Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Changing Schools

On the surface it might seem puzzling as to why John Truhan would leave Colts Neck High School where he taught math and coached girl’s basketball for the same positions at Central Regional High School. Maybe there’s not much difference in the teaching part but there’s a huge gap on the basketball court. Colts Neck was 29-4 this past winter, won the Group 4 state title and went all the way to the Tournament of Champions final. Even more impressive is the fact that their entire starting lineup returns next season and some expect the Cougars to be nationally ranked. However they will have a new coach because Truhan is returning to his coaching roots in Ocean County and the reason is quite simple….family.

The 41-year old Toms River North graduate was officially introduced last night by Central Regional Superintendent Tommy Parlapanides and Athletic Director Vince Casale to his new players and parents in the gym which he will now call home and it truly is a case of coming home. Truhan lives in Berkeley Township with his wife Kim, 8-year old daughter Kristy and 4-year old son John Jr. and will now have less than a five minute commute to work. In the end that might have been the biggest factor in leaving a state power for a team that went 10-14 last year and has only won a couple of division titles in the last 25 years. His children are at an age where he wants to be able to see and participate in their activities and that was just not possible with the grueling in-season schedule and travel to Colts Neck each day. He said something last night which really left an impression. Every parent whose daughter you coach wants what’s best for their child but often coaches forget that with their own children. He is now in a position to do what’s best for his and he could not turn that down.

Truhan did a great job at Colts Neck, going 131-37 in six season but even more impressive was the 91 games he won before that in five years at Toms River South, including an appearance in the Group 3 final in 2001. Central Regional is not only getting an outstanding coach but a dedicated and passionate math teacher. Last thing…hats off to Parlapanides who in a very short time as Superintendent has shown to be a man of action, not words. He made it clear again last night that he and the Board of Education want the bar raised at Central and this latest move is another example of that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Musings

Finally a weekend to head to the beach, soak up the sun and cool off in the ocean. It took all of June but we finally got a summer weekend at the shore and I’m among the many that have the color to prove it this morning…even
if that color is a bit red. We can only hope it’s a sign of things to come as we head into the 4th of July weekend and the true start of the vacation season for locals and visitors alike.

You would expect this Mets fan to be upset, depressed and frustrated after having been swept by the dreaded Yankees at CitiField this weekend. However to be honest I have pretty much written off this season with the Mets putting out a punch less lineup each day which more closely resembles a minor league team than a division contender. Sure I know injuries are part of the game but you can’t expect a baseball team to compete without three of their top four offensive weapons, two starting pitchers and a key reliever.
Throw in the fact that they are fundamentally unsound and baseball stupid at times and you have a team that will be lucky to finish with a .500 record.

Five recent Ocean County high school graduates will be playing in tonight’s 31st Annual North-South All-Star Football Classic at Kean University. The South roster features Toms River North’s Evan Regas, Tom Rickmers of Lacey, Jeff Keffer of Point Boro, Toms River South’s Aaron Terry and Dan Cintron of Barnegat. All but the Temple University-bound Regas are also on the Ocean County roster for the US Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic which will be played at Brick Township High School on July 17th.

Billy Mays had become so popular as a TV pitchman that it was just a couple of weeks ago he was in New York to judge a Billy Mays lookalike contest. Sunday morning the spokesman for OxiClean, Mighty Putty and many other products was found dead by his wife in their Tampa, Florida home. The 50-year old, who was featured on the Discovery Channel reality show “Pitchmen”, was on a US Airways flight Saturday that had a rough landing in which he hit his head. It’s not known at this time if that had anything to do with Mays’ death.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Deaths Of Michael Jackson & Farrah Fawcett

It’s strange how what is considered the big news story of the day can get knocked out of the top spot when something bigger comes out of nowhere.
Take for example Thursday when we learned early in the day the passing of actress Farrah Fawcett at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer.
I was deeply saddened by her death as I was among the 12 million who had one time had that famous poster of her on my bedroom wall…heck I even had a picture of her in my wallet. You knew that this would probably be the lead story on the network evening news as their staffs put together reflective pieces on Farrah, who burst onto the scene in 1976 on the show “Charlie’s Angels.”

However the news of her death, as sad as it was, quickly moved out of the top spot when late in the afternoon a story broke about the health of Michael Jackson. Details were sketchy but about 5:50pm TMZ was the first to report that the 50-year old King of Pop had died of cardiac arrest. News outlets were cautious at first, many still saying he was in very critical condition at a Los Angeles hospital before it became somewhat official while TV stations in the East were in the middle of their local newscast. As the Network news came on it was all Jackson, all the time. At times it was almost comical because there was really no official announcement and you had reporters on location at the hospital and where Jackson was living with not much to say. They would talk about gathering crowds and try to interview neighbors…anything to probably get a jump on the other networks that were doing the same. The reality is the death of Farrah Fawcett got bumped because Jackson was not only a bigger name but of course died suddenly.

His death is the end of maybe the most bizarre life that any of us have ever witnessed. He went from adorable child sensation, to a mega star bigger than any in the world, to a shamed recluse who made headlines for strange and somewhat sick behavior. While Jackson was working on a comeback tour for many people he will best be known as the weird guy who changed his face and hung around with young boys. The Michael Jackson of the late 70’s and 80’s was arguably the greatest talent the world has even seen and his music will live forever.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Stuff

A little of this and a little of that as we’re about to experience our first summer-like weather:

Congratulations to Jackson’s Anthony Ranaudo, who helped lead LSU to its sixth College Baseball World Series title. The sophomore pitched into the 6th inning of last night’s 11-4 win over Texas in the third and deciding game of the final in Omaha, Nebraska. Ranaudo finishes the year with a 12-3 pitching record for LSU. He is a 2007 graduate of St. Rose High School where he was both an outstanding baseball and basketball player for the Purple Roses.

Many of the best just-graduated senior football players from Ocean and Monmouth Counties will meet in the US Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic on Friday, July 17th at Brick Township High School. Sponsored by the Shore Football Coaches Foundation, the game was originally scheduled at Middletown South but had to be moved after some difficulty with approvals. The rosters have been set and the head coaches will be Southern’s Chuck Donahue and Mark Ciccotelli of Freehold Boro. Millennium Radio’s Shore Sports Network will broadcast the game live from Keller Memorial Field.

The Lakewood BlueClaws open the second half of the season with a 9-game home stand beginning tonight at FirstEnergy Park. The BlueClaws won the Northern Division first-half championship of the South Atlantic League and will be in the playoffs no matter what happens the rest of the season. They will play the winner of the second-half in a best-of-3 series that will start September 9th. If the BlueClaws also win the 70-game second half then they would take on the team with the second best overall record in the Northern Division. This is the first time Lakewood has ever won the first half title…of course in 2006 they did win the South Atlantic League Championship.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No More Teachers, No More Books...

In the words of Alice Cooper “school’s out for summer” at least for a majority of those in our area and for many that means a complete change in their daily routine. No longer do parents have to wake up early to get the kids off to school and for many teachers, bus drivers and others the alarm clock will be silenced for a couple of months.

The last week or so has featured graduation ceremonies for area high schools and a couple of more will take place this week. Students have marched to the tune of “pomp and circumstance” and received their diploma which marks both an end and a beginning. For some it does mean the end of school as they’ll move right into the job market or possibility the military. For them the lyrics, “no more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks.” However most graduates are headed to college with some staying close to home and others traveling many miles away where Mon can no longer do the laundry or make dinner on demand.

It’s a bittersweet time for parents who talk about how they can’t wait for their children to leave and then will have this empty feeling when they go,
especially if it’s an only child or the last one still at home. As for the kids…well some are itching to get away while others are in no hurry to give up the safety and security of their current address.

Of course for now it should be a time to enjoy the accomplishments of finishing high school and making the best of this summer. And for those of you who will be sleeping late and missing the Hometown View….well hopefully we’ll see you in September. Or you can always read in on the website. I sure hope it’s not a case of
“out for summer, out till fall….we might not go back at all.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Thoughts

Just a few random thoughts on this third day of summer and none involve the weather:

Golf purists may scoff at the behavior of New York area fans but I think it
added to the US Open which ended Monday with a surprising victory by virtual-unknown Lucas Glover. At times the fans might get a bit rowdy but for most part their enthusiasm added to the event and it seems like the majority of golfers enjoyed it. The one thing that does drive me crazy and is heard at all golf events is the constant screaming of “in the hole” after just about every shot, even when there is no chance that could happen.

Not quite as competitive was the 16th Annual Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament which was held Monday at Pine Barrens in Jackson. I served as Master of Ceremonies for the Awards Ceremony afterwards which included first-place finishes by Lou Gallipoli II and Nina Anuario, who just happened to be the co-chairman of the event. As always Luce Greene and the Chamber staff did a great job securing prizes for the event, several of which were won by Michael P. Ritacco.
The staff at Pine Barrens, including Barbara Iasillo was wonderful as usual in helping put the event together.

I have to admit that while watching the Mets game last night I switched a few times to “John & Kate Plus 8” to catch the latest developments regarding America’s most overexposed family. No surprise in that their 10-year marriage is coming to an end as John was tired of being bossed around and seems to be excited about being free…as free as you can be with eight young children to take care of. TLC’s top-rated show will continue and the Gosselin family just goes through the transition millions of others do…of course in their case on National television. Somebody should tell John that the earrings look pretty stupid…maybe Kate will let him know.

Monday, June 22, 2009

School's Out Forever

While summer recess has begun for some the remainder of the Ocean County schools will be finishing up this week. For students and most staff members it means the last days before summer recess but for many throughout our area it marks the end of a long journey as they will not be returning in September because they’re about to join the ranks of the retired.

When their careers began they could not imagine this day would come and I’m sure along the way some questioned if this was really the right thing to do with their lives. Yes teaching and education has plenty of positives but before you say that it’s easy try and imagine dealing with kids each day who are not your own. Whether it’s two dozen in an elementary school classroom, more than a hundred as a high school English teacher or the thousand plus you’re responsible for as a Principal each day brings challenges that us “outsiders” can’t imagine. Making things more difficult is the change in the make-up of the traditional family as well as the lack of support received from the home. Parents who used to be eager to get involved in their child’s education are just as likely today to question why they’re being bothered when it’s the school’s job to educate.

Despite this there are many who have dedicated their professional lives to education and helping prepare young people for the next step in their lives. Among them is Karen Tramontano who today walks in and out of the classroom for the final time in her 27-year career. It was about fifteen years ago that I received an invitation to be a “celebrity reader” for her 5th grade class at Clara B. Elementary School in Bayville. I was really impressed with the experience and told her afterwards….”call me again.” Well she has…every year since, the last few at the recently-opened Berkeley Township Elementary School. I knew when I walked in that classroom I would be greeted by children who were enthusiastic and well-behaved which was a credit to her as a teacher. But Mrs. Tramontano has decided to focus in on the growth of one child in particular so come September when her daughter, a kindergarten teacher, goes back to work she’ll be helping watch her new granddaughter Allison Faith.

I wish I had the time to salute all of those soon-to-be retirees but I don’t so you’ll have to share my thanks, congratulations and best wishes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Father’s Day is Sunday and while not to minimize it’s standing it’s a far cry from Mother’s Day to me. That’s because as I’ve gotten older it’s become more and more apparent that mothers are the ones in most cases who make the family work. It’s also a day that for many is a reminder of what they don’t have in their lives any longer. I’m lucky in that my father is still with me although my father-in-law left us all way too soon so no matter what Sunday will be bittersweet.

I really have only two lasting memories of Father’s Day and ironically they both involve baseball. For some reason I remember quite well being an 8-year old in 1964 and watching the Phillies Jim Bunning pitch a perfect game against the Mets. However the one I most remember was in 1998 when on Father’s Day my son’s team was playing in their Little League Championship game. We had run out of pitchers that week and Brandon was called on to pitch in the final game of the season even though I don’t think he started a game all season long as he usually played the infield. Anyway as he took the mound for the Cardinals his coach just told him to throw strikes because we knew he wasn’t going to blow anyone away with his speed. I honestly think it was the most nervous I had even been as a parent and Brandon pitched his heart out and got a couple of hits. His team lost a close game and all the kids were really disappointed as some of them had played together for three years. The coaches tried to pick up their spirits afterwards and since it was the final day of the season they also had to make the announcement of the players who had made the league’s 12-year old All Star team.

Well as bad as it was losing that game is was even more heartbreaking when Brandon learned he was not named to the All-Star team. His coach was very upset, told him he should have been selected, and genuinely felt terrible.
Meanwhile we have everyone coming back to our house for a Father’s Day BBQ and my son does not want to leave his room. He eventually did and of course overcame the disappointment of the snub…although to be honest I’m still ticked to this day and I was not heartbroken when the team got knocked out of the tournament early.

So that’s Father’s Day. Hope you enjoy yours!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Upside To The Lousy Weather

Let’s discuss the upside of the weather pattern we’re in. You have not heard any mention of the word “drought”, your lawn looks about as good as possible and kids who attend schools that don’t have air conditioning are not complaining about hot classrooms. I’m sure there are other plusses but frankly the negatives far outweigh them and since Sunday is the first official day of summer it would be nice if we could get some summer-like weather.
This has to be the worst June in recent memory and honestly many of us are tired of look at clouds and dogging rain drops. We live for this time of year
and each day without sunshine is one less day of what summer should be like at the shore. If you glance at some extended forecasts you’ll find that rain and thundershowers will pretty much be a given for the next week or so.

Next to family there is nothing more important than your friends and there is nothing I like more than seeing good things happen to those friends who are special to me. That’s why I was especially thrilled when Joe Arminio was named District Athletic Director for the Toms River Regional School District at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. A Toms River South graduate, Arminio has served in just about every capacity during his career, most of it at High School East. He’s been a teacher, assistant coach and successful head coach of both the Raider football and girls basketball teams.
Most recently he was the Athletic Coordinator at East, Assistant District Athletic Director and for the last year and-a-half was an Assistant Principal.
Arminio was the ideal choice to replace Walt Peto, who retires at the end of this month, to supervise the athletic programs of the three high schools and three intermediate schools in one of the state’s largest school districts.
He also overlooks the operation of the Ritacco Center, which is the site for many championship sporting events during the winter season.
Because he is a good friend you might expect my opinions to be biased and maybe they are. However I have worked with him on a number of projects and know Joe to be a total professional who has a unique ability to get along with everyone, no matter what their title is. He treats everyone fairly which is why people like to work with and for him. The Board of Education recognized this and I’m among many who are happy for Joe and his family.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

George Carlin's Rules For Life

It was almost a year ago that comedian George Carlin died suddenly at the age of 71. More than just a stand-up comic Carlin was often right on the money with his descriptions of every day life or at least the way he saw it.
One of his diatribes dealt with how life is not as difficult as many make it out to be as long as you have a good set of rules.

* Relax and take it easy. Don’t get caught up in hollow conceits such
as “doing something with your life.”
* Whatever it is you pursue, try to do it just well enough to remain in
the middle third of the field.
* Size people up quickly and develop rigid attitudes based on your
first impression. If you try to delve deeper and get to know people
you are asking for trouble.
* Don’t fall for that superstitious nonsense about treating people the
way you would like to be treated.
* Surround yourself with inferiors and losers. Not only will you look
good by comparison, but they will look up to you and that will make
you feel better.
* Don’t buy into the sentimental notion that everyone has shortcomings;
it’s the surest way of undermining yourself. Remember, the really
best people have no defects.
* Beware of intuition and gut instincts, they are completely unreliable.
Instead develop preconceived notions and don’t waver unless
someone tells you to.
* Never give up on an idea simply because it is bad and doesn’t work.
Cling to it even when it’s hopeless. Anyone can cut and run but it
takes a special person to stay with something that is stupid and harmful.
* Always remember that today doesn’t count. Trying to make something out of today only robs you of precious time that could be spent day dreaming or resting up.
* Try to dwell on the past. Think of all the mistakes you’ve made and
how much better it would be if you hadn’t made them.
* If by chance you make a fresh mistake, try to repeat it a few times so
you can become familiar with it and can do it easily in the future.
* Finally, enjoy yourself all the time and do whatever you want. Don’t
be seduced by the mindless chatter going around about “responsibility.” That’s exactly the sort of thing that can ruin your life.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not Dressing For Success

If you combine recent college graduates with those who are graduating high school and not continuing their education and you throw in all the unemployed there are a lot of people in the market for jobs. With that in mind sometimes it’s the little things that can make the difference in who gets hired and who doesn’t and a good place to seize an advantage is in the attire job seekers wear on interviews. Unfortunately it seems more and more people lose any hope of landing a job because the expression “dress for success” is one they never heard.

The job interview is no doubt a stressful situation, especially if you’ve been out of work for a while and are somewhat desperate. It’s also your first chance to impress a potential employer. Often men and women don’t have much information during this stage about the company they are interviewing with and that includes the dress code. The rule of thumb here is its better to overdress a little than under-dress. Of course there is a difference between seeking a job pumping gas and working for a Fortune 500 company but nobody losses a job because they were dressed too formally while many are knocked out of the running by dressing like they did in school. Most Human Resource officials expect you to wear business attire and preferably a suit.
They want the job seeker to look like are serious and feel if you don’t wear your best business attire to an interview it makes the employer question how important the job really is. Plus it’s hard to take someone seriously wearing flip-flogs, an out-of-season sweater and a wrinkled puffy skirt.

The problem is especially for the younger generation they have grown up during what I call “the casualness of America.” There was a time when everyone got dressed up for school, church, going out for dinner…look at old newsreels and you’ll see even in the 1960’s men wearing ties at baseball games. That’s been replaced with wardrobes that often include ripped jeans and shirts two sizes to big plus hats worn backwards. Getting dressed up for some simply means wearing a shirt with a collar and any pair of pants besides jeans.

That may be fine and dandy when you’re a teen-ager or young adult but when looking for a job you’d be wise to follow this cliché….dress for the position you want, not the one you have.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Recap

A little of this and a little of that on a Monday morning smack in the middle of the month:

Since just about everyone has made a comment about Luis Castillo’s dropped pop-up that cost the Mets Friday night’s game against the Yankees here is mine. First as a Met fan you come to expect things like this because it comes with the territory but it could be worse…you could have been born a Cubs fan. Second it’s true that you have to credit Mark Teixeira for running hard on the play to score the winning run although that’s what guys are supposed to do. And third it’s funny how everyone is all over Castillo for not using two hands to catch the ball. Most major leaguer don’t and despite what happened that’s not going to change.

While on the subject of baseball things are going very well for Toms River’s Todd Frazier in his second full season of professional ball. The 23-year old leftfielder is hitting .329 with the Carolina Mudcats, the Cincinnati Reds double-A team in Zebulon, North Carolina. Frazier is 5th in the Southern League in batting with a league-leading 25 doubles and has 5 homers and 35 RBI’s in 59 games. The former Toms River South and Rutgers University standout is progressing very nicely as an outfielder in the Reds organization.

And many expect him to be in the majors by 2010 or 2011. Meanwhile older brother Jeff is at Triple-A Toledo in the Tigers organization and batting .279 with six doubles, a home run and 13 RBI’s in 32 games for the Mud Hens. Jeff moved up to Triple-A after hitting .322 in the first 23 games for the Double-A Erie Seawolves. This is a big season for the 27-year old to show the Tigers that he can play at the major league level.

Manchester Township High School’s inaugural “Relay for Life” was an overwhelming success and even received the cooperation of Mother Nature. The American Cancer Society fundraiser started Friday at 3pm just after a downpour and dealt with a little rain in the beginning but things went smoothly after that. Administration, faculty, students and community volunteers pulled together to make for a very successful fundraiser but just as important was the celebration of those who have survived cancer and the memories of those who did not. All are to be congratulated for their effort and enthusiasm.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Thoughts

Random notes and thoughts heading into the weekend:

Rain, rain go away…please. We are going through a miserable stretch of weather with another wet day today and even the weekend looks kind of iffy. There is no question that lack of sunshine results in lack of smiles or simply put bad weather often means bad moods. All the rain might be good for the grass and water supply but that’s about it. We need sunshine.

According to research some 3 million Americans have not made the switch to digital which means no television after today which is when broadcasters switch off their analog signals. That’s how many received their service through an antenna but after today you’ll only be able to watch TV with an analog to digital converter box or a digital set itself. The federal government is still issuing coupons to help with the purchase of converter boxes through the end of July.

The Yankees and Mets both coming limping into the first half of their 2009 Subway Series which starts tonight in the Bronx. The Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Yanks last night and have won all eight meetings between the two rivals this season. Meanwhile the Mets lost 2-of-3 at home to their NL East rivals from Philadelphia. The two New York teams play a night game tonight, and then meet Saturday at 4pm and finally Sunday afternoon at 1 o’clock. The scene shits to Citifield for three more games in two weeks.

St. Barnabas Assisted Living at Lakewood celebrated its 10th anniversary with a party last night for residents and their families as well as their very dedicated staff. 30th District State Senator and Lakewood Mayor Robert Singer presented a proclamation from the State Senate to mark the occasion.
Administrator Alexis Commodore accepted the proclamation and also honored residents and staff who have been at the facility on Williams Street
since it opened in August of 1999. Kudos to all who made it an enjoyable evening for all involved.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Special Olympics Of New Jersey's Torch Run

This is a big weekend for the Special Olympics New Jersey as their Summer Games are held at The College of New Jersey beginning with the opening ceremonies Friday night in Ewing. As part of the event some 3,000 Law Enforcement officers will take part in the annual Torch Run, a 28-leg journey that will bring the “Flame of Hope” nearly 900 miles through 387 communities. The runners will start as early as 4:45 in the morning and then ignite the cauldron to open the Summer Games at 7:30 that evening.

Locally some 200 runners are expected to carry the torch 60 miles from Island Beach State Park up Route 35 to Perth Amboy. Another leg will start at the ShopRite on Route 9 in Lakewood with 50 runners traveling 25 miles to Manalapan. There will also be a group of runners carrying the torch some 20 miles through Long Beach Island. Of course this is all being done with the idea of attracting sponsorships and dollars. The first effort in 1984 raised $7000 and was done on a much smaller basis. Each year since it has grown and the number of volunteers has increased to the point where the torch run now raises some $2 million for the Special Olympics.

So on Friday be on the lookout throughout New Jersey as cops do their part to make things better for others.

Manchester Township High School is the latest group to hold a Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society. The school’s inaugural event is this weekend with ceremonies beginning at 3pm Friday and then concluding at sunrise Saturday. Relay for Life is held across the country to celebrate the lives of survivors, remember loved ones who lost their lives to cancer, and raise money so one day we can win the fight against this dreaded disease. Teams of people will be walking around the track at Manchester this weekend to do their part and at the same time bond with family, friends, co-workers and even strangers.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Almost Summer

This is a rather interesting time of year….one that really doesn’t have a true identity. We’re a couple of weeks away from the official start of summer although for some the summer season is well underway. Parochial schools have all pretty much finished for the year so for those students the vacation has already begun. Public schools have at least another week to go and some don’t finish until late June because of snow days and other postponements.

Memorial Day has become the unofficial start of the summer tourist season but except for weekends you would not know that and really won’t for a few more weeks. When the weather cooperates locals can pretty much enjoy semi-private beaches during the week and even the weekends won’t be packed until later in the month. Popular restaurants in beach areas that are normally jammed in July and August are easy to get in right now…at least during the week so it’s a good time to head over the bridge. After eating you can even stroll a fairly empty boardwalk and burn off the calories.

This all will end fairly soon and people will settle into a summer routine. For many that means taking the kids and heading to the beach or pool or making sure older ones get to their jobs. Some will spend part of their summer at camp which gives Mom a badly-needed break. After spending the past nine or ten months just driving kids from one place to another the summer allows for a somewhat slower pace. Of course that’s not the case for all but usually there is a change in the routine and sometimes that’s all you really want.

I’ve always said the best time of year around here can be the middle part of June and then the first couple of weeks after Labor Day. You get to enjoy the perks of life at the shore without the downside of all the people and traffic. So enjoy because July 4th is only 25 days away.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ocean County Sportsmanship Awards Breakfast

The Ocean County Directors of Athletics held their 17th annual Ocean County Sportsmanship Awards Breakfast yesterday at the Quality Inn of Toms River. Each of the county high schools had a male and female senior student-athlete honored for their citizenship, fairness, ethics and general qualities of sportsmanship. As I have for 16 of the 17 years this has been held I served as Master of Ceremonies and once again applaud the Athletic Directors for recognizing these outstanding ambassadors for their schools.

Also honored was Point Pleasant Boro’s Bill Larkin as the county Athletic Director of the Year, a well-deserved honor for a man who has devoted his entire career to students first as a teacher and coach and most recently as the AD and Supervisor of Health & Physical Education at both the middle and high schools. I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s breakfast and enjoyed sitting with the family of Brick Memorial honoree Brian Staub, a three-sport athlete who will play football at Springfield College in the fall.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that yesterday’s event was the last for Walt Peto, the District Athletic Director for the Toms River Regional School District. Walt will retire at the end of this month and recently he was honored at a surprise retirement party which unfortunately I could not attend. He has spent the bulk of his professional career in Toms River and was a teacher and coach before becoming the Athletic Coordinator at High School North and then the District Athletic Director the past couple of years.
He is known for his calm manner and ability to get along with others and is truly one of the good people I have been able to work with over the years.
Walt has earned his retirement and will enjoy spending time with his wife Janet and their grandchildren.

It was quite a Sunday for good friends and sports legends Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. Woods rallied from four shots back to win Jack Nicklaus’
Memorial Golf Tournament for the fourth time with a brilliant final round 7-under pat 65. Across the ocean in Paris, Federer finally won the French Open Tennis Championship and tied Pete Sampras’ record of 14 major singles titles. The two struck up a friendship after filming a TV commercial a few years ago.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Honoring Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship is defined in a variety of ways including:

Fairness in following the rules of the game; the behavior in playing sports; a conformance of the rules, spirit and etiquette of sport; an attitude that strives for fair play, courtesy toward teammates and opponents, ethical behavior and integrity and grace in losing.

Some athletes get it and some don’t. Thirty four who truly understand what sportsmanship is all about will be honored Sunday morning at the Quality Inn of Toms River during a breakfast hosted by the Ocean County Athletic Directors Association. I will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies at an event that celebrates what’s good about high school sports.

The soon-to-be high school graduates who will be honored are:

Barnegat- Nicole McCrann Teddy Ray
Brick Memorial- Corine Dafeldecker Brian Staub
Brick Twp.- Maggie Murtagh Matthew Dornacker
Central Regional- Jamie Skibee Logan Dudas
Jackson Liberty- Olivia Rotundo Colin Gorman
Jackson Mem- Kellie Rose Derrik Russell
Lacey- Alyssa Morris Steve Torre
Lakewood- Jasmine Turner Jorge Flores
Manchester- Meghan Jirkovsky Craig Leppert
Msgr Donovan- Cayla Linfante Jonathan Curtin
Pinelands- Jes Talerico Peter Cardillo
Point Beach- Justina Daley Daniel Enoch
Point Boro- Brianna Blank Jeff Keffer
Southern- Erin Reagan Steve Sibona
TR East- Taylor Madden Vinnie Dellefave
TR North- Nicole Testa Pat Szukics
TR South- Erin Applegate Kevin Bowden

Congratulations on being selected as representatives of your school and
I’ll see you Sunday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sports Shorts

Congratulations to the Jackson Memorial High School baseball team for winning the Shore Conference Tournament for just the second time in school history and first since 1984. Pete Kelich threw a five-hitter and struck out 7
as the Jaguars collected a 2-0 win over CBA in the championship game Wednesday night at FirstEnergy Park. Kevin Needham and Dave Kalash singed in runs for Jackson, who finishes the season with a 22-3 record and both the Class A South and Shore Conference Tournament titles under fifth year head coach Frank Malta.

The Southern Regional High School Boys Volleyball team looks to complete a championship season tonight when they face St. Peter’s Prep in the state tournament final at South Brunswick High School. The Rams won the South Jersey title earlier this week and now meet the North Jersey champs…a team they edged a month ago in three exciting games. Tonight marks the final game for five senior starters….Nick Nichols, Tyler Callahan, Rob Kraft, Shaw Keller and Austin Geary. Rams head coach Eric Maxwell has had quite a year…he guided the girls team to a state group championship in the fall.

While today might not feel like a summer day you can kick-off the summer season by attending a barbeque and business after hours networking event sponsored by the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce and Jersey Coast Appliance. The event will take place from 5-7pm at the Jersey Coast Appliance location on Route 37 in Toms River near the Crystal Diner.
The cost is $10 for chamber members and $20 for non-members and will include steak, shrimp, hamburgers, hot dogs, beer & wine. Dynamic Cooking Systems will bring their mobil outdoor kitchen and grill the food
on location.

The Berkeley Soccer Association will be holding registration for the fall season tonight from 5-8pm and Saturday from 2-6pm at their soccer complex on Eastern Boulevard in Bayville. For more information you can check out the club’s website at www.berkeleysoccer.com

The Beachwood Soccer Club will hold its final scheduled registration for the fall season Saturday from 4-6pm at the soccer complex on Berkeley Avenue. For more information you can visit www.beachwoodsoccer.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Honoring The WOBM Student Of The Week

They are valedictorians, class Presidents, Bloustein Scholars, All-State athletes, Eagle Scouts, school newspaper editors, Math League champions, prom kings and peer leaders. They play in the band, sing in the chorus, act in school plays, volunteer in many ways from tutoring to organizing food drives, and play three varsity sports. They often juggle incredible schedules that make you wonder how they do it all in 24 hours and still make the High Honor Roll and earn selection to the National Honor Society.

They are the 21 males and 17 females who have been honored this school year as a WOBM/Gateway Toyota-Scion Student of the Week. The 13th consecutive year of this program concludes this morning at 8:20am when one of the 38 high school seniors is randomly selected by Ed Sunday of Gateway Toyota-Scion to receive a $1000 college scholarship from the Toms River car dealer and Millennium Radio. (Ed will do the drawing live on 92.7 WOBM).

The weekly honorees were selected by their schools and every Monday we have aired a feature on their accomplishments. Just to be in this rather select list of 38 high school seniors is quite an honor. They are:

Teddy Ray & Sean Dangelmajer from Barnegat High School
Melanie Caruso & Brian Staub from Brick Memorial
Collin Crilley & Chelsea Greenstein from Brick Township High School
Matthew Solomon & Alyssa Mayo from Central Regional
Chris Griffin & Jillian Anzalone from Jackson Liberty
Michael Carletta & Kevin Matthews from Jackson Memorial
Julianne Whitleigh & Patrick MaGuire from Lacey Township High School
Michelle Lopez & Ian Vogler from Lakewood
David Boeger & Emberle Lawson from Manchester Township
Leonard Weg & Sarah Stefanelli from Monsignor Donovan
Anthony Wahler & Dan Sepp from New Egypt High School
Nathan Boyd & Steven Hartman from Pinelands Regional
Meghan Sosnowski & Cameron Dering from Point Pleasant Beach
Jackie Ball & Jacqueline Christenson from Point Pleasant Borough
Barbara DellaValle & Jeff Boye from Southern Regional High School
Vin DellaFave & Christopher Shore from Toms River East
Suresh Parakash & Tina Sankhla from Toms River North
Rae Drach & Eric Wengrowski from Toms River South
Joe Griggs & Monica Smetts from the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science

Sharing The Road (Tuesday, 6/2)

As the weather warms up and school days come to a close you are likely to see more children and adults riding bicycles through neighborhoods and of course resort towns and boardwalks. As days get longer many look to take advantage and early in the evening it’s a common site to see families out riding. I am reminded by a listener by the name of Paul that there are rules of the road and failure to follow them could have negative consequences.
Among those rules:

1. Always wear a helmet
2. Always ride on the right side of the road and travel in the same
direction as vehicular traffic.
3. Use hand signals for turns and stopping.
4. If you ride at night, use a light and reflectors and wear bright
colors or even a reflective vest.

While riders have to be aware of cars and other vehicles, drivers also have to keep their eyes open for those riding bicycles and also recognize that they have rights as well. The same goes for pedestrians and again with longer days and kids outside navigating local roadways calls for more attention by those behind the wheel. Drivers needs to be alert and think ahead so put the cell phone down and watch for kids and bikes darting in and out of traffic.

The summer is a great time of year but nothing can ruin it faster than a tragedy…especially one that can be avoided.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Season Finales

This is a bittersweet time for high school seniors as the days until graduation wind down. They and their families are going through things which had become routine for the final time and included in that for many are their days as a competitive athletes. Over the past couple of weeks just about each day a high school team’s season ended with a loss and as of today only a few are still playing, including the baseball teams from Toms River North and Jackson Memorial. The Mariners, who won their second straight South Jersey Group 4 Championship, will face powerful Hunterdon Central in the Group 4 semifinals tomorrow. Meanwhile the Jackson Jaguars have a Wednesday night date with CBA in the championship game of the Shore Conference Tournament at FirstEnergy Park.

Another group looking for a championship is the Southern Regional Boys Volleyball team. The Rams face defending champion St. Joseph of Metuchen in the South Jersey Sectional Final tomorrow night at South Brunswick High School after finally getting some revenge on East Brunswick in the semifinals. Nick Nichols led the Rams against an East Brunswick team that had knocked them out of the tournament two straight years. Coach Eric Maxwell’s team takes a 36-5 record into the section final.

With Toms River East bowing out of the state and Shore Conference Tournaments the season is over for all of the Ocean County softball teams.

A sad footnote to a historic tragedy:

The last remaining survivor of the Titanic disaster died over the weekend in the same city her family was trying to leave behind when the unsinkable ship sunk on its maiden voyage. 97-year old Millvina Dean died in her sleep in a nursing home in Southampton, England. She was just two months old when the Titanic hit an iceberg on April 14, 1912 and along with her mother and 2-year old brother were among the 706 survivors. Dean’s father, who was moving the family to Kansas City, died along with more than 1500 others. After the disaster her family returned to England…Dean was not told she was a passenger on the ship until she was 8 years old. She never married and spent the last three years of her life in a nursing home.