gifts he had received for Christmas.
“Santa doesn’t come to our house” was the youngsters reply and from that story Kevin’s Kids was born. Burger and his wife Peggy may be the architects but they have plenty of support both inside and outside the Manchester School District. It begins months in advance when they identify those in need of help during the holiday season. Over the years getting names has not been a problem but the real challenge is to fill the wish list of families, some of whom are asking for basic needs like winter coats in addition to games, toys, bicycles and more for their children. Fundraising takes place throughout the fall and is made up of everything from school events, promotional nights at restaurants, direct donations and more. Then came the very organized chaos of this weekend with began with a shopping spree on Saturday morning to Toys R Us and Target. School busses filled with volunteers armed with shopping lists flocked to the stores and hours later those items were taken to the Manchester Middle School where squares were marked on the gym floor with the names of the families to be helped. Sunday a crew would arrive to do all the wrapping and what a sight to see…about 200 volunteers wrapping presents for those they don’t even know. What has always struck me is the volunteers come from all walks of life. Many of course are teachers and staff plus their families from the school district but there are so many others from the Wall High School Ice Hockey team to local senior citizens, from residents Pat and Lori Barry to Kim Peto, who started helping when she played basketball at Toms River North and is now a teacher and coach herself.

Last night after all the volunteers had left the parents who benefit from this outpouring of generosity arrived to collect all the goodies which they will put under Christmas trees so their children don’t have to say “Santa doesn’t come to my house.” The final numbers from this year’s effort…Kevin’s Kids assisted a record 385 families by collecting $43,000 to shop plus throw in another $20,000 in donated items. All of those who helped in some way truly know that it is better to give than receive.

Friday, December 11, 2009

House Of Hope

It seems like every time you turn around these days you see or hear about an organization collecting toys, food, clothes and more for those less fortunate during the holiday season. The good news is there are so many efforts to help others….the bad news is there are so many in need right here in Ocean County. The Hope Center is a non-profit organization founded by the Clergy Association of Greater Toms River which benefits both Christian and Jewish congregations. Their mission is to provide resources, referrals, food and targeted financial assistance to clients as they work to overcome a current life crisis.

Located at The House of Hope in Toms River, since opening 18 months ago the Hope Center has assisted more than 2000 families and individuals. An agency of the United Way of Ocean County they have trained staff and volunteers who help clients find out what county and state social service programs might be available to them. Much of their focus centers on issues like housing, utilities and urgent needs.

Now that you know a little about them here is their dilemma. Their funds have basically been depleted and exhausted and as I speak they have about 300 children on their Christmas list. The greatest need is to help the pre-teen through 17 year old age group and the Hope Center is asking for donations of cash/checks or gift cards. If you can make a donation by next Wednesday (December 16th) it would be greatly appreciated as the following day is their Christmas give-away. You can drop off a donation at The House of Hope, 253 Chestnut Street in Toms River or call them at (732) 341-4447.

Like I said in the beginning…there are many worthwhile organizations seeking to make the holidays just a little bit brighter for others…the Hope Center is one worthy of your consideration.

On an unrelated note…The Shore Sports Network All Ocean and All Monmouth County football teams have been announced and can be viewed at Special congratulations to Players of the Year Nico Steriti of Toms River East and Jared Allison of Matawan along with Coaches of the Year Charlie Diskin of the Raiders and the Huskies Joe Martucci. The teams were selected in conjunction with the head coaches in the Shore Conference.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wrapping Up The Season

Follow-up to yesterday’s segment on our family history with putting up and decorating live Christmas trees. First I want to thank those who told me hearing about the problems we’ve had with tree stands and trees falling over reminded them of their own woes. Kristine from Point Pleasant said their solution was to screw a hook into the wall and wrap heavy-duty line around the tree and tie it to the hook which now stays in the wall all year long. By the way we did decorate the tree last night and it looks marvelous.

Central Regional High School wrestling Coach Mike Bischoff announced this week that the school’s annual JV Wrestling Tournament will be re-named in honor of Jerry Golembeski, who was the school’s first wrestling coach and also long time Athletic Director. The tournament will be held on Saturday, December 20th and Golembeski will be honored at the event. It’s a fitting tribute to a man who gave much of his adult life to the Golden Eagles.

Southern Regional High School has announced plans for its 21st annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony which will be held on Sunday, February 21st at the Holiday Inn of Manahawkin. This year’s inductees are Dan Rodman, Stephanie Rieser, Neil McCallum, Lauren Lewis, Anthony Campanile and Coach Tony Sermarini. The 2002 Group 4 State champion Golf Team will also be honored. For ticket information you can contact Sue Sharkey at the high school or via email at

Our friends at Wallach’s Farms on Route 9 in Toms River will be getting a visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus and some of their friends on Saturday from 9am to noon. Kids are invited to enjoy free pancakes and drinks while dining with Santa at Wallach’s.

The Shore Sports Network officially ends its coverage of the high school football season tonight with the final “Thursday Night Football Show” at Boston’s Restaurant in Toms River. The show can be heard on 1160 WOBM AM from 6-8pm and also on line at Tonight’s finale will center on the announcement of our All Ocean and All Monmouth County Football Teams as well as players and coaches of the year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Real Vs. Fake

Nothing against artificial Christmas trees but in our house it’s real or it’s not a tree. I’m sure just about everyone at one time or another has had a live tree but you may have forgotten the challenge that sometimes comes with putting one up. We in the Williams Family have had a somewhat checkered past when it comes to the real deal but continue to write new chapters as opposed to taking the easy way out and going artificial.

For quite a while the problem was always the tree stand. You might remember that years ago they pretty much made only lightweight ones which were fine for a tree with a small or average base. However we would usually end up with Douglas-firs in which the base did not fit into the stand and often I would have to chop away at the bottom with a saw or even an axe to make it smaller. We would then squeeze it into the stand but usually there was simply too much weight and alternative measures were needed. The height of what seemed like annual adventure came in 1992 when our children were 7 and 1. We finally got the tree up and decorated but in the wee hours my wife Jane awoke to the sound of the tree crashing to the floor. It was utter chaos as we first had to clean the mess and then try and get it back up and re-decorated. We managed to do this without waking the kids and everything seemed in control. I showered, dressed and left for work but just as I was backing the car out of the driveway Jane opened the door and screamed to me “it fell again.” I could go on and on but my eventual solution was to nail the tree stand right into the floor through the carpet.

Things have improved dramatically because they now make these heavy duty stands which can hold a redwood. The last few years have been smooth sailing but this year we ran into a different obstacle. We put our tree up last week but usually wait a day before decorating. Jane was concerned that the tree was not taking any water so after 4-5 days and fearing a fire hazard she insisted we return the tree which we did last night to the place where we’ve purchased them for about 20 years. The owner explained that because the Douglas-fir she purchased had been cut that day and came right off the truck it would not need or take any water for a week or two but it didn’t matter. We now have a Fraser fir standing in our living room which will be decorated tonight…I think. Artificial may be easy but it comes without any adventure plus it doesn’t smell like a Christmas tree. Maybe next year we should try for the Festivus Pole.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Comfort Of Routine

Have you ever given serious thought to how much of our daily life is based on a routine that rarely changes except during holidays, vacations and the like? This certainly applies to anyone who wakes up in the morning to an alarm clock because that’s the start of the routine and sets off a series of events that are pretty much the same all the time. Assuming you have a job that forces you to leave home or have a job that centers around getting everyone else out of the house your morning time often depends on you performing a certain function at a certain time. Its amazing how your entire day can get thrown off if something develops which alters your routine by even just a few minutes. We have become conditioned to this routine and can become frazzled, especially when outside forces throw everything off.
It can be something like cutting yourself while shaving, a button popping on the shirt you were going to wear or the dreaded car not starting. Just a few minutes delay and your internal clock is a mess because again we depend
and are stuck in this routine.

Those who commute in the morning could miss their bus or carpool or just as bad get stuck in traffic that they usually avoid by leaving early. Parents getting children off to school may have to scramble to get them to the bus on time. There are countless examples of where just a few minutes can throw you out of balance and it could have an impact for the rest of the day.

I can’t tell you how many people have said to me that listening to the Hometown View is a reminder of where they need to be in terms of their morning routine. Some say it’s their own version of an alarm clock as they get out of bed when I’m finished or walk out the door to work. They also blame me when I’m not here and there is no segment to serve as their reminder.

Anyway I’m locked in to a routine that gets me to my Dunkin Donuts pretty much within five minutes of the same time every weekday morning. Heck I don’t even have to order my large coffee with cream and two splendas because when I pull up to the drive-thru my regular guy simply says, “pull around boss.” He knows and I know and you know….routines may sound boring but they are a part of our life.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

For most of us the two dates that will forever remain etched in our minds are September 11th and December 7th although the younger generation may need a reminder on the later date. Today is the 68th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which claimed the lives of 2,400 and the next day led President Franklin Roosevelt to declare war on Japan as he proclaimed “December 7th, 1941, a day which will live in infamy.” Today is a bitter reminder for those that survived the attack on the US naval base in Hawaii and the anniversary is traditionally marked by the return of some of them although sadly that number is dwindling. There will be a day in the not-to-all distant future in which there are no survivors still alive but December 7th will indeed always hold historical meaning and purpose and should not be forgotten.

While it may have looked pretty it was a shame that the final game of the high school football season was played in conditions that were more suited for snow angels than football. Brick Memorial, who had scored 37 points just four weeks earlier in a win over East Brunswick, could not get anything going on a field covered by snow and lost the rematch to the Bears 9-0 Saturday. Neither team completed a pass during the Central Jersey Group 4 championship game at The College of New Jersey as heavy snow and high winds made even the simplest task very challenging. However as the saying goes…both teams had to play in it and Mustangs coach Walt Currie did not use the weather as an excuse. Our coverage of high school football on the Shore Sports Network culminates this week on our final “Thursday Night Football” broadcast at Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar in Toms River when we announce our All Ocean and All Monmouth County teams.

Lacey Township High School will host a free College Showcase of High School Football this Saturday from 9am-3pm. The day-long event features a morning combine for high school players in grades 9-12 which is limited to the first 250 athletes and following that there will be a College Day presented by the Shore Coaches Football Foundation. Some 30 Division 2 and Division 3 colleges are expected to have representatives on hand to meet with athletes and parents between 1-3pm and talk about their programs, admissions, financial aid and more.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How An "Average Guy" Celebrates The Holidays

In the current issue of Men’s Health magazine their “Average Guy” feature
centers on men and our thoughts on holiday spirit. Among the findings:

• 76% of us deck our halls
• 64% are not particularly religious
• About 40% of us hang the same stocking we did as young boys
• 1 in every 5 guys hang mistletoe
• About 2 in 5 put that burning Yule log on our TV screens at some point
• 40% of us would rather decorate than exchange gifts
• For about 25% of us it means something to have the best decorated house on the block
• At the same time 1 in every 10 guys bust their neighbors about stepping up to the plate and improving their decorations
• The average guys electrical bill goes up about $113 during the holiday season…if he switched to LED lights the increase would only be $1.30
• Thomas Edison in 1880 was the first man to string Christmas lights outside
• There were more than 28 million live Christmas trees sold in 2008 but 64% of men prefer artificial trees. Bah Humbug to that
• Almost 8 of every 10 men add some additive to their live tree in the hope of making it last longer.
• Over 3200 guys are hospitalized each year with injuries suffered during decorating with falling from a ladder the most common cause of those injuries
• 85% of men claim they will decorate more than ever this year, despite economic woes.
• Finally if I were the Sherriff in town 8% of guys would be subject to fines. That’s the number who plan to keep their holiday decorations up until February.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stormwatch Season

WOBM is many things to many people and while the world of radio has changed greatly since we first went on the air in 1968 one thing that remains is Ocean County will likely turn to us first during bad weather for storm-related information, including closings and cancellations. As we approach the winter season I am as a public service spending a moment this morning to alert you to changes in our Stormwatch program. This is especially important for those who are enrolled in the program as well as those wanting to find out how to get the word out during inclement weather.

If you have listened to this station during winter mornings with bad weather you know what it’s like…well you know somewhat what it’s like. Shawn and Sue will often spend a good portion of their time telling you what’s closed, cancelled and delayed. In the old days this was done after we fielded hundreds of phone calls and as Ocean County grew this was no longer a practical way for us and you the listener. We have now gone to a web-based program which had glitches in the past but has been updated to what’s now a great 24/7 service to all.

Let me break this down for three distinct groups. First if you are already a participant in our Stormwatch program you should have recently received an email with instructions on how to verify your account on our new page. This requires your organization to change your log-in information in order to access your account. Obviously this is important because if you fail to update the information you will not be able to get on and report your status when we get out first winter storm. Second for those organizations that are not part of our program then all you need to do is visit On our home page about half way down you will see Ocean County Stormwatch and go to where it says “click here for full information.”

As for listeners seeking information there of course will be two ways for you to know whether schools and others are closed or delayed. You can visit our web site 24/7 as once cancellations are reported they are posted. Or of course you can tune in to Shawn & Sue starting at 5am with the information updated throughout the day. I will tell you that not every detail of every cancellation will make it to the air but on line you can give a bit more information. Either way we’ll be there for you this winter like we have for more than 40 years.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Tiger Woods Story

The recent story involving golf mega-star Tiger Woods brings up the issue of what separates public life from private life. Since the story first broke just about everyone has drawn some kind of conclusion as speculation has grown that Woods might have had an affair which led to domestic violence with Tiger himself on the receiving end. Who can’t picture in their mind Woods’ wife Elin with golf club in hand chasing him down the driveway. Tiger gets in his Cadillac Escalade and just as he begins backing up she smashes the club into the backseat window on the driver’s side. He floors it and moments later crashes into a fire hydrant and you know the rest of the story. Or do you?

Tiger, who is a very private person even in the best of times, says this is very much a private family matter. He didn’t exactly say that in public but rather in a release that was posted on his web site that nobody believes he wrote but rather approved. He is now holed-up in his palatial estate in a very exclusive gated community just outside Orlando, Florida. Woods was to host his own tournament this coming weekend in California but Monday it was announced he would skip the event while he recovers from cuts and bruises from the accident. Of course most believe that was just his way to avoid the cameras and numerous questions that would have come with a public appearance. So far Tiger has also refused requests from Florida State Troopers to answer their questions but at some point he may have no choice.

Of course this story has been on page one and all over the TV and radio not because there was a minor car accident but rather reports of another woman, infidelity and possible domestic violence. That’s the kind of stuff the golfing great has managed to avoid while building a bullet-proof image but the crows are circling and looking to feast on an ailing Tiger. You can be sure he’s been talking with those in his inner-circle and he can try to insist it’s all private but unfortunately he’s not only a public figure but it’s an adoring public that has helped make him a billionaire.

The truth is we love flawed athletes and we’re anxious to give them second chances, i.e. Alex Rodriguez, Michael Phelps, and Michael Vick. Yet we have disdain for those who don’t beg for our forgiveness but rather hide behind a story nobody believes like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. Which category will Tiger end up in…only time will tell?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Back After A Long Weekend

After what was a long holiday weekend for many it’s back to work or school today…depending on how much shopping you did over the last few days today might feel more like a vacation than the weekend.

The Jackson Memorial High School Athletic Department will hold their Fall Sports Awards Night this evening and induct Ashley Eure as their newest member into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. A 1991 Jaguars graduate, Eure was a three-sport standout but best known for his ability on the soccer field where he earned All-County, All-Shore and All-State honors and helped Jackson win the Group 4 title in 1990. Eure also played basketball and spring track and would later attend Temple University and play soccer for the Owls. Tonight’s Awards Night is open to varsity letter winners only and their parents and will take place in the Fine Arts Auditorium.

Had my first opportunity to broadcast a football game from Jackson Liberty High School on Thanksgiving Eve and what a tremendous facility. They can probably seat more people than any other place in the area and with the locker rooms right under the bleachers and a first-class press box it’s just a great setting for a football game. Special thanks to Lions head coach Tim Osborne for the hospitality and help in broadcasting the game on the Shore Sports Network.

Speaking of our football broadcasts we will be doing two championship games from The College of New Jersey this weekend. Friday Night on the Shore Sports Network we’ll carry the Manasquan-Matawan Central Jersey Group 2 Final and then Saturday we’ll return to TCNJ as Brick Memorial defends their Central Jersey Group 4 title against East Brunswick at 3pm.

The Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual Holiday Luncheon on Thursday, December 10th at the Holiday Inn of Toms River. The event will also find Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County receiving the Chamber’s “Season of Giving Award” for all they do to make life better for others in our community. For information and registration you can call the Chamber office at (732) 349-0220.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Favorite Holiday

To me it’s without question the best holiday of the year and maybe more than ever a day we should try to enjoy and savor. Thanksgiving celebrates all things good in life while of course reminding us about the sad realities that it’s not that way for everyone. There’s no real commercialization, you don’t have to worry about gifts and for most of us features the three F’s…family, food and football.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful day for so many reasons. Loved ones travel from near to far to reunite with their families and often renew traditions that have been passed down from one generation to the next. For some the day will start by taking in a high school football game as there are more than a dozen in the shore area alone, including long time rivalries Toms River South versus Lakewood and Neptune against Asbury Park. Others may chose to not watch but play a little touch football as they work up an appetite and then rationalize that it’s okay to overeat. Food will come in all directions and you will try and remind yourself that it’s not a sprint but a marathon. I always start by saying I’ll go easy on the appetizers but in truth I’ll be pretty much shot before the turkey is even sliced. Turkey of course is the day’s staple but many will offer a diverse menu that will include lasagna, ham and more sides than you can count. My favorite is stuffing with sausage…a real healthy offering that is part of the reason the average American will consume about 4,500 calories tomorrow. Are you below or above average?

Eating is not done in the form of a meal but stages and takes hours which gives you time in between to watch football on TV, including traditional games in Detroit and Dallas. Both games might be awful but who cares…they are just reasons to sit on the couch and loosen your belt. By the time the evening game featuring the Giants kicks off many will be working on desert or even leftovers. Then of course there are those who will end this great day early to get ready for Black Friday…some will begin their shopping just after midnight.

You can have the savings….I’ll take our greatest holiday tradition. It may be harder than ever to give thanks for our blessings but we should and I will.
So Happy Thanksgiving…my favorite holiday of the year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Living With Rain

I can’t tell you officially but it sure seems like we’ve had a lot of rain this fall and it makes me wonder how anyone can live in a place like Mobile, Alabama which is the rainiest city in the country. They get about 67 inches of rain annually and average about 59 rainy days during the year. Of course many of you thought Seattle, Washington was the wettest place in the U.S. but they actually get less rain then we do but they do have 226 cloudy days over the course of an average year. On the other side you have Las Vegas which receives only 4 inches of rain in a year.

Anyway to kind of get back to my point it sure seems like we’ve had a lot of wet days in the last few months and it really has a major impact on the mood of most people, including yours truly. I hate starting my morning by running out to the car in the pouring rain like I did this morning. I pull up to the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts and as I open the window to order the rain is coming in to the car and the same when you pick up your coffee. It’s just a giant inconvenience and not the best way to start your day. The other thing that strikes me is how dark it is and it sometimes stays that way for the entire day. It’s really depressing and you often fall into this state of lethargy…isn’t that why people say “it’s a great day for staying in bed.”

On the other hand when the sun is shining you want to get up and get moving. You have that extra bounce in your step, whether at home or at work and it definitely affects your mood in a positive way. I really enjoy weekend days with sunshine, even in the winter. Put on a pair of shorts and go the gym in the morning, get a cup of coffee and head to the ocean. Sunshine is like a giant energy bar while the rain is like that feeling you have after eating way too much at a meal…you just want to take a nap.

The real dilemma is how to keep moving on a day like today when the weather is dark and dreary. The answer is to simply rise above it, put on a happy face and forge ahead. Or you can simply pull up the covers, ignore the alarm clock and go back to sleep. Good day for watching old movies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Random Thoughts

Random thoughts on the Monday before Thanksgiving:

Brick Memorial is the only Ocean County team among the five from the Shore Conference who will be playing for NJSIAA sectional football titles in a couple of weeks. The Mustangs will look to defend their Central Jersey Group 4 title when they meet East Brunswick on Saturday, December 5th
at The College of New Jersey with kickoff at 3pm. TCNJ will also host the Middletown South-Monroe game that same day at 11am and the Manasquan-Matawan sectional final on Friday, December 4th (7pm). Toms River East and Lacey lost their semifinal games over the weekend.

If you went or attempted to go to the movies this past weekend you probably spent some time searching for a parking spot. That’s because people flocked to the theatres in record numbers to see “New Moon,” the second installment in the “Twilight” saga. The movie took in more than $140 million over the weekend, the third biggest opening ever behind “The Dark Knight” and “Spider-Man 3.” Second at the box office was another new move, “The Blind Side” which took in $34.5 million. We saw the movie, which is based on the real life story of Baltimore Ravens rookie Michael Oher, an uneducated and poor black teenager from Memphis, Tennessee who is taken in by an upscale white family. Oher became a football star in high school and later the University of Mississippi. The movie has some slow moments but is inspiring and a true rags-to-riches story well worth the price of admission.

One of the best things about this week is that college students have or will be coming home, many for the first time since summer. One of the worst things about this week is that college students have or will be coming home, many for the first time since summer. As a public service…be prepared, especially if they are freshman. You might wonder if they are the same kids who went away….the truth is they are not.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Preview

Toms River South makes its first-ever appearance in a boys soccer group final tonight when the Indians take on Clifton in the Group 4 Championship game at The College of New Jersey. Coach Ed Liebe’s squad has become the “cardiac kids” of soccer with last-second and overtime wins highlighting their state tournament run. In tonight’s 5:30 match-up they meet a Clifton team that has not allowed a goal in it’s five tournament victories and has reached the Group 4 final for a third straight year.

On the subject of soccer how can you not be impressed with what’s been taking place at Monmouth University. The Hawks outlasted Big East champion Connecticut in a shootout Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before more than a thousand fans on The Great Lawn in West Long Branch. Monmouth next faces Ivy League champion Harvard Sunday in Cambridge, Massachusetts where a win would propel them into the final 16 teams left playing in the nation. By the way, the Hawks will lose only one senior to graduation so there should be more good times in the future.

The NJSIAA Football Semifinals are set for this weekend with Lacey, Toms River East and Brick Memorial the only Ocean County teams among the 12 from the Shore Conference still alive for sectional titles. Lacey takes a 7-game winning streak to Timber Creek tonight in a South Jersey Group 3 matchup while the undefeated Raiders battle Egg Harbor Saturday afternoon in a SJ Group 4 game that will be played on the turf at St. Augustine Prep. Defending champion Brick Memorial looks to turn the tables on Howell when the teams meet Saturday night in a Central Jersey Group 4 semifinal…the Rebels winning a regular season duel 37-27 four weeks ago.

Our Shore Sports Network will broadcast tonight’s Central Jersey Group 2 battle between Manasquan and Rumson-Fair Haven. Kickoff is 7pm and you can hear the game on 105.7FM, 1160AM or at

The Cross Country season concludes tomorrow with the running of the Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park. Among the local runners to watch is Toms River North’s Joe Kotran, who won the Group 4 championship last weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Ocean County College Athletic Hall of Fame

The Ocean County College Athletic Hall of Fame inducted its latest class last night at a dinner at Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood. Denise Stusnick Rosetto, Rene Roncin Nani. Kerrie Haskamp Farkas, Danielle Riebe Rosinski and Malcom Reed bring the number to 35 of former Viking athletes honored for their contributions while wearing the Green and White.

The committee also saluted its first Team of Distinction, the 1985 Women’s Field Hockey squad that gave OCC it’s first-ever National Championship.
13 of the 17 players from that team were on hand last night along with Hall-of-Fame Coach Sue Stusnick, who traveled from Florida to reunite with the players who 24 years ago beat Becker College of Massachusetts to win the title. Stusnick year in and year out produced great Viking teams but unfortunately the sport was dropped because there were not enough schools that fielded teams in the Garden State Athletic Conference.

As I have for the previous five ceremonies I served as Master of Ceremonies and some 150 people turned out to honor the former OCC greats. College President Dr. Jon Larson welcomed those in attendance and Athletic Director Ilene Cohen presented the new members with their awards which welcomed them into the Hall of Fame. Those wishing to nominate a former athlete, coach or contributor for consideration in the future can do so online at

The results of WOBM’s Biggest Loser competition are in and congrats to Account Executive Mike Mangan, who not only lost the most weight (21lbs) but also dropped the highest percentage of his original weight to win the first prize. Yours truly came in second with 18 pounds dropped in 7 weeks. Among others, newscaster Jason Allentoff shed 18 pounds and Sue Moll, lost 12 pounds. We all lost weight and had a lot of fun doing it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tales From The Playoffs

The Toms River South Boys Soccer team had its end-of-season banquet last Thursday but there was a slight problem…it wasn’t the end of the season.
On an evening that is usually filled with awards and honors all of those in attendance were really more interested in what would happen the following day when the Indians would play Lenape for the South Jersey Group 4 championship. South, in customary fashion would score a late goal in regulation and then prevail in overtime to claim the sectional title. I say in customary fashion because since tournament play began late last month this team has shown an uncanny ability to score dramatic goals late and I mean very late to win games. Last night the cardiac kids of soccer found themselves on the other end but responded anyway and are now a win away from the state Group 4 title…something unthinkable just a couple of weeks ago.

Memorial Field in Neptune was the site of a Group 4 semifinal between the Indians and their cross town rivals Toms River North. The Mariners had won both regular-season meetings on their way to claiming the Class A South title and entered last night’s game with a 16-2-1 record. North took a 1-0 lead but Dan Crashewsky’s goal and two assists gave South a 3-2 advantage and it stayed that way for much of the second half. However the Mariners used late-game lightning to send the game into overtime when Tanner Sica scored with just 22 seconds left in regulation. How would the Indians respond to the situation of their opponent carrying momentum into overtime? Their fans would not have to wait long to find out because Crashewsky, who has performed like an All-Star player in the post-season
scored less then two minutes into overtime to send the maroon and white into a delirious state. Crash, Steven Petrosino, John Nogiewich & Sean Casey now have one game left this season and that is Friday night when they face Clifton in the Group 4 Championship game at The College of New Jersey. Don’t think everyone at Toms River South is happy with this fact…as a matter of fact they’ll be some disappointed young ladies. You see while the Indians are playing this “ultimate game” they’ll be getting ready for the Homecoming Dance. They’ll have to excuse their soccer playing dates for missing pictures….hopefully they can make it in time for the last dance.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Playoff Time

80 teams from New Jersey high schools will converge on Monsignor Donovan High School today for the 5th annual Gateway Toyota Academic
Challenge. The participating schools will come from seven counties to take part in what’s become one of the largest academic competitions in the state.
Since 2005, Gateway Toyota of Toms River has donated $25,000 in support of the event with the sponsorship money used to run the tournament and also
provide scholarships for the winning teams and top students.

Four Ocean County soccer teams have won state sectional titles and look to take another step towards overall group championships when they take the field tonight. Much of the attention will be focused on Memorial Field in Neptune, the site of the Group 4 semifinals. At 5pm the Jackson Memorial girls will face Lenape and following that at 7pm it’s an all-Toms River battle
for a spot in the boy’s championship game as North takes on South. The Mariners swept both regular-season meetings on their way to the Class A South title but the Indians are riding a wave of last-second victories in tournament play. Meanwhile the Point Boro girls are playing Hopewell Valley at 5pm today at Toms River North in the Group 3 semifinals.

It’s been an incredible season for the Monmouth University men’s soccer team and they begin the next journey on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Championships. The Hawks are coming off winning the Northeast Conference Tournament and are currently ranked 8th in the national rankings. Monmouth has drawn Big East Regular Season champion Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA’s with the game to be played on the Great Lawn Thursday at noon. The winner gets Harvard in the second round.

Freshman Derrick Russell collected his first college dual victory to help the Bucknell University wrestling team defeat North Carolina after losing close matches to Virginia and Virginia Tech earlier in the day at the ACC Challenge in Chapel Hill. Russell, wrestling at 125 pounds, is a former standout at Jackson Memorial High School.

Was anyone surprised to hear Governor-Elect Chris Christie say Monday that New Jersey’s fiscal situation is worse then even he imagined? Sounds like even rougher times are ahead.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Musings

After viewing the damage Mother Nature did to some area beaches it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of money to get them back in shape. So much sand moved that it looked more like snow with boardwalks and roads covered and what was truly amazing were the piles that resembled drifting snow banks. I had to walk up what appeared to be about a six foot
hill just to get on the 2nd Avenue beach in Seaside Park Sunday as this nor’easter really pounded the coast. There were many people who rode over to see the effects of the storm and I’m sure plenty checking on summer houses. By the way I understand the importance of collecting revenue but enforcing parking meters on a Sunday morning in November is greed….plain and simple.

Sometimes you just have to wonder what people are thinking. Yesterday I stopped at a local convenience store to get a cup of coffee and I was greeted by a young girl in a cheerleading outfit who was tagging outside the store.
She was not representing a school or youth team as it appeared to be some independent group and there was no indication of what exactly she was raising money for. However that was not what struck me buy rather she was very young…maybe 5-6 years old, had her hair done like one of those beauty contestants and was wearing a mid-driff which exposed her stomach. So am I a prude when I say that I didn’t find it cute but rather sleazy?

The Ocean County College Athletic Hall of Fame will induct several new members Wednesday during a dinner at Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood. The newest class of Hall of Famers is made up of swimmer Kerrie Haskamp Farkas, field hockey and track standout Rene Roncin Nani, former basketball players Malcolm Reed & Danielle Riebe Rosinski and three sport athlete Denise Stusnick. In addition the 1985 National Championship Field Hockey team will be saluted. I will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies for the event and for information you can call (732)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bring On The Playoffs

Congratulations to the Jackson Memorial Girls Soccer team as they captured their first-ever state sectional title on Thursday. Dana Costello’s second-half goal, her 27th of the season and the play of freshman goalie Sydney Lavan led the Jaguars to a 1-0 win over Manalapan and the Central Jersey Group 4 championship. Next up for Jackson is a Tuesday date with Lenape in the Group semifinals. Scheduled to play for Boys titles this afternoon are Toms River North and Toms River South and because both games will be played on turf they may actually take place despite the awful weather. The Mariners will host Rancocas Valley in the Central Jersey Group 4 finals while the South Indians head to Lenape where the South Jersey Group 4 crown is on the line. If both Toms River teams win they will play one another in the group semifinals next week.

The Southern Regional Girls Volleyball team is a win away from defending their State Group 4 Championship. The Rams topped East Brunswick last night to earn a spot in Saturday’s final against undefeated Bridgewater-Raritan at William Patterson University. Southern’s 40 wins this season is a state record.

The NJSIAA Football Playoffs open tonight and weather certainly could be a major factor. 18 teams from the Shore Conference have qualified for the state sectionals, including defending champions Brick Memorial, Manasquan and Asbury Park. The Memorial Mustangs appear to have the toughest path to repeating as they visit undefeated Hunterdon Central tonight and if they get past that will probably face Howell in the Central Jersey Group 4 semifinals. Speaking of undefeated, Toms River East opens its quest for a South Jersey Group 4 crown tonight at home against Washington Township in a game that will be broadcast on the Shore Sports Network, including 105.7FM and 1160AM. In that same sectional, Toms River North visits undefeated Williamstown this evening. The hottest team coming into the state tournament is Lacey as the Lions have run off six straight wins, the last five all by shutout. Tomorrow Lacey will host Pemberton in a South Jersey Group 3 first round matchup.

Not to be lost in all this outside sports action is the fact that Monmouth University opens its Men’s Basketball season tonight in their brand new $57 million MAC against Florida International, coached by Isiah Thomas.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Things For A Thursday

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. The only good thing to come out of our involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East is that all of our nation has come together to respect and appreciate those in the military…past and present. That was evident by not only all the local events to commemorate Veteran’s Day on Wednesday but the enthusiasm shown by many in attendance for those who have and do wear the uniform. Now that Veteran’s Day is over we have to keep those in the armed forces in our thoughts and prayers and not forget the families many have left behind. The holiday season that is approaching is especially tough for military families and we should do whatever we can to help them while their loved ones are overseas.

In the spirit of events to benefit our community one of my favorite organizations will be holding a fundraiser tomorrow night. “Kevin’s Kids”
is the annual effort to bring Christmas to families in Manchester Township
who Santa Claus might forget. It was founded and is directed by Manchester school administrator Kevin Burger and his wife Peggy and I have seen up close and personal the incredible effort they and many volunteers put in to make this a great success. Tomorrow from 4-8pm there will be a “Kevin’s Kids Proceeds Night” at the Wendy’s restaurant on Route 37 and Bananier Drive, west of the Garden State Parkway in Toms River. 20% of proceeds during those four hours will go to helping the cause and all you need to do is let the cashier know you’re there to support this great organization.

That will take care of your dinner tomorrow night and I can offer a breakfast suggestion for Sunday. The Summer in the Park Business Association will sponsor a Pancake Breakfast to benefit the Seaside Park Volunteer Fire Company and Tri-Boro First Aid Squad. The delicious event takes place at the Tri-Boro First Aid Building on J Street in Seaside Park from 9am-noon.
The donation is just $7 for adults and $5 for children between the ages of
4-12 and of course you’ll be helping two organizations who routinely help others.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering Ocean County's Veterans

It would be hard to find anything positive about our involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East over the last several years with one exception….and that is the new found respect many have for those who serve in the military. With the exception of Operation Desert Storm in the early 90’s we had experienced a relatively long period of peace from the end of Viet Nam until this current conflict. During that time it was easy to overlook the contributions made by those in the armed forces, past and present because as the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.”

We of course know all too well this is not the case today and young people are growing up in a time of war just like many of us did, whether it is World War II, Korea or Viet Nam. They are witnessing the pain that goes with having family, friends and neighbors serving overseas. Unlike the 60’s and 70’s when Viet Nam divided our nation, we are united in our respect for the men and women who wear the uniform even if we’re split over the cause they are fighting for.

Today is Veterans Day which marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I in 1918. It’s a federal holiday although there are schools open who use today to learn about and honor those who have served. Many students will participate in and watch the annual Ocean County Veterans Day Parade, which begins at 9:30am at the Toms River Shopping Center at the intersection of Route 37 and Main Street. The parade follows the same route as the Halloween Parade, heading south on Main Street and then east on Washington Street. It’s a good way to come out and “thank a veteran” for their service.

Once again this year the Timothy E. Ryan Home for Funerals on St. Catherine Boulevard in Toms River is paying tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. With the help of local Boy Scouts, they have placed American flags on their lawn to commemorate the more than 5,000 American men and women killed in Iraq & Afghanistan. It’s a striking and sad reminder of the times we live in and that freedom comes with a price and is never free.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When Does Christmas Start?

Let me begin my saying I like Christmas…at least most things about it. I like the warm feelings that many people have for their fellow man during the season, love the excitement children get at the thought of Santa coming to their house, am awed at the site of churches decorated to celebrate the significance of Christmas and often just enjoy taking in the sights and smells that go with the holiday. Christmas means different things to different people and I understand and appreciate that. It is for many a wonderful time of year.

With that said who and when made the decision to lengthen the season to where you can get tired of Christmas well before December 25th? It used to be that the “season” so to speak started the day after Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact I seem to remember that you pretty much first heard of Christmas when Santa Claus made his season debut at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. That was your first sighting of the big guy and then of course the next day he was in the Mall or your local shopping center.
Now it seems like Santa and Halloween go hand-in-hand…one ends and the other begins. The holiday really getting the short end is Thanksgiving which is my favorite day of the year because it really comes with no strings attached. But Thanksgiving doesn’t have enough retail value to most….it’s just an interruption between Halloween and Christmas. Thanksgiving actually is like New Jersey as many view us as just that place in between New York and Philadelphia.

It seems like each year we want to move the Christmas season up by at least a few days. Here we haven’t even reached Veterans Day yet and Santa’s been around for a while, every other TV ad seems to have a holiday theme, some have already decorated their house and even put up their tree and yes Christmas music is being heard on the radio. Why do we have to rush this season? Do we like it that much or have we let others influence our own actions? I am one who refuses to give in and will do all I can to boycott the Christmas hype until AFTER Thanksgiving. It’s the turkey not Santa who deserves the headlines for now…give him his due.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Joys Of HDTV

As I have gotten older I will admit to more and more enjoying watching sports from the comfort of my couch on my HDTV. Going to games in person for the most part is a giant headache as it involves a commute and often logistical obstacles that make you say afterwards “why did I put myself though this.” The one exception to this rule for me has been attending Penn State football games which I have always look forward to and enjoyed to the max. However I feel somewhat let down after this weekend’s trip to what turned out to be not-so-Happy Valley. Don’t get me wrong, I relish the opportunity to spend time with my brother and my son, a Penn State graduate. However these return trips with Brandon means trying to keep up his friends, which gets tougher each year and often just as painful is my brother and I always seem to pick up the tab.

None of this has really mattered because our weekend trips have just about always included a Nittany Lions victory which puts everyone in a good mood. As a matter of fact going into this weekend I believe I had only witnessed one loss by the good guys at Beaver Stadium and that was probably ten years ago. Everything was great about this weekend, especially the weather until the game against hated Ohio State kicked off Saturday afternoon at 3:30. Three hours later we walked out of the stadium dejected and depressed…it was so bad my son and his friends didn’t even want to go out later that night which did save us some money. Just when you thought it could not get worse came the drive home yesterday in which the traffic on Interstate 80 was so bad it took us two hours to go 26 miles at one stretch.
The drive is a lot more painful after a loss but that comes with being a fan.

In their first year of women’s cross country since 1995 Ocean County College has won a National Championship. Led by overall winner Jen Nelson of Barnegat, the Vikings claimed the NJCAA Division 3 title Saturday at Finger Lakes Community College in New York. Erine O’Connor, Alyssa Collier and Priscilla Anderson all finished in the top 20 to help OCC claim the championship. Vikings head coach Eddie Baynes, a former Toms River South running standout was named Coach of the Meet and also the NJCAA Division 3 Coach of the Year.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Theeee Yankees Win

With public schools closed in Ocean County this week I’m sure some Yankee fans from this area will make their way into the city tomorrow for the ticker-tape period down the Canyon of Heroes to celebrate the franchise’s 27th World Series Championship. The Yanks wrapped up the title with a 7-3 victory over the Phillies last night as they win the series in six games. It’s ironic that the best team money can buy won largely due to a player who will probably not be wearing pinstripes come next April. Hideki Matsui homered and drove in six runs last night and would be named the World Series MVP for his performance against Philly. However the 35-year old Matsui and Johnny Damon are both free agents and it would appear there is only room for one of them to return and that likely will be Damon.

Obviously I am not a Yankee fan but I must offer my luke-warm congratulations to those of you who are real fans and don’t think the franchise started with Derek Jeter. However when you have unlimited resources you start just about every year as the favorite to win the World Series and that won’t be any different come next season. Only the Yankees could have signed CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira in the same off-season but as tough as it is for me to admit they did perform very well as a team and are deserving of the title. As for the Phillies….chokers!

The dust is still settling on Election Day 2009 with many experts scratching their head over Chris Christie’s victory in the Governor’s race despite being outspent by incumbent Jon Corzine by a 3-1 margin. It does appear that those who wanted Christie and change came out and voted while Corzine could not inspire those who were likely on his side…they just stayed at home. Even with all the attention focused on this election less than half of New Jersey voters headed to the polls although the turnout was better in Ocean County where the GOP effort was organized and successful.

Among the guests on tonight’s “Thursday Night Football Show” will be coaches Lou Vircillo of Lacey and Chris Barnes of Wall. The show is broadcast live from Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar in Toms River from 6-8pm and airs on 1160 WOBM AM, Fox Sports 1310 and via the web at Matt Harmon and I will take a look at the playoff scenarios tonight with Steve Falk of the Asbury Park Press and Scott Stump of All Shore Media.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election Recap

For all the talk of issues in the end it simply came down to this in New Jersey….we pay and pay and pay and don’t feel like we’re getting anything back. So Governor Jon Corzine will do like many others have in the Garden State and that is leave…at least leave his office in Trenton. In a race that was called a “toss-up” and predicted to drag well into the evening Republican Chris Christie prevailed by more than 100,000 votes and will make Corzine a one-term Governor.

I disagree with those who think that the popularity of President Obama was part of what was on the mind of voters when they cast their ballots Tuesday.
I truly believe this election was a mandate on the state of the New Jersey economy and many voters feel like things can’t get any worse so why not give Christie a chance where Corzine failed….to find property tax relief and somehow make our state more affordable to live and work in. Whether he will find a solution will largely determine what happens four years from now because the #1 issue is the economy and that’s not going to change. When times are good incumbents thrive but when they are not it’s tough to survive as Corzine found out yesterday.

You can also make the statement that it was the shore area which won the Governor’s office for the former U.S. Attorney. Christie carried Ocean County by 70,000 votes and Monmouth by 50,000….the 120,000 vote margin at the shore carried him to victory. It should mean we have a friend in Trenton because he knows that people like Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore delivered the majority he needed to prevail. I would think that would be a positive for us down the road.

Of course Ocean County is a Republican stronghold and last night was filled with victory parties as they won all but two of 44 races. The GOP domination of the Freeholder board continued as John Bartlett & Gerry Little coasted to victory and as much as some feel like it would be better to have two-party representation the fact is this current group has done a very good job even with the fiscal challenges they face.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baseball, Politics & Soccer

While I know there are a lot of Yankees and Phillies fans totally into this World Series I have to tell you I don’t find it very exciting. I don’t know what it is but as a sporting event the “Fall Classic” just has not done much for me and it’s not because I don’t like either team. Maybe it’s all the rain or the fact that it’s November and we’re still playing baseball but I hope it ends tonight so we can concentrate on football. Maybe that’s the problem with the Giants…they are paying too much attention to the Yankees because it sure doesn’t like they’ve been prepared to play the last three weeks.

Speaking of ending…another trash-talking, negative-filled campaign has finally hit the homestretch and today will be the last day we’ll have to put up with the venom spewed in the New Jersey Governor’s race. It’s also the last day I’ll have to listen to those annoying phone messages on behalf of the three candidates although frankly I enjoyed hearing from Sarah Palin on Saturday. I tried to engage her in conversation about her family but she kept going on and on like she couldn’t hear me. I have been undecided about who to give my lukewarm support to but have finally made a decision and all I can say is us weight-challenged guys have to stick together. Back to those phone messages for a moment. The worst ones are those dealing with local town-wide elections…they pull no punches and frankly are a bit embarrassing.

Congratulations to the Ocean County College Women’s Soccer team as for the second straight year they’ve won the Region 19 Tournament. The Vikings needed penalty kicks to outlast Camden County College and they will now host the NJCAA District C Championships on Friday in Toms River.

The early-morning commute around Ocean County should be a bit easier this week as public schools are closed all week long. With Election Day and the NJEA Teachers Convention this week schools county-wide and in much of New Jersey have taken a recess. Word is that if you go to Disney World this week you’ll likely find it’s filled with people from New Jersey.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nothing About The Super Bowl

How about a baseball story that does not center on the World Series?
Nine locally-based military charities shared $24,000 in grants awarded by the OceanFirst Foundation as part of their Home Run for Heroes Program, which was a joint effort of the bank’s foundation and the Lakewood BlueClaws. Each home run hit by a BlueClaws player at FirstEnergy Park this past season saw $1000 donated to a military-based charity that meets the emergency needs of local service men and women and their families whether they are active or retired. This year alone OceanFirst Foundation has contributed more than $1 million to community programs.

The Ocean County College Sailing Team continues to have tremendous success on the water. The Vikings won the Nittany Lion Open last weekend with Cornell placing second and the host school Penn State coming in third. Tyler Kennedy of Pine Beach and Lanoka Harbor’s Autumn Hoover finished first in the A division for the third straight regatta.
This weekend OCC heads to St. Mary’s College in Maryland to compete in the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association championships.

Dana Costello scored on a first-half penalty kick and that’s all Jackson Memorial would need as the Jaguars topped Wall 1-0 to advance into the finals of the Shore Conference Girls Soccer Tournament. Costello, a senior who is headed to Monmouth University has had a tremendous season as
Jackson will now face top-seed Red Bank Catholic on Saturday in Neptune in a meeting of the last two Shore Conference champions.

Calling Jack Lamping “Mr. Ocean County” gives you an idea of the high regard he was held in. An articulate multi-talented renaissance man, he is best known for his long tenure as Ocean County’s Public Information Officer and for the time and effort he gave to many civic organizations. A lover of the arts, music and history, Jack passed away last weekend at age 94. A memorial service will be held on November 11th at First United Methodist Church of Toms River.

Among the guests on tonight’s “Thursday Night Football Show” will be Manchester senior lineman Jimmy Lawson and head Coach Gerard O’Donnell. The show is broadcast live from Boston’s Restaurant in Toms River from 6-8pm and airs on 1160 WOBM AM and is streamed at

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Here Comes The Turnpike Series

Whether you call it the Broadway versus Broad Street, the Turnpike Tossup
or Cheese Steaks versus Pizza it seems like the 105th World Series matchup is one that was brewing throughout much of the season. While often you get a team in the Fall Classic that’s really not the best in their league the 2009
showdown between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies pits baseball’s best two teams against one another.

The Yankees of course are rich in history and tradition even if they have moved into a new Bronx ballpark in which the simple name remains the same….Yankee Stadium. Gone to some extent might be the ghosts of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle but the monuments still exist as do their signature pinstripe uniforms. This is the 40th World Series appearance for them, having won their 26th and last title in 2000 followed by disappointing losses in 2001 and 2003. They are a mixture of old Yanks in Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera and new players like Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia.
Then there is Alex Rodriguez who has gone from goat to hero and is poised to win his first championship.

The Phillies have reached baseball’s Promised Land for the second straight October and 7th time overall. They dispatched Tampa Bay in five games last year to win the World Series championship for just the second time in franchise history and first since 1980. Much of their tradition centers on failure and disappointment with the exception of stretches in the late 70’s and early 80’s but that was before this current group was assembled. Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard have fueled a renaissance and turned around the image on an entire city. The Phillies never-say-die attitude has won over old and new fans and made the color red very popular in the city and region.

So who will prevail in this showdown of teams whose ballparks are just over 100 miles apart and two hours away? Well I think it comes down to the fact that the Yankees are probably just a bit better in most areas so I think they’ll prevail in 7 tough games. Should be a lot of fun, especially for those who dislike both teams because somebody will be disappointed at the end.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Remembering Art Harmon

When someone you know dies you often reach out to a family member with the following words “if there is anything I can do please don’t hesitate to ask.” Of course rarely is there anything you can do except offer comfort and support. However I have this unique opportunity to sometimes tell you about a person who has passed away and I’ll admit it makes me feel better because usually you feel helpless at times of great sorrow.

Last spring Art Harmon asked me to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the
annual banquet hosted by the Shore Chapter of IAABO, which is the association for basketball referees. Frankly I didn’t really want to do it but felt an obligation as the year prior they had honored me with an award because of the relationship I’ve built up with them through the WOBM Christmas Classic. I also didn’t want to turn down Art because his son Matt has been my broadcasting partner along with Ed Sarluca on hundreds of games and events over the years on the Shore Sports Network.
So I accepted the invitation to MC the dinner and banquet and frankly had a great time busting Art and others…of course most of it was in good fun. During the evening Art was among those saluted for their service as a 40-year member of IABBO. I of course knew him even before Matt and I began working together as both he and his brother Rick had referred games in the WOBM Classic for many years.

I’ve thought about that dinner quite a bit the last few days. Last week Art,
who always appeared to be in great health suffered a massive stroke. While he fought to hang on Matt continued to broadcast games, paying tribute to his father during our high school game Friday and the Monmouth University game on Saturday. The radio was on in the hospital room and Matt was hoping against hope that his father could hear his voice and words one more time. Sunday Art Harmon, retired teacher and coach, lifeguard for more than four decades, ski instructor, father to Matt and Tim, brother, husband and grandfather died at the age of 63. Viewing will be Thursday from 2-9pm at O’Brien Funeral Home in Wall. A life well lived if too short.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Nightmares

The nightmare has indeed come true with the Yankees and Phillies meeting in the World Series beginning Wednesday night in the Bronx. This is something Mets fans have been dreading since mid-summer and now that its here the question is who do we root for. Well in my case it’s who do you root against the most and for me it’s the Yankees. There is no right or wrong, just a matter of personal preference and comes down to simple arithmetic. For every Phillie fan I know there are at least two Yankee fans so for that reason the Phills are the very reluctant pick. Honestly at the end of the day it does not really matter as both teams are a reminder of what the Mets are not.

On the subject of baseball I received a tour of the recently-completed Volunteer Community Center at the Berkeley Little League’s Moorage Baseball Complex in Bayville last week. The indoor training complex is already a busy place being used by little league players of all ages during the off-season to work on their baseball skills while league officials can hold training for coaches, meetings, registration and more. The facility was built through years of fundraising and volunteer work by the Little League and in conjunction with Berkeley Township. It’s a tremendous asset to the community and a great example of what can happen when people unite to work together. The Volunteer Community Center has been appropriately named after Bob Everett, the league President who spearheaded the effort and refused to give up despite numerous obstacles along the way.

The Beachwood Soccer Club is holding a gift auction on Saturday, November 14th at Toms River Intermediate School South. Tickets for the event are $15 and include coffee and desert. For tickets and more information you can call Dawn Caruso at (732) 473-0915.

As you have probably heard Shawn and Sue’s Halloween Spooktacular on Saturday night at the Ritacco Center was a smashing success and I want to thank all of those who attended for their patience. When you do something like this for the first time and don’t know what to expect it’s hard to prepare but most people were very understanding and appreciative as it was a great family event and we’ll make it even better for next time. Special thanks to our partner, the Toms River Regional Schools for being great hosts.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Giving Back

It’s funny how certain professions carry a stigma associated with them, much of which is not deserved. Lawyers and police officers may top that list and those who sell cars would not be far behind…they are easy targets and often the brunt of jokes. Of course it’s ridiculous to lump those who work in a certain career into one category but we seem to generalize quite a bit. Some of the most generous and philanthropic individuals in our community make their living from selling cars, including Dave Wintrode from the Causeway Family of Dealerships and David Sickle from the Pine Belt Auto Group. They have both been around for a long time and have been deserving recipients of many honors for giving back to the community. Ed Sunday of Gateway Toyota is another and yesterday he was saluted by the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore at their 26th Annual Award Luncheon at Woodlake County Club in Lakewood. I had the pleasure of serving as Master of Ceremonies for the event which was co-chaired by attorney Bob Novy and Jim DeAngelis of the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Honors are nothing new to Sunday and Gateway Toyota, who several years ago were singled out as the Organization of the Year by the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce. The dealership does much for the community and Ed, who is the Vice President and General Manager is one who shies away from the spotlight. Sitting with his wife Diana yesterday I know he was almost uncomfortable hearing nice things about himself but the fact is the father of two is a terrific person and an asset to Toms River and the entire community. Not bad for a car guy.

The Manchester Township community is dealing with the loss of one of its favorite sons as brain cancer claimed the life of Rodney Copeland earlier this week at the young age of 44. Rodney was a three-sport athlete at Manchester High School and spent much of his adult life working for the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department. Besides his family and friends, sports were his passion and he was the Girls Basketball coach at his alma mater for several years. I always enjoyed seeing him at the WOBM Christmas Classic and Rodney was someone who always had a smile on his face and greeted you with a warm handshake. He was one of the good guys and he’s been taken from all of us way too early. Condolences to his family.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bouncing Around Topics

This morning I bounce around a bit and cover several topics:

It is just amazing what nice weather does for your spirits and we’ll have one more day to enjoy this brief stretch which feels more like mid-September then late October. However it would have been better is these sunny 70 plus degree days came over the weekend when more of us could really take advantage of them.

Did you ever get hit with a headache which seems like its right over one or both of your eyes? I got one late yesterday, took two Excedrin migraine and got 8 hours sleep for the first time in recent memory and woke up feeling like a million dollars. Well in today’s economy it’s actually more like $92.70.

If you’re a fan of sushi rolls I have to recommend the new ones recently introduced at The Office Lounge in Toms River. My daughter and I loved the Cindy, Nick and Halloween rolls. Can’t wait for a return trip.

If I were not broadcasting the Howell-Brick Memorial football game tomorrow night then surely I would have returned to my alma mater for a very special evening. Central Regional hosts Freehold and as part of the evening the Golden Eagles will retire the #12 worn by my former teammate Robbie Keyes, who is now a teacher and assistant coach at Freehold. Keyes quarterbacked Central to a perfect 9-0 season in 1971 and earned just about every post-season honor possible. After graduation both he and teammate John Kilmurray attended Florida State University on football scholarships.
Robbie was also an outstanding basketball player and track athlete at Central and the number retirement is a fitting tribute of one of the school’s best ever.
Wish I could be there but congrats #12.

Speaking of football we have a great lineup of guests on tonight’s Thursday Night Football Show which airs on 1160 WOBM AM and is broadcast live at Boston’s in Toms River. Appearing on location will be Coach Tim Osborn and senior running back Matt Filosa from Jackson Liberty High School as well as Monmouth University coach Kevin Callahan and his record-breaking running back David Sinisi. The show airs from 6-8pm

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's News?

It doesn’t matter if you listen to the radio, watch TV, read a newspaper or log onto your computer because it’s everywhere and you can’t avoid it.
The real question for me is do we care or is it simply because we can’t escape it and it’s almost forced down our throats. I’m talking about gossip or entertainment news or call it what you will but it’s like a bad rash…it just won’t go away.

What’s amazing to me is not the amount of this so-called news but the fact that often it’s treated like it has great importance in our society. At the same time you have impact stories like the economy and health care and more you’ll find more time and space devoted to things like Dave Lettermen’s sexual escapades. With the exception of a handful of people who could possibly be affected and impacted by Lettermen’s infidelities but yet he got more air time that President Obama for those few days.

And it’s not like this is only once-in-a-while because it seems like we’ve become infatuated with lifestyles and the often boorish behavior of celebrities and star athletes and even those who fall into the category of “want to be’s.” But I again come back to the question of whether we really care or just can’t avoid all this garbage and make no mistake about it….this is real trash. The bottom line is most of our lives are fairly routine and maybe even mundane and listening, watching and reading about the famous might be an escape from reality. It just seems like more and more we treat stories about them like its real news. Frankly I don’t care who just entered another rehab program and who was arrested for starting a fight in a nightclub and who just broke up with his girlfriend. I also have no interest in the opinions of celebrities when it comes to politics and national issues. Just do what you allegedly have talent for…whether it’s sing, act or hit a baseball.

By the way have you heard the latest? ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips had an affair with a 22-year old production assistant who later called the wife of the former Mets General Manager and told her what was going on…kind of like “Fatal Attraction.” Don’t worry you’ll hear about it everywhere before the day is over.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blue & Snowy Weekend

Talk about your Blue Monday for local football fans. The Giants were run right out of the Superdome by the Saints in a battle of undefeated teams but its losses by the Jets & Eagles that leave you scratching your head. Hyped rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez threw five interceptions in the Jets overtime loss to the anemic Buffalo Bills while the Eagles somehow failed to score a touchdown in falling to the woeful Raiders in Oakland. Thank goodness for the Yankees & Phillies who appear to be on a World Series collision course.

Made my annual trip to Penn State this weekend with my son and brother for a short football weekend. We drove out early Saturday morning in rain, freezing rain and then snow on I-80. The State College area got hit with a rare October storm that brought heavy wet snow mostly on Friday that resulted in power outages and forced officials to prohibit parking on grass areas around Beaver Stadium which would normally accommodate 20,000 cars. What they did was run shuttle busses from nearby areas and it seemed to work…some even moved their tailgates to those lots. The fact our beloved Nittany Lions shutout Minnesota made everything all right.

Things did not go quite as well Saturday for Brick’s Garrett Graham, the outstanding senior tight end at the University of Wisconsin. The former Brick Memorial standout suffered a concussion in the first half of the Badgers loss to Iowa. Graham has 29 receptions and 4 touchdowns this season and is among the top tight ends in the nation and expected to be a fairly high pick in the April NFL draft. Wisconsin has a bye this weekend so it’s hoped the former Mustang will be able to play in two weeks against Purdue.

Often a great individual performance is overshadowed when a team looses so let me salute Central Regional senior running back Sam Pepe. Pepe ran for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns but it was not enough as the Golden Eagles lost at Jackson Liberty 36-35 in overtime Saturday. In the victory the Lions Matt Filosa rushed for 151 yards and three scores.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Miserable Friday

When you wake up and here the meteorologist on TV say “this is possibly the worst four day stretch of October weather ever in the mid-Atlantic region” then you pretty much know outdoor activities are in jeopardy this weekend. Problem for me is this is Homecoming weekend at Penn State and for weeks I’ve been looking forward to tomorrow afternoon’s football game against the University of Minnesota. As it now stands the forecast for game-day calls for a mixture of rain and snow with a temperature around 34 degrees. It does not get much more miserable than that and what’s even worse is we had plans for hours of tailgating before the game.

Of course we could just bail on the trip but that’s not so easy. My son is in State College already and was planning to come back with my brother and me on Sunday. We’ve already paid for the tickets and motel room and refunds are out the window. So what do we do….probably suffer through an awful weekend. What’s even worse….the sun will return on Monday like that will do us any good.

The weather figures to play a prominent role in this weekends high school football games and there’s more to it than that….for some its Homecoming weekend. That makes it tough to postpone games because of events like dances and more. Since the entire weekend looks dreadful you might as well just play the game when it’s scheduled because it does not appear there is any relief until Monday.

Topping tonight’s matchups will be Southern at Toms River North which will be broadcast on 105.7 The Hawk, 1160 WOBM AM and Fox Sports 1310. After losing their first two games the visiting Rams have won two straight and face a North team that was very impressive in rolling over Brick Memorial last week. Southern and North have become very familiar with one another in recent years from regular season and state playoff meetings.

Another interesting game tonight finds Toms River South visiting Brick.
This used to be one of the shore’s best rivalries but no longer as both programs have fallen off. South is still looking for its first win of the season
while the 2-3 Green Dragons have scored only 17 points in their last four games.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Being A True Fan

I appreciate the fact that people who are not sports fans of any kind don’t like it when I do a segment that is sports-related and at the same time there are those who think I should only stick to sports. I’d like to think this morning’s segment will be of interest to both sides and the basis for it is Phil Taylor’s “Point After” column in this week’s Sports Illustrated.

The subject of the column is Stephen Krupin, a 27-year old speechwriter who shares Washington Nationals season tickets with his father. The Nationals are a very bad baseball team and 19 times this past season Krupin headed out to the ballpark to see them play and 19 times he left having watched his team lose. The odds of that happening according to an estimate
were 131,204 to 1 which is what you would call a real long shot. What makes this even more interesting is Krupin was supposed to attend his 20th and final game of the season on the next-to-last day when the Nats hosted the Mets. However at the last minute he accepted tickets to a U2 concert and skipped the game….need I tell you Washington rallied for a victory.

Why I share this story with you has everything to do with why I dislike most fans of the New York Yankees….not personally but rather when it comes to their rooting for their favorite team. This is especially true for those Yankee fans that seem the think that the franchise only started in 1996 when they would win the first of four World Series titles in five years. Real fans are the ones like Stephen Krupin who understand that loving a team usually means you’ll get your heart broken…at least at the end. You don’t expect to win championships, heck in most cases you’d be happy to just win more than you lose. When those great moments come, like the Phillies experienced last year, they are to be treasured as those memories might need to last a lifetime. The Mets, a team I root for and suffer with last won a championship 23 years ago and I remember that 1986 season like it was yesterday.

Many (not all) Yankee fans have trouble accepting that they have not won a World Series since 2000 and have not been in one since 2003. They think any season without the ultimate championship is a bad season. That would make Stephen Krupin laugh…he just wants to see a victory in 2010.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Random Thoughts On A Wednesday

Wouldn’t you think there would be someway major league baseball could have started the League Championship Series’ before the end of the week? I know the opening round of the playoffs ended early but it just seems a shame we’re not going to start the next round until Thursday & Friday. Would have been nice to have playoff baseball during the week instead of just hockey and pre-season basketball. By the way I would like to go on record….if we have a Yankees-Phillies World Series I will reluctantly root for Philadelphia. Simply the lesser of two evils for this Mets fan.

The Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce will hold a general membership luncheon today at the Lobster Shanty in Toms River. The Toms River Business Improvement District is sponsoring the luncheon and will update chamber members on what’s happening with revitalization plans for the downtown area. Registration begins at 11:30 and the lunch gets underway at noon.

Pittsburgh tops The Sporting News’ annual list of America’s best sports cities. The Steel City is home of the current NFL and NHL champions and it’s the first time since the magazine started the rankings in 1993 that Pittsburgh has been number one. Philadelphia is second…Boston, which held the top spot for three of the past five years is third with Chicago and Los Angeles rounding out the top five. New York is #6. West Long Branch, home of Monmouth University was ranked 266th and Lakewood made the list at #354, obviously because of the BlueClaws.

As you’ve no doubt heard 14 of us at the radio station are taking part in a Biggest Loser weight loss challenge and after one week some of the losses were very impressive. I dropped 9 pounds which was behind two of our sales executives, Mike Mangan and Annie Smith who lost 12 and 10 pounds respectively. Newscaster Jason Allentoff shed 4 pounds as did Sue and Marianne Levy dropped 5 pounds. We’ll of course keep you posted throughout the competition which runs until November 17th

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Joys Of Growing Older

I find as I get older that I’m having trouble when it comes to remembering time. This is not to say I don’t know what time it is or forget what time to be somewhere but rather getting a firm grasp of things from the past. I keep coming across events and people and when I try and reflect back on just when they were a part of my life I’m often not even close. It’s getting so bad that in conversation I will often say something like “that was a lifetime ago” and then the person (especially if it’s a woman) will reply….”well it was not that long ago.”

I really don’t believe this is a deterioration of my long-term memory or a sign that I’m starting to lose it but rather more a product of too much information. Somebody will ask me about a person who used to work at the radio station and sometimes I will have no or little recollection of them. That’s due to the fact that over 30 years I’ve worked with hundreds of people, some of whom were here just long enough to have a cup of coffee or at least it seems that way.

Then there are the athletes and coaches I have covered and worked with over three decades. I may have trouble placing the names with the faces but once I do then there’s a pretty good chance I’ll remember quite a bit about their achievements. Where I can be shaky is when I try to think back as to just when they might have played. I’ll ask about how they are doing in college and find out they graduated several years ago. What really gets me is when I come across someone who it seems played in high school just a few years ago and I learn they are in their late 30’s with kids in school already.

There is an upside to these often stark reminders that I’ve been around a long time. That is when I bump into a former athlete who mentions something I might have said or did about them or for them many years earlier. It could have been at their sports banquet, or during a game we were broadcasting or even through the WOBM Christmas Classic. That will make me feel good until I go home and want to share the comment with my wife and forget who the person was. I guess my mind really is shot.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Random Monday Thoughts

Random thoughts on a Columbus Day Monday…a holiday for many but not all:

While walking in downtown Hoboken on a sunny Sunday afternoon one can’t help but notice the majority of people seem to be in their mid to late 20’s. Outdoor cafĂ©’s were filled with young people, many accompanied by well behaved dogs on leashes. My wife commented that this is what they call “college after college” and I think that’s very accurate. Yesterday I made my first visit in many years to the city that too many was best known as Frank Sinatra’s hometown. My son just moved into an apartment there with two of his fraternity brothers and I can certainly see the attraction for young people, especially those who work in New York City. Of course what I think he likes most is the fact that Hoboken has more bars per square mile than any other city in the country.

While there are exceptions it seems that the one ingredient all successful sports teams share is strong and solid ownership. On the other side of the coin those without it usually fail. Take for example the NFL’s Oakland Raiders who for many years were one of the league’s top franchises. Clearly owner Al Davis has lost it, making decision after decision that leaves you scratching your head. Yesterday’s embarrassing performance against the Giants might have been the low point for the Silver and Black, who are nothing more than a bad joke.

The agents of REMAX at Barnegat Bay will hold their 10th annual “Now Famous” Children’s Miracle Network Party this Friday evening at The Captain’s Inn in Forked River. The event features dinner, an open bar, dancing and an auction all to help the Children’s Miracle Network, a non-profit organization that works with more than 170 children’s hospitals to fund medical care, research and education. For ticket information for Friday’s party you can call (609) 693-5002.

Belated congratulations to Southern Regional football coach Chuck Donohue Sr. on collecting his 200th career victory Friday night when the Rams rolled over Jackson Memorial. One of the real gentlemen in the coaching business, Donohue is in his 12th season at Southern and 36th overall.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Toms River North and Brick Memorial are among the shore’s top football programs. With exceptions both schools contend annually for division titles
and spots in the state playoffs. North is 38-17 over the last five-plus seasons while Memorial is 40-19 over that same span. The two American Division rivals meet tonight in Brick and it’s a crossroads game for both for different reasons. The Mustangs of Memorial are 3-1 with their lone loss a non-conference heartbreaker to Sayreville in the opening weekend of the season. They are a perfect 3-0 in the division with wins over Southern, Freehold Township and Jackson Memorial and a victory tonight would set the stage for a showdown with undefeated Howell in two weeks for the Shore American title.

The visiting Mariners were picked by some in the pre-season as the #1 team at the shore and they opened the season with easy wins over Toms River South and Manalapan with a bye in between. Last Saturday night they held explosive Howell to just 7 points but managed only a field goal of their own and lost to the Rebels, who are now the top-ranked team in Ocean and Monmouth counties. Because they’re in the highly competitive South Jersey Group 4 playoff bracket North might have to run the table to earn a post-season spot which means tonight is almost a “win or else” even though its only their fourth game of the season.

Tonight’s confrontation features some outstanding senior performers….Vinnie Sabba, Bill Miller and Glenn McGinnis from Memorial and North’s Steve Barroso, Drew Kollman and Rob Cassidy just to name a few. It should be fun and it’s our game of the week on the Shore Sports Network, including 105.7 The Hawk and 1160 WOBM AM. If you are planning to attend the game then be sure and bring at least two non-perishable food items because it will get you free admission. Brick Memorial is running a food drive in conjunction with The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Congratulations to Monsignor Donovan High School Tennis coach Tom Connerton on collecting his 300th career victory as the Griffins beat Bishop Ahr in the NJSIAA Girls Tournament Thursday. Connerton is a former Donovan player and in his 12th season coaching the tennis team.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Not That Anyone Has Asked Me But...

Monmouth University will host a debate tonight among the three candidates for the newly created position of Lt. Governor in New Jersey. I would guess about 1% of us (and I’m not among them) could name all the candidates which is probably about the same number that will watch, listen or care about the debate. The debate can be heard on our sister station New Jersey 101.5.

I’ve never had a flu shot because I always felt there was just as good a chance I’d get sick from the shot then the flu itself. However Monday I’m going to get one at the Senior Health and Lifestyle Expo we are hosting at the Ritacco Center. Another admission that I’m not as young as I used to be.

I’ve never had less interest in baseball’s post-season then I do this year.
Maybe it’s the fear of a Yankees-Phillies World Series which for me is like choosing whether you’d rather freeze or burn to death.

By the way Mets officials should take a close look at the Minnesota Twins who manage to be competitive year in and year out despite a small payroll and the fact most of their good players leave for bigger paychecks. It’s not always how much money you spend but where you spend it.

“The Good Wife” staring Julianna Margulies is the best of the new TV dramas and I also like “Mercy” and “Flash Forward.” As for comedy relief well “Modern Family” is a laugh out riot.

I don’t care who David Letterman sleeps with and neither should you.

Public schools should be a positive reflection of their community so it does not say much for those towns that have run down schools. Let me be clear….old and run down are often two different things.

Seeing and hearing about young children who are very sick hits me in the gut more than anything else….it just does not seem fair. It’s also a reminder that if your children are healthy then you’ve been blessed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Football & Food

Without question the most significant high school football game going into this weekend finds Toms River North visiting Brick Memorial on Friday night. However it’s not just a big game for the reasons you might expect. Sure both teams are ranked in the top ten at the shore and yes it’s very important as far as the American Division standings are concerned and even the state playoffs. What makes this meeting between these rivals so special is the impact it might have on those who might not know a first down from a field goal. Actually what will take place Friday are two games…one between the Mustangs and the Mariners and the other matches Memorial versus Hunger.

Brick Memorial is using this game to conduct a food drive in conjunction with The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and there is something in it for everyone who participates. Officials are asking that everyone coming to the game bring two non-perishable food items because if you do then you’ll get free admission to the game. It doesn’t matter if you’re an adult or student, Memorial or North fan. Bring at least the two items and you’ll watch 48 minutes of high school football on the house.

More importantly you’ll have made a difference. By the way we’re broadcasting this game on our Shore Sports Network so I’m looking forward to seeing the results of the food drive in person. And yes I’ll bring my non-perishable items even though I get in for free.

Award-winning CBS Sportscaster Jim Nantz received the Monmouth University Award for Communication Excellence last night in a ceremony at the new Multipurpose Activity Center. Nantz, a graduate of Marlboro High School, personifies class and dignity on the air and having met him before I can tell you he is the same way in person.

Obviously if you’re a regular listener to the morning show then you know Shawn & Sue are devoting a lot of their time and attention to the battle against breast cancer this month. My wife Jane was a guest on their show earlier this week for two reasons. She is a breast cancer survivor and once again will captain a team in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on October 18th in Point Pleasant Beach. If you would like to support her efforts then please visit and simply click on the Ocean County Breakfast Show page. There you will find a quick and easy way to donate on line to Team Booberang, which will be about 75 strong this year. They walk so our daughters don’t have to one day. You can also click here