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Sep. 19, 2010
And the blogs keep on coming!
I’m sure at this point, you’re probably quite sick of these rapid fire blogs. I mean, I just did one on Aug. 3 and now, another one already. I know how to churn ‘em out baby!
Actually, I trust you have memorized everything that was in the Aug. 3 blog, so I’m not even going to put it on file with the past blogs.
Hopefully I am back and blogging a little more frequently, so let’s start with a few observations.
* * *
First off, how great will the Oct. 24 Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame banquet be for Steinert fans from the 1970s and 1980s?
A total of 10 former Spartans (from just three families!) will be inducted that night, highlighted by the entire Fink family.
One of the most unique clans in high school sports – not only in Hamilton, but the state of New Jersey – all seven Fink brothers played soccer for Steinert during the absolute glory years of the boys’ program. They were not only great players, but each possesses an indefinable sense of humor that can only be described as “Classic Fink Wit.”
And they look a lot alike too, as witnessed by any banquet you go to where they are in attendance.
“Who’s that, Bird?”
“No, it’s Tommy.”
“I thought that guy was Tommy.”
“No, that’s John.”
“Damn! OK. . .John, is that the one they call Himer?”
“No, Himer is Jim, he’s the oldest. John is Sid.”
“Who’s Hessian? Didn’t he used to be called Clubber?”
“Go get a beer and leave me alone.”
And on it would go. Unless you grew up with them, you really couldn’t keep them, or their nicknames, straight.
Of course, the other set of brothers getting in are also tough to tell apart, since they are twins. I’m talking of course, about Jim and John Bowen, two of the classiest acts to ever wear the Green and White.
They were outstanding athletes in soccer and baseball – and key members of state champion teams in both – and always conducted themselves (and still do) as complete gentleman. Despite their status at Steinert and Princeton University, they have always remained humble, polite and respectful to others. And despite those qualities, they’re not even boring!
Finally, the “solo” act is Mike Rasimowicz, one of the big stars near the beginning of Steinert’s two-decade run as a Mercer County dynasty. If Rasimowicz gets the same fan club at the Mercer HOF inductions as he got at Steinert’s HOF, get your tickets now or that crew will snap them all up.
It should be one heck of a night at the Hibos.
* * *
Nottingham’s football team caught a bad break when Thursday’s game at Hightstown was moved to Monday night because of lightning. That means the Northstars will have to play Hamilton Saturday with just four days rest, while the Hornets will have enjoyed eight days off.
Throw in the fact the Northstars staged the greatest comeback in school history in last year’s win, and you know Hamilton has tons of motivation for revenge.
Either way, this still shapes up as a classic. Too bad it’s this early in the season, but, oh well.
* * *
I swear, the Nostalgia Page is coming back. I just have to find time to get to the library again!
* * *
Belated thanks to Rick “Web Master” Taylor, the Voice of the Northstars, for his help on opening-day of the football season in getting the word out on Fish4Scores. And of course, Mike “Stinger” Hastings gets kudos as well at Steinert for his continued support.
* * *
For those who enjoy Mediterranean food, there’s a place on Olden Ave. that has opened within the past year called El Sham, that is really good. Great ka-bobs and grape leaves and all that cool stuff you can’t really find around here.
It’s located in a strip mall on the left, just before the light where Arena merges into Olden. I don’t know the owner and he’s not a sponsor. I just like the place and want it to do well so I can keep getting food from there.
* * *
Went to SeptemberFest today. Another winner. That really is a nice event each year . . . Currently watching the Colts-Giants game as I type this. It’s 24-0 and boring as hell. Please, no more Manning Bowls. The hype ain’t worth it and I’m sick of Archie . . . If there is a better guy than ComcastSportsNet’s Ray Didinger at breaking down a football game – without first having to talk to a coach – I’ve yet to see him . . . Greetings to Fawny in Texas, who still checks in with Fish4Scores on occasion. We love having a presence in the state that does everything big. Sorry about the Cowboys Fawn. :)
July 24, 2010
Random thoughts on a red hot weekend
It’s gonna be a zillion degrees today from what a I hear. A good day to sit in the air conditioning and read this meandering blog. And make no mistake, it does meander.
* * *
First things first.
I am going to Camden Yards to take in the Orioles game today and the Baltimore night life tonight. At first I was in a tizzy of how we could post all the Babe Ruth and legion stuff in my absence.
Thus, my advance “thank yous” go out to our videographer/photographer/writer extraordinaire Ken Weingartner, who is going to cover and attempt to post today’s action. So I thank Ken and hope the followers of this site appreciate his efforts. Not only today, but every day. Ken and photographer John Blaine have been unbelievable during our summer surge in visitors.
Not to be left out are the legendary O'Gorman cousins, Joe and George, who have been a big help with Babe Ruth information. Thanks guys!
* * *
Looks like former Hamilton West baseball standout Ryan Zegarski is tapping his alma mater’s old rival pretty effectively in order to improve the Mercer County Community College softball team.
The MCCC manager, who got the Vikings to the national tournament this spring, procured Steinert catcher Angela Marinos before the high school season was out. Just recently he added Lauren Manfredi to next year’s team. They were two of the top players on Steinert’s Mercer County Tournament champion.
What’s interesting is, Zegarski has reportedly told Manfredi she will be a pitcher for him. Manfredi had been a standout hurler until her last few years at Steinert, but it appears she and Marinos will be batterymates once again after spending their senior seasons at shortstop and first base. Should be interesting.
* * *
I’m a week late with this, but last Sunday’s Nottingham-Hamilton 15-year-old Babe Ruth battles were outstanding.
I’m not a big fan of tournaments where the top two teams advance to the next round, because it takes away that drama of “finality.” Yes, I know teams are playing for a District One title and it’s a championship and it’s a big deal.
But when the team that loses is also told its season is done, that to me makes it a little more exciting. You’re not only playing for a title, but a chance to move on. No safety net. Win or go home. Pressure adds excitement.
That being said, when it’s Nottingham and Hamilton, all those things go out the window. They really do play for pride and bragging rights. Those two clawed at each other last Sunday at Switlik like life itself was on the line, even though both were guaranteed a spot in the states. They never disappoint. It’s pretty cool.
* * *
Has anybody ever won anything?
I’m talking about radio contests. I just heard someone win a trip to Cancun on a radio station and the guy kept going “This is great. I’ve never won anything in my life.” Like he’s proud of it.
Has anyone ever said anything different?
Have you ever heard someone win a contest and then go “Yeah, this figures. I always win this stuff. I win all the time. I’m not excited by this at all.”
Seemingly, every winner never won anything in their life. So I guess the rule is, when you win, you can never win again. Lotsa losers out there.
Wouldn’t you think I’d have enough to concern myself with, than to worry about that?
Talk about a loser huh?
July 14, 2010
How ‘bout those Hurricanes!
Anyone who has watched a Joe Pesci/Robert DeNiro movie has eventually heard the phrase – albeit somewhat saltier – “are you freakin’ kiddin’ me!”
When Bob Fremgen sent in the report on Monday about the HGSA 18U team winning the War at the Shore, I uttered that same phrase, albeit somewhat saltier.
As if Sunday was not incredible enough for the Hamilton Girls Softball Association, when the 8U, 10U and 12U teams all won Southern New Jersey Babe Ruth titles, add to it what the 18s did.
After a sub-par Saturday in which they went 2-2, the oldest Hurricanes won five straight games on Sunday against teams seeded much higher than them in the final round.
Is this program impressive from top to bottom, or what?
After spending a weekend at the HGSA complex covering the 12s and keeping tabs on the 10s, I can see why. It has good fan support (though I could have done without the World Cup horn in center field, lol), a great snack shack, league officials who make sure things run smoothly and coaches who care about getting their kids positive publicity.
In this, our first year of Fish4Scores.com, the HGSA coaches have been outstanding in supplying us with photos and tournament reports. I can only hope this will serve as an example for other rec leagues when fall sports start up (for you HGSA coaches or parents whose kids play fall sports, start spreading the word!).
Visits to the website have been steadily rising and your contributions helped us set a new single-day record with 433 visits on Monday. That got me excited until I saw that we smashed that record with 502 visits on Tuesday.
Of course, District 12 Little League and Babe Ruth are helping immensely, but when a team wins four championships in one day, that’s gonna draw a crowd.
And while the infrastructure of HGSA has much to do with its success, it still comes down to the players and coaches. They are good. Really good.
For veteran HGSA followers I’m writing nothing new here, But for folks who haven’t seen these teams play – like me, before this year, -- its good, solid, entertaining softball.
The 12Us won with great fundamentals and dominated every opponent in the SNJ Tournament. The 10Us won with guts and tenacity, mounting several comebacks. I don’t know how the 8Us won because I didn’t see them, but I’m sure it was good stuff.
As for the 18Us, I didn’t see them at the Shore, but I’ve seen most of them play in high school so their stellar effort did not surprise me.
It was just a great day for a great program.
And I ain’t freakin’ kiddin’ youse.
July 7, 2010
Congratulations G, you’ve earned it
I’ve told the story so many times Rich Giallella wants to beat me over the head with it, so I’ll give the Reader’s Digest version here.
We first met when he was playing for the Reading Phillies and was a speaker at our little league banquet. I was in third grade, he yelled at me for making fun of a teammate and I was scared of him for the next 15 years.
Then I started covering his Steinert baseball teams. Then we became friends. That escalated to good friends, of which he has many.
Of course, that friendship gets tested each year when I invite too many people to the Annual Christmas Eve Club (and have been, for a long time). In fact, with his free time, club members now wonder what is in store for us.
“I hadn’t thought about it,” said John Wagner, Giallella’s long-time friend. “It’s kind of scary to think the club might be turned upside down with him having more time to deal with it now.”
Either way, I’m happy for my friend today, that he is able to retire in good health and has a lot to look forward to in retirement. (Wife Kathy, on the other hand, may have other ideas. . .lol).
I’m not naïve enough to think that the world loves the G-Man. His excitable personality and competitiveness rubbed some people the wrong way over the years. But most people who know him, call him their friend.
He has certainly been a friend to Steinert athletics, first as a player and coach, and these last 10 years as an athletic director.
I laugh at the cynics who say he had hidden agendas in taking the job way back when (that are not even worth going into now).
If he did, so be it. But guess what, nobody sticks around in a job like that, for 10 years, just to fulfill an agenda. Anyone who has spent time with Giallella at a Steinert game knows that this guy is passionate about Spartan sports.
Giallella cared so much, he even impressed The Trentonian’s Rick Fortenbaugh, who is as cynical as it gets.
give Richie G credit,” Fortenbaugh would say. “You rarely see ADs that want every one of their teams to win the way he does. He’s always out there supporting them.”
What made me laugh while interviewing Giallella for his retirement story, is when he said “I’ll help out, but now I don’t have to be forced to go to games, I can just go to games when I want.”
He’ll be at games. A LOT of games. He may have felt forced, but once he got there, he was like any other fan. Actually, more intense than most.
“He’s an athletic junkie, he really is,” said Wagner, a former AD at Hightstown. “Every time I talk to him he’s always at a Steinert game. He’s always doing something with sports. That job can be a little taxing but he seemed to enjoy it and seemed to relish it.”
It’s not an easy job. It's harder now then when Giallella took over, which likely played into his decision. There are booster clubs to deal with, and coaches, officials, rowdy fans, other athletic directors, people from the NJSIAA. And more and more, it’s parents who go over a coach’s head to complain to an AD.
It’s a lot for anyone to endure, but Giallella did it with a passion and now feels the time is right.
Steinert athletics may get worse or they may get better, but they will never be the same.
Things never are, when one-of-a-kind moves on.
July 2, 2010
Congrats to gridders, good luck to Brescia
It was great to see so many kids from Hamilton Township do well in last night’s Sunshine Classic. What was really great is that the guys who represented the township are not only good players but good guys.
I’ve probably dealt with Jordan Diaz, Mark Newlin and Dan Danaso the most out of all of them, and you won’t meet nicer guys. Always courteous and well spoken with interesting things to say, they are the right kind of guys you want to symbolize your school.
That’s not to count out the other players in the game. I’ve dealt with Shaq Sanderson, Pat Ferrara, Nick Maciolek and Mike Garofola on several occasions and they too, have always been a pleasure to talk with. It’s a credit to these players, their parents and their coaches.
Speaking of coaches, seeing Pete Brescia on the sidelines last night was my first chance to congratulate him on his new job as Hightstown High coach.
Son of the Steinert Hall of Fame football coach of the same name, I wish Pete all the luck as he attempts to revive the Rams.
I first met the lifelong Hamilton resident in 1978 when he worked at the playground at Kuser Tennis Courts and I was working for the township’s park security department while home from college for the summer (lots of stolen pails and shovels and lots of crime in the parks that summer, by the way). He was a good kid then and a good man now.
Yes, he went to Notre Dame, but we won’t hold that against him. lol. He came back and coached at Steinert for the past few years and will now move on to a new chapter in his life. Pete seems fired up for the chance and even more fired up to join Hightstown’s legendary “Club”, which serves as a proud sponsor for Fish4Scores and is also excited over the election of it's new treasurer.
So good luck in college to all the guys who played so well last night, and good luck to Pete at Hightstown. It’s always nice to see good men do good.
Little League just getting more nuts
The contrast at Bordentown’s Northern Community Park today was as stark as you could get.
Inside the fence, on the playing field, was what Little League should be about.
Outside the fence is what Little League has become.
It was beautiful and slimy all at once.
There’s a major controversy brewing over a 12-year-old kid named Luca Dalatri, who is playing for Bordentown and who pitched a one-hitter in a 1-0 loss to Nottingham today.
Dalatri and Matthew Tola locked into an unbelievable District 12 pitcher’s duel. It was fun to watch. It made people nervous, mad, happy and everything in between.
It should have been what the day was all about and, for the most part, it was.
But outside the fence, people from North Wall were handing out fliers to Nottingham supporters, encouraging them to protest the game and force a possible forfeit loss by Bordentown or possible disqualification of Dalatri.
In a nutshell, North Wall Little League is accusing the parent of a Bordentown player of renting a room illegally to Dalatri and his father so that Dalatri can play with Bordentown’s 12-year-old All-Stars. I’m not sure why he is not playing with North Wall but evidently there was some falling out there, even though his brothers are still in the league.
I don’t have all the facts in this situation so I’m not going to say who is right or wrong as far as the legal issues go.
I have heard that people from Nottingham were upset about Dalatri and were making their thoughts known to the district. I don’t know the extent of that, or if there is anything to it. District 12 has apparently given Dalatri the green light.
But that isn’t my concern. Nor was it the concern of NLL 12-year-old manager Anthony Francioso, who met with Dalatri and his manager at home plate after the game and complimented the hurler on his effort.
“I think it’s a shame that a 12-year-old kid is trying to pitch in a game, and you have people protesting against him at the game,” Francioso said. “I felt bad for him and I wanted him to know he did a great job. You’re protesting against a kid? C’mon!”
And that friends, is what this is all about.
I repeat – I do not pretend to have all the facts nor will I look into them. Other than this one-time blog, I’ve got better things to do than publicize grown-ups behaving like kids.
That being said, I can’t accuse anybody. Nor am I blaming anybody. Or maybe I’m blaming everybody.
I just agree with Francioso. This kid didn’t deserve today.
It’s nuts what has become of Little League baseball. It’s hardly the first controversy around here and it won’t be the last, but this is crazy.
Somebody who should know better has wronged Dalatri. He’s a kid. There have to be grown-up forces at work.
I couldn’t even imagine being 12, pitching in an all-star game and having adults handing out literature to other adults trying to get me off the team. (Actually, I stunk, so I couldn’t imagine being 12 and pitching in an all-star game at all. The protest would have been to let me on the team).
Anyway, Little League has advanced to great heights and that’s great. Media coverage is like never before with ESPN in the act.
But with higher stakes come bigger jerks.
I don’t know who the exact jerks are in this case.
Whoever they are, shame on them for turning something so good into something so ridiculous.
Congratulations township grads!
Just want to pass along a quick congratulations to the seniors of Hamilton West, Nottingham and Steinert who are graduating tonight. These congratulations go to all the students, athletes or not.
But I would be remiss if special congrats did not go out to those of you who I know from covering your athletic exploits over the years. Some of you I've known for a while, some I just met this year. You all share a special place for me as the first senior class to be covered by Fish4Scores, and most of you were true class acts.
You're all to be commended for doing the work on the field and in the classroom. Graduation is a big step in your lives and now it's on to the next level.
For those playing sports in college, best of luck and keep Fish4Scores posted of your exploits. When the sports information director hands out your information sheet, make sure firstname.lastname@example.org is listed along with the Trentonian and Trenton Times.
As for the guy heading to a school that is 70 percent female population, make sure you invite your high school buddies out for at least one weekend!
For the rest of you, enjoy your time in college as it is often the best years of a person's life. Just remember the most important thing -- keep a balance between socializing and academics, or you'll be hiding those transcripts from your parents!
And for those going right into the work force, let me know where to contact you when I need a loan! lol.
But seriously, congratulations to all and I wish everyone from the class of 2010 the best of luck. Go get 'em!
June 18/Part 2
What a difference five hours makes
At 11:30 a.m. all I could think about was how the U.S. got screwed in the World Cup (see below). I could have cared less that we became the first team in Cup history to get a point after trailing by two goals. I figured it would mean nothing after England won.
At 4:30, I’m suddenly all fired up about the U.S. comeback. I’m thrilled they made history. Because it means something now.
The way I figure it, if we beat Algeria, we get five points. If England wins, they have five and Slovenia had four, so we’re in. If Slovenia wins, they have seven but we’re second with five.
And now you gotta wonder. What the heck is going on with England?
Either way, their poor play has kept my interest alive for at least one more game.
(Sorry all my soccer friends, but I will lose interest if U.S. is beaten).
World Cup call is absolute rubbish
It might not be a date which will live in infamy, but the United States certainly was the victim of another sneak attack today.
This one came from the World Cup official who shockingly disallowed what would have been the game-winning goal for the U.S. against Slovenia. And then, he gave no explanation to the U.S. as to WHY the goal was taken away. I’m watching Landon Donovan on ESPN right now, and he almost seems dazed.
Replays showed that not only was there no foul or offsides on Maurice Edu's apparent goal, but that Michael Bradley was held and should have gotten a penalty shot. Instead, we got nothing and end up with a tie.
The question is, how can the biggest event in the freaking world, have officials this incompetent? Players are expected to be at the top of their game, so too should officials. How can such a horrible call be made at such a key time?
Donovan said it was this official’s first game and he might have gotten caught up in the moment. That might be plausible, if it was a borderline call. But there was nothing there to call. It’s insane.
It totally takes the shine off what was an amazing comeback by the U.S., which rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game. We should have won the game, plain and simple.
I feel the same way now, as I did in 1972 when the officials gave Russia’s basketball team three chances before they finally won the Olympic semifinal over America.
On the other side of the coin, it brings one big fact to light – you have to play well enough to make sure a bad call doesn’t cost you. The U.S. did not do that. It played a poor first half and it cost them.
It shouldn’t have, but it did. And it’s a shame that America did enough to overcome the bad start, but the final score won’t show that.
Now, a lot of things need to happen for U.S. to advance.
We wait and see.
As they say in England. . .rubbish.
Steinert has hosted a U.S World Cup star
As we count down the hours until tomorrow’s U.S.-England game to kick off America’s participation in the World Cup, I would like to reveal a little known fact that might be of interest to Hamilton Township residents.
Back in the mid-1990’s, Steinert had a powerhouse basketball team led by Dahntay Jones. During that stretch, in either 1995 or ’96, I can’t remember the exact year, Steinert hosted a Central Jersey Group IV basketball semifinal.
The opponent was North Brunswick, whose guard was a young sophomore more known for his soccer talent. At the time, he was a high-scoring midfielder. His name was – and still is – Tim Howard, the starting goalie for the U.S. tomorrow.
Just think about it for a second.
In one game, you had a future NBA player on one team, and the future U.S. starting goalie in the World Cup on the other. Not to mention a one-time goalie for Manchester United.
That, my friends, is pretty cool.
And pretty darn rare in these parts.
June 4, 2010
To err is human, to admit it is cool
This whole Jim Joyce thing has been fascinating to watch.
Here’s a guy who blows one of the biggest calls ever, and he’s being treated like royalty.
And you know what? He deserves to be.
One thing people fail to realize about perfect games is, not only does the pitcher need to be perfect, so too do the fielders. . . and the umpires.
Jim Joyce wasn’t perfect.
But he admitted it.
The whole thing has been surreal considering the aftermath.
Joyce admitting his mistake in a day and age of brash umpires who won’t admit to spelling cat wrong even after their signature of “kat” is verified by handwriting experts. Then you have Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga, who lost the perfect game, taking the whole thing so gracefully when some guys would be calling their lawyers to imply about law suits.
In some twisted way, this is actually a positive. Forget about the whole controversy over instant replay and all that stuff. That’s secondary.
This is about everybody understanding that ‘Hey, it happens, we’re human.’ Joyce was incredibly humble and sympathetic in his apology, Galarraga was even more so in his acceptance of it all, and the Tiger fans were first class in their applause.
That’s what happens when someone is man enough to not just say ‘I’m wrong,’ but to show regret in doing so.
It’s not hard to gain, or regain, America’s respect. It just takes some humility.
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are scoffed at because they refuse to ‘fess up about steroids. Andy Pettite and Jason Giambi are afterthoughts on the whole thing because they said ‘Yup, we did it.’
Had Bill Clinton said ‘Yes, Monica Lewinsky and I were inappropriate’ and showed just a little remorse, things probably would never have been so bad for him.
The point is, we’re all mere mortals. Some of us are elevated into spots where we have to be immortal.
It’s just nice to see someone not only admit they are not (especially an ML umpire), but to feel so terrible about being merely human.
There’s no need to feel bad about being human, as long as you admit to it.
Get well soon Ange
The second I heard of the severity of Angela Marinos’ ankle injury, I bummed out.
Injuries happen, but you never want to see them no matter who it is.
And you really hate seeing them hit one of the top players in her area when the most fun part of the season is coming up.
But what you hate most, is seeing them happen to a great kid.
Marinos fits the bill on all of the above.
The Steinert senior is one of Mercer County’s best hitters and catchers, even though she unselfishly moved to first base to help her team this year. She is also a friendly, refreshing young lady, always quick to smile and bring a good mood to those around her.
That’s not just me talking.
“She’s a really good kid,” said Mike Belmont, uncle of Spartan soccer/basketball standout Jess Belmont. “She’s been over the house a few times. We all love her.”
And you really know she’s a class act when praise comes from the enemy.
“That’s just horrible to happen to a kid like that,” said Nottingham coach Mike Walsh, who endured his own serious loss when veteran second baseman Lindsay Buckley suffered a season-ending injury against Steinert two weeks ago.
“What a great kid,” added Tara Lavin, the aunt of Nottingham pitcher Kim Murl, who watched Marinos grow up in the HGSA. “She does whatever she needs to do for her team, and she’s just a kid everybody likes.”
That’s why I bummed so quickly when learning Marinos would miss at least two weeks.
It’s not about the player, but the person. She’s a person you like to see succeed because of that spunky personality.
Actually, in this case it’s also about the player. Were this injury to occur in April, that would stink but not be awful.
But Marinos is missing the Mercer County Tournament semifinals and finals, and at least a week of state tournament games provided Steinert gets that far. Those are the games great athletes want to play in. The best want to make their teams the best by beating the best.
Marinos can now just watch.
But she even does that well.
She showed up at Armstrong Field with her teammates Tuesday night, bouncing off the bus (as much as one on crutches can bounce) with a smile and a laugh. She encouraged teammates and was a darn good cheerleader in the dugout.
Her presence was felt, just in a different way.
Still, it was a positive way.
That’s what Angela Marinos is all about. Positive vibes.
Get well soon Ange. Those vibes belong on the field.
Happy Mother's Day mom!
Well, it's Mother's Day, so first and foremost I want to wish my mom and Happy Mother's Day, along with my Aunt Phyllis, who is like a second mom to me!
And because my mom, more than anyone else, wants me to blog, I am blogging this one especially for her, even though she won't see it til Monday. But, one day late, Happy Mother's Day mom, I love ya!!!
I'm a mess
Well, I haven't blogged in 18 days and I haven't updated the Nostalgia Page since April 10. That's not by design, it's just that April is a ridiculously busy month for sports and so too is May. So forgive me for being so far behind, especially on Nostagia. I'm just a mess.
But a few thoughts as I wait for my internet company to fix my "publish" options. In case you don't know, I sit here at 1:30 a.m. Friday morning with all kind of stuff from Thursday's activity on the website, but because I'm unable to publish, you can't see any of it. Then again, by the time you see this, you'll see all the rest of the stuff. So why am I even telling you this.
Cos I'm a mess maybe?
---Congratulations to Bob Hutchinson for getting the O'Shea Award this Sunday. There's not a better guy out there. Easy going and competitive all at once, Hutch has always been a class act.
Also congrats to Steinert's Dana Jeter for winning the Renee Keister award. I don't know Renee Keister personally but the former McCorristin basketball standout is one of the most amazing people I know about.
A beautiful girl and talented basketball player who became paralyzed by an accident while still in high school, Renee could have felt sorry for herself after seemingly losing everything. She could have had a bitter "Why Me?" life and crawled into a dark place. But she built a life, a career and a family.
That, friends, is one of the best definitions of courage, determination and inspiration that there is.
---It's nice that the U.S. National team is coming to Princeton University to train in June before the World Cup starts, but it's not exciting really, because with closed practices they might as well be practicing in North Dakota for all it matters.
Of course, the practices must be closed so players can focus. But it would be nice if somehow Bob Bradley and his alma mater could come up with an hour or so of open workouts, where players can put on a show and sign a few autographs. But, we'll see.
----Speaking of what would be nice, more night softball games at the HGSA complex would be pretty cool. It would be great if the township round robin games all took place there, but I have no idea of the availability. Afterall, HGSA does have their own games to worry about.
---Here's a shout-out for the Hamilton West lacrosse teams, which are on the short end of a lot of bad beatings this year. Keep hanging tough guys and girls and keep plugging away. You're on the ground floor of something that could get big in the future and you can take pride in getting it started.
The right man won
The script is too good to be true.
The man who sticks by his wife as she battles breast cancer, the man who has always been a class act and a true famly man, wins the Masters.
The guy who was so utterly scummy to his wife didn't.
There's nothing more to write. It was just great.
Wait, there is one more thing.
I used to be indifferent toward the man who apparently invented golf (and re-invented the libido), other than hating the way broadcasters gushed over him. But after his utter dirt bag behavior and these well-crafted, spin doctor apologies, and that completely disgraceful Nike commercial with his late father's voice-over, I hope he never wins again.
And now, he probably won't. It's one thing to put the shame and humiliation of sexual indisgression behind you. But when you're snubbed by a high-powered media outlet like Fish4Scores, which captures an audience all the way from Bromley to Groveville. . .well, you've pretty much had it.
A banner day for Eagles PR machine
The Donovan McNabb trade is already successful for the Eagles.
For the past two years, Joe Banner has despised the Phillies for stealing the Eagles thunder. He seems to have a problem with fans wanting to follow a team that actually wins championships rather than comes close.
But the timing of this trade could not have come at a better time for Eagles public relations.
All winter long the Philadelphia fans have salivated at Roy Halladay’s first start in a Phillies uniform. On a normal day, the morning sportscasts would be blaring about Halliday’s debut.
Instead, it’s been shoved beneath a mountain of McNabb. Not sure if that was part of the plan – probably not – but it’s obviously a tremendous piece of good timing for the Eagles.
Now, when the actual NFL games start, it will be a little different.
This trade has shocked the world, if only because McNabb has gone to a team that will play Philly twice a year. And that will, indeed, be interesting.
If anything, McNabb has shown a penchant for coming up short in games that mean a lot. Can you even imagine him coming into Philadelphia, a place where his relationship has been nothing short of bizarre considering the love and hate he gets from there.
Will he show the fans they were wrong and have a huge game? Or will he choke it up as has been his custom.
Time will tell.
But I have to imagine that right now, Joe Banner is sitting in his office quite smug. The team that he hates, maybe as much as the Cowboys themselves, has been completely knocked from the public eye in Philadelphia, in what should be a major Phillies moment.
Oh, and by the way, the NCAA championship game is tonight.
A fish out of (pool) water and happy to be so
The unthinkable has happened.
For the first time since 1980, I am not in an NCAA pool. Through a series of misadventures, somehow I just never got hooked up.
But if ever there were a year not to be part of the Madness, it’s this one.
Well, considering my success, or lack thereof, it’s every one. But for ulcer reasons, this is a really good year to be on dry land.
It didn’t start that way.
As I began to watch the early games Thursday, I sat there and had this strange feeling of nothingness come over me. Teams I cared nothing about were playing and I had no rooting interest.
It was not unlike drinking non-alcoholic beer. What’s the sense?
But in about three hours my entire thought process had changed. The games were nothing short of incredible. Friday didn’t quite live up to Thursday, but not much could live up to that.
The best part is, when you have no rooting interest, I’ve discovered that these pulsating games can be a lot of fun. I’m not hunched over, holding my stomach, whispering into the floor “c’mon c’mon c’mon!” I’m not grabbing the nearest pillow and mis-shaping it 30 times as some 19-year-old kid stands on the foul line -- who I mean nothing to -- and holds a little bit of my fate in his hands.
I’m just sitting here going “Wow!” “Wow!” “Wow!” I love the upsets now.
It’s refreshing, if only because I can watch the highlights 15 years from now and go “awww yeah, I remember that.” and actually enjoy it.
I still haven’t watched one second of Villanova’s 1985 win over Georgetown. Sparing you the math, I entered the Final Four with a chance to win if Georgetown and Memphis State reached in the finals.
But first ‘Nova beat Memphis, then it beat Georgetown, and I ended up tied for third. That’s akin to “OK, here’s your entry fee money back.” While the world raves over “The Perfect Game” I still despise it. It cost me a lot and I’m still bitter 25 years later.
Then there was Christian Laettner’s miracle shot.
Another quick explanation. If Kentucky-Indiana reached the finals that year I would win. Laettner hit his shot, I ended up sliding down the pool to “Thanks, try again next year.”
That was a mere 18 years ago and once again, I can’t watch it. It sickens me and it is one of the truly great moments in sports.
And as we know, they show those ‘Nova and Laettner highlights A LOT.
So this year, I am free of the demons. I am gleeful at the upsets and the close games and I don’t throw things at the TV or kick the cats’ food dish.
Order me up another O’Doul’s. I like it!
* * *
Some other NCAA Tournament thoughts:
When someone asks you how you’re doing in your pool, don’t even answer. It’s just their way of telling you how they’re doing in their pool. They’ll give you about 18 seconds to explain something and as soon as you hit on the right game, they’ll go “Oh yeah, ODU killed me too. I had Notre Dame. . .blahh, blaaah.”
And from that point on, they’re talking about their pool.
* * *
Does anyone know when the Masters is? They never seem to promote it during these games.
* * *
What's the rule? When someone says a higher seed, do they mean the higher number (like 16) or the higher status (like 1)? Everyone seems to have a different take on that.
* * *
How about the Philly talk show hosts who were absolutely indignant over Temple’s 5th seed? They were just laughing at Cornell being the fashionable pick, saying no way could the Owls lose.
They never took into consideration that running roughshod through the A-10 tournament is no great shakes. As always, Xavier is the one Atlantic 10 team that seems to rise above it all come NCAA time. Must be all that Skyline Chili they eat.
See you at the Trenton St. Paddy's Day Parade. I'll be wearing the Fish4Scores shirt!
LOL Part 2: With a Texas accent
Well, we're pleased to say that Fish4Scores has drawn a following somewhere in Texas. Well, one person, at least.
We received an e-mail from "FawnyInTexas" who said she never uses LOL and wonders why anyone would want to defuse a good insult with an LOL. We couldn't agree more.
She also said she has taken our blog to heart and when speaking cyber-talk to people now, will either say LWY (Laughing With You) or LAY (Laughing At You). That makes pretty good sense to us here in Jersey Fawny, so I will pass it along.
And please pass along our best to all the Texas teams in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, since we have none here in Jersey.
"LOL" has lost its meaning. . .if it ever had it to begin with
Let’s talk “lol.”
You’re sitting at the computer e-mailing or IMing someone, or you’re on the phone texting or twittering (You’re never talking. Talk is no longer cheap, it’s obsolete).
Anyway, you’re communicating and, inevitably, you’re writing “lol.” And, so is the other person.
Neither of you have even smiled during the exchange, let alone laughed out loud.
(Let’s not even get into “lmao” or “rofl”. . .no one has yet to lose an ass from laughing, and no one has ever fallen off their chair and rolled around on the floor laughing, all the while being able to type “rofl” as they’re doing it.)
I took a poll at a party recently; maybe 7 or 8 people. But it was unanimous. No one is laughing out loud. No one! And no one ever did.
Face it, lol mostly represents things that have nothing to do with laughing, let alone out loud.
It can be simple confirmation. You’re basically confirming that you’re only kidding. We have j/k for “just kidding,” but lol seems more popular. (That / key is hard to find on the keyboard sometimes.)
It could also be a form of nervous laughter. You make fun of someone, but you’re not sure if they know it’s a joke or not, so you lol them cuz you think they’re stupid.
“Yeah, I’m sure she thought a lot of you when you wore that ugly shirt today. lol.”
Or, it’s a way to save face. Like when a guy writes to a girl “Maybe we can go out some time.” Then there’s no response for like, 3 seconds, and the guy quickly writes “LOL!” in all caps.
That’s the classic lol. “Of course I don’t really want to go out! Why, I’m laughing out loud at the mere idea!” You can feel the sweat dripping off the lol in that one.
It’s also a subconscious way to just shut someone up. They go on a long tangent that you could care less about. You have no reply, so you just automatically type “lol” with nothing else, and they know it’s over. They’ve lost you.
There is nothing that says “you bore me” or “we’re done here” better than that stand-alone lol. How many times is that followed by “Phone, gotta go.”
Lol doesn’t really bother me. I’m guilty of it often (mostly on that latter example).
But I’m thinking of changing. Sometimes, we actually do chuckle lightly, or smile at something someone writes, or that we write.
So, perhaps we should put “ltm”. . .laughing to myself. Or just “s” for smiling. I actually tried this with a friend once. It worked for about 2 days, then the lol gods sucked us up again like an Oz-bound tornado.
One good thing, I haven’t actually started saying it yet. But isn’t that the purpose, to be “out loud”?
Wouldn’t that be interesting? Just think if lol became the way to verbally communicate laughing out loud.
A stand-up comedian is on stage and he’s a riot. He’s at the peak of his comic genius. But instead of being greeted by raucous laughter, there’s this murmur of “lol” with smiles and nods filtering throughout the room.
When he (or she) really kills, you start hearing a buzz of “lmao” or “rofl” with people nudging each other and nodding and grinning all over the place.
During the so-so jokes that don’t deserve lol, people can just hold up signs that say *smile* or ::smile::, depending on what side of the tracks you come from.
And if the guy (or girl) stinks, you just have one person stand up and say “lol” and the comic will know “I’m done here.”
So too, am I.
Can you tell by this blog, that we’re between sports seasons?
Let's go Nets!
As a lifelong 76ers fan, I am watching with interest as the Nets attempt to break the infamous 9-73 mark Philadelphia set in 1972-73.
Many Sixers fans are rooting for the Nets to break the mark, but not me.
I am proud to say I attended two games that year, so I kind of feel part of NBA lore. In fact, my dad and I went to what once was an annual event in Trenton – the Kiwanis Classic played at the Trenton Civic Center.
That was a preseason game between the Sixers and Knicks, and former Knick Dave DeBusschere once wrote in his book that the players had to use the same bathrooms as the fans at the Civic Center, which led to some pretty funny stories.
At the 1972 Kiwanis Classic, we got our first look up close and in person at new coach Roy Rubin, who the Sixers hired away from Long Island University. One Philly writer called him Roy "Who?bin".
Wow was he bad. He never coached, he just moaned at the refs constantly, and would yell “Ohhhhhh!” like he was shot, every time a call went against him.
We thought after witnessing a Knicks victory that night, it would be a long season.
We had no idea.
That team was so awful, that it became like the classic bad auto accident. You just had to look.
The funny thing is, there were some decent players on board, although Hall of Fame guard Hal Greer retired midway through the season before the whole ordeal squashed his legacy into oblivion. There were Kevin Loughery, Bill Bridges, Freddie Carter, Tom Van Arsdale and John Block, who had solid NBA careers.
But there were also guys named Don May, Dale Schlueter, Manny Leaks, Luther Green, Jeff Halliburton. . .the list goes on. There were a total of 19 players who saw time that year.
After starting 4-47 under Rubin – Ooohhhhh! --- Loughery was named player-coach and led Philly to a respectable 5-26 in the last 31 games. That’s how bad it was, 5-26 was respectable.
The 76ers were outscored by an average of 12 points per game that year. After starting 0-15, they beat the Houston Rockets in San Antonio by two points. Their next win was at Buffalo against the Braves – a first-year expansion team. The first home win didn’t come until Dec. 6 against the Kansas City-Omaha Kings.
Once Rubin was fired, Loughery’s five wins came within a two week period, when the Sixers went a mind boggling 5-2 from Feb. 14 to Feb. 28, with two two-game winning streaks!
Things were turning around.
But then they turned back.
The Sixers followed that binge with a 13-game losing streak to end the season and Loughery quickly booked for the ABA New York Nets and won championships with Julius Erving.
That ’72-73 team also had losing streaks of 14 and 20 games. So lets see, if you take out the 0-28 to start and end the season, the team was actually 9-45. Wow, that’s still really bad. There’s just no positive spin to put on this.
I can’t even remember who they played in the game I attended during the regular season. But I know they lost and I know center Leroy Ellis had like, 20 points or something.
It was one of a historic 73 losses.
And I’m proud to say I was part of that history.
Anyone can go see a winner. It takes true character to pay cash to see a true loser.
New Jersey need four more wins as of this writing, to keep the record safe.
Let’s go Nets!
What’s better, great contests or great moments?
Last night’s U.S. hockey win over Canada got me thinking.
Every time the Olympics roll around, a stubborn core of fans refuse to watch the games because professionals now compete. They think this boycott might work, even though it’s been a pro gig for a long time now.
I used to think that way, but I’ve wilted.
For one thing, when it was amateurs only, it wasn’t really. We knew the Communist countries had their Olympic athletes training fulltime year-round.
Now that competitors can legally be professional, it basically comes down to what you enjoy more.
Do you want great contests, or great moments?
Granted, they could be one in the same. But often times, you need an uneven playing field to make a great moment.
Today is the 30th Anniversary of the Miracle on Ice. I still get chills. It was incredible.
A young group of true amateur U.S. hockey players topple a Russian team that had won the last four gold medals (and would win the next two) and was considered unbeatable. It was like a No. 16 seed beating a No. 1 in the NCAA Tournament.
Throw in the fact the Russians were our one true hatred in between Hitler and Bin Laden, and it was just the greatest thing ever when the U.S. won on that memorable Friday night in Lake Placid.
That was a great moment.
But some so-so contests were littered among the earlier action. They were OK games, but the skill level was of an amateur level.
Then, 30 years-minus-one day later, we got a great game. And it was only a prelim.
It bordered on a great moment. The U.S. beating Canada is pretty significant.
But it wasn’t as remarkable as us beating the Russians because while that was Luke Skywalker besting Darth Vader, this was a case of two teams stocked with NHL players.
That’s what made it a great game.
We’ll never have that incredibly great moment like we did in 1980 because circumstances won’t dictate it. In its place, we’ll get a bunch of great games like last night.
The best players in hockey laying it all out for love of country. An ex- and current Devil teaming up for the fourth goal against the current Devils goalie, and a guy who plays for the Vancouver Canucks scoring the American empty netter in Vancouver.
The action was intense, U.S. goalie Ryan Miller was incredible.
It’s a game that wouldn’t have happened with amateurs.
Don't misunderstand, there will be great moments, they'll just be different.
So I can warm to the pros. Nothing will ever reach 1980 in my mind, because circumstances made that the perfect storm.
But I don’t care that Shaun White is a one-man corporation, or Tiger-bashing Lindsey Vonn is already a household name. That means nothing to me when they’re representing our country.
They are fun to watch and are giving a country that’s been beaten up in recent years something to take pride in.
Yes, the amateur aspect led to great back stories. The kid who worked in a circus at night so he could train during the day, the girl whose local Kiwanis Club raised money so she could compete.
They were compelling tales that led to great moments.
But when I watch the pros, they make for great showcases.
It’s taken over 10 years but, rather than complain, I've accepted what is presented.
I’m finding it’s not too bad.
Bottom line: Tiger got caught
Well, the long-awaited "Tiger Speaks" has come and gone and the pundits are singing his praises.
Analysts from ESPN and The Golf Network are gushing over Tiger's remarks today about his infidelity. They say even though they were scripted, he seems repentant and ready to change.
Of course he does.
HE GOT CAUGHT!
Let me say, I'm not a huge Tiger fan, nor am I a Tiger basher. I do get tired of the media's constant obsession with him, pre- and post-escapades.
That being said, I'm sorry, I can't sit here and say "Ohhh yes, he seems repentant." Because to me, true repent comes from one's own conscious.
If this were a year ago, and he finally woke up one day and said "What the heck am I doing?" and took steps to correct things on his own, then I would be impressed.
But the bottom line is, he carved out this false image knowing what he was doing, and when the now legendary Thanksgiving accident took place it was over. The image was damaged and now the spin doctors are in action.
The guy has more to lose than any 100 of us put together could ever hope to have. This is serious damage control.
Because he got caught. Plain and simple.
Florists stay in business because guys get caught. "Please put on the card 'I am so sorry, I love you and this will never happen again.'"
Of course, it's easy for me to sit here and be all high and mighty. Would I come clean if I was a rich, powerful married guy who had every gorgeous woman in the world wanting to sleep with me? I'd like to think I would, but who knows?
Besides, that is the most moot point ever, cos last I looked out the window no super models were stalking me. There was the paper girl, but I think she just wanted her money.
Anyway, for the sake of Tiger's family and his kids and the guy himself, I hope he is seriously sorry and I hope this does turn things around. Especially for the kids, cos no kids deserve this.
But I can't be impressed about how sorry he is and I certainly can't gush about it. He did what he had to do, plain and simple. Not just him. Alex Rodriguez, Michael Vick, Mark McGwire, all of them.
These were damage control apologies first, and from-the-heart apoligies second. Because if they were truly from the heart, there wouldn't be damage control to begin with.
I'll leave you with the words of that famous millionaire philosopher, Thirston Howell III.
In one episode, there was a water shortage and they all distracted dumb Gilligan so they could steal water. The skipper found out of course, made them all put it back, and lined them up and lectured them. He ended by saying "Now aren't you all ashamed of yourselves?" They all nodded, and Mr. Howell whispered to Ginger "Yes, I'm ashamed we got caught."
He's not the only one.
A good man finally at peace
We lost a good man today.
Tony Stella, who I’ve known since I was 10-years-old, succumbed to pancreatic cancer.
You may not know him, but a slew of kids who played Hamilton Little Lads Basketball sure do.
This was a guy who battled through a life tougher than most of us will ever see, but who never gave up. He was never giving up long before Jim Valvano made his legendary speech.
I first met Mr. Stella playing for the Hamilton YMCA Dodgers. His son, Tony, was my teammate and Mr. Stella was one of our coaches. I’ll never forget one game, when I was playing first base and leaped up and made a lucky catch on a line drive that preserved our pitcher Tom Venanzi’s no-hitter.
As I came to the bench, Mr. Stella came over to congratulate me. I was explaining how I thought it hit the tip of the glove and was gonna go into the outfield and that I never thought I’d get it and blah blah, and he just kept looking at me. Then he shook his head, crunched my hat with his hand and said “Just shut up and keep smiling.”
It didn’t seem like much, but 40 years later I still remember it. So it must have meant something.
Those were the good times.
A few years later, in the spring of 1972, Tony Jr. died tragically when he fell out of a carnival Ferris wheel.
Mr. Stella never had another son. But rather than hide from the memory of the one he lost, he faced it all head on.
A neighbor of Hamilton Little Lads director Jack DeStefano (the two were best friends), he took part in the league and worked with the boys. The memories of his own son had to eat at him, but he continued to donate his time and his soul.
“Even though he lost his son,” DeStefano said, “He still gave of himself to the youth of Hamilton.”
One would think Tony would be rewarded, but life kept throwing curveballs. He got a divorce, had a heart attack, ended up in a nursing home, and then got cancer.
No one deserves that, least of all a man who thought so much of others.
When the Little Lads decided to start a Sportsmanship Award, they naturally named it after Tony.
"It was only logical," said Tom Garafola, a league executive. "We had Tony come to our banquet and present the trophy to one of our players, Brian Laux. Tony who was in a wheel chair, was thrilled and you could see in his eyes the joy he had presenting Brian with that award."
It's typical, and not surprising. With so many setbacks that could diminish Tony's joy, he could still take pleasure in the happiness of others.
As sad as we all are he’s gone, if anyone deserves the peace he now has, it’s Tony Stella.
He’ll never go down as one of the famous sports heroes of Hamilton Township.
Super Bowl viewers drown in the pool
Sooooooo, did ya watch the Super Bowl?
Did you hang on every call, every pass, every incompletion, every near-fumble?
If you're like me (not all the time, God forbid, just in this situation), you sat there in the bar, or at your Super Bowl party, or all by yourself in your living room and you studied 100 blocks filled with names and nicknames of people, most of whom you don't know and some that you do.
You take your index finger, start at a number up top, trace it down to your name, look to the left at another number, and keep reminding yourself of what numbers you have. But then, you have to remember what team has that number.
"Wait. . .did I have the Colts with 8 or the Saints. . .damn! It was the Colts."
If you're lost at this point in the blog, then there's no sense even explaining the Super Bowl block pool to you. If you're with me, then you know of the obsessiveness of which I speak.
The Super Bowl block pool has completely changed the way we watch the big game.
If the New York teams or the Eagles aren't in it, you're not rooting for teams, you're rooting for situations. You look at your numbers. . .stare at them like you're trying to burn a hole through them with a laser beam, and start to figure it all out.
"Let's see. . .if the Colts score. . .then miss the extra point. . . if the Saints score, then go for two. . . if we can pin them and then get a safety. . . if they can hold twice and get two field goals . . .If we can kick an extra point without scoring a touchdown. . ."
You do this. You know you do. Everyone starts out by saying "Oh, I'm just gonna watch the game and see what happens at the end and see if I win."
Yeah, good luck on that one.
Truth of the matter is, we sit there and figure out scenarios that are mind boggling and that we have no control over. And then, when we figure them out, it doesn't matter cuz someone kicked a field goal or ran back an interception and the whole dynamic has changed.
Then the quarter ends and you grumble and curse and look at your sheet to see who won and you have no idea who it is because it's a friend of a friend of a cousin of a friend and you hate this person you'll never come close to meeting in your life.
And that my friends, is the American way.
Do we love March Madness because some mid-level team out of North Dakota is running the motion offense to perfection? No! We're loving it because if that team can knock off Duke, you'll get extra points and have a great shot at winning your pool. And when that team loses, forget it. . .tournament is over. The NCAA Tournament is one of the only ones in the country where interest decreases on a mass level as the tournament progresses.
It's not about the games. . .it's about us.
It's all about the pools folks. At least it is when it comes to the masses.
And as I sat in the bar today I laughed and laughed as I watched the people trying to figure out how they could get that number to work at the end of the quarter.
Oh wait, check that.
I would have laughed. . .but I was a little tied up in my own problems, trying to figure out if the Saints could kick a 5-point field goal.
We'd like to welcome His Honor
Fish4Scores is proud to announce it's newest sponsor today, the honorable Mayor John F. Bencivengo.
We would like to thank the Mayor -- along with three of the township council members who came on board at the start -- for the support. I don't care what political affiliation you are, it should always be nice to know the Mayor of a town -- any town -- has taken his time to support an effort that benefits the athletes of Hamilton Township. That goes for the councilmen as well.
So thanks guys. . .and as always, thank you to all the sponsors who have shown faith in this project during the first four months.
And just so everyone knows, there's always room for more. *wink wink!*
Heading back to The Trentonian
I know the general public could care less about what I do with my time, but for the coaches and athletes out there who I cover I need to make this little announcement.
For the past 2 years I have been a freelancer for The Times, but starting today I am back to freelancing for The Trentonian (and yes, for a brief stretch I was doing both. . .confusing a few coaches and players along the way).
So anyway, if you see me and Kevin Maloney or me and Ray Clark at the same basketball game, there's a good chance you might not have to make any phone calls to report your scores. And won't that just make your day!
But I'll let you know, just to make sure, since I confused the heck out of poor Chris Raba the other night when I was at the Hamilton-Ewing game for no one but Fish4Scores and Chris let his scorebook disappear into the night thinking he didn't have to call any papers. Sorry Chris!
Nostalgia page: Good or bad?
In starting the Nostalgia page, which has become a pretty popular item on this website, the idea was to bring back nice, warm memories for yester-year's heroes and to let the younger generation see that their parents weren't really lying about their athletic exploits.
Sometimes, however, it doesn't quite work out.
In a recent item on the 1970 Reynolds Junior High basketball team, it was noted that Pete Larkin scored 14 points for Reynolds but the Raiders lost to Fisher on Fritz Sickles' last second shot.
Pete went on to become one of the greatest point guards in Mercer County history at Steinert, but it's always said that athletes remember the losses more then the wins sometimes.
So I had to ask Pete, amidst all the glory he went on to have, did he remember this seemingly trivial junior high game?
Did he ever.
"I was," Larkin said, "responsible for covering Sickles on that shot."
Jan 22, 2010: A date Steinert fans should cherish for a while
Every so often, high schools enjoy a day that goes beyond a kid getting accepted to a good school or a student winning a spelling bee or the science fair, or a team winning a state title.
Don't get me wrong. They are great things and deserve great praise.
But every so often, a unique day occurs in which current fans and long-time alumni can both appreciate.
Steinert had just such a day Friday.
It started in the morning when 1985 graduate Dan Donigan was announced as the new men's soccr coach at Rutgers. While that might not mean a whole lot to kids going to Steinert now, it sure had the alumni buzzing yesterday.
It ended last night, when Dana Jeter became the fifth Spartan girl to ever score 1,000 points. That became the time for the kids to have fun, as the Bleacher Creatures and everyone else gave Jeter her just due after she scored.
Two great moments, one great day. And they spanned the eras.
That's pretty cool. I'm willing to guess even Nottingham and Hamilton folks are impressed. . . .naaaaahhh, what am I crazy!?
* * * *
In what has the potential to be a perfect marriage, Donigan is coming home and will try and make the Scarlet Knights a power once more.
Bob Reasso did it for a long time. And in a state like New Jersey, when you put a good college soccer team on the field, the fans will come and so will the media. Having Donigan there will only enhance the whole thing, as he is a Jersey boy just as Reasso was.
Unlike Reasso, Donigan takes over a program that has already succeeded and has a reputation. Reasso built it from pretty much nothing. Donigan plays in a major conference and has a relatively new and great facility to sell to recruits.
Donigan also has a national reputation after what he did at St. Louis. It's going to be exciting up there during the autumns, and not just in Greg Schiano's stadium. I can't wait to see it.
A player who cares enough to cry
I've covered Rutgers basketball home games as a freelancer for the Associated Press for the past 20 years. There's been a lot of highs and lows during that time, but mostly lows.
Last night, I saw a guy at his lowest. So low it brought him to tears in the middle of an insightful interview. It was nothing I'd ever seen covering basketball at that level, and it made me sad and glad at the same time.
Hamady Ndiaye, Rutgers personable center and the only senior on the team, sat and talked to reporters after the Knights were embarrassed by Villanova. He spoke bluntly and harshly and took his teammates to task for not being tough and for lacking heart.
But at one point, when it was asked if he was as mad as he's ever been after a game, the man they call "H" began to choke up, and tears welled up in his eyes and for a few moments the human quote machine was silenced.
At that moment you could almost tell, this was a guy who has a handful of games left in his senior year and lots of things seem to be going wrong, and it was killing him. It was ripping his heart out because he wants to go out having fun and fighting hard.
So it made me truly sad to see how much it got to him. He's a very likeable guy who, without a doubt, leaves it all out on the court every night. He's a guy you root for and you want to see him be happy.
It also made me glad, that a player could still care so damn much that he would just break down in front of reporters. . .and then actually apologize for it. He was sorry? Cripe, I wanted to hug the guy and tell him it would be all right. Then again, at 6-11, he might've put me through a locker.
The point is, Hamady Ndiaye deserves more in his final months of college basketball. I hope his teammates realize that and start to give it to him.
It's the simple things that are tough for me
When you are a simpleton, as I am, simple things become difficult.
So, I apologize to LindsAy Usarzewicz for spelling her name with an E in an earlier story on this website.
Her dad Steve put it all in perspective in his e-mail when he wrote "You spell Usarzewicz right but not Lindsay???!!!????"
I chuckled at that observation. I chuckled even more at Steve's adept mixture of question marks and exclamation points, bringing just the right touch of incredulation and confusion that he felt.
So Steve, if you ever need a writing job, there's always a spot for you here at Fsh4Scores. Unless you're one of those guys who like to get paid for your efforts, then you might have to go to another site. :)
But on a serious note, what LindsAy did, can not be dismissed. Seniors have wilted under the pressure of the free throws she made against Hamilton Friday night, but the sophomore made them as if she were finishing up practice. The strings didn't even move.
As my favorite college hoops announcer, Bill Raftery likes to say. . ..."Onions!"
Kurt Warner vs. Donovan McNabb an interesting parallel
First off, it's official, I suck at blogging. Eighteen days between blogs, that shouldn't even count as blogging. It's more like. . .well, I dunno, but I suck at it.
Anyway, this weekend of football got me to thinking. Remember in 2001, when the Eagles got into their first NFC championship game and they played the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams. Kurt Warner outdueled Donovan McNabb and went to the Super Bowl, but Philadelphia fans weren't too upset.
Afterall, Warner was in his prime, he was going to have his day in the limelight early in the decade but surely the future was McNabb's. He was young and talented and athletic.
Fast forward to now. . . ..and last year.
First, last year. Warner, who we all thought had kind of disappeared from view by mid-decade, not only goes back to the Super Bowl, he does it by beating McNabb. And he does it by leading his team to a late TD that McNabb could not respond to.
Then we have this year. McNabb was absolutely brutal on Saturday, though there are those out there still apologizing for him. A day later, Warner has an absolutely mind-boggling game against the Packers, that is worthy of being called one of the great playoff efforts of all time, especially for a guy his age.
What does all this mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe Warner has just always played for the right coaches and had better people around him.
Or maybe, just maybe, it tells us of the mental make-up of Warner vs. McNabb. A guy whose career seemed over comes back and is just incredible in the playoffs. The other guy well, he just never gets it all the way done, year after year after year.
The feeling here is, if McNabb played hoops, he'd be the classic streak shooter. Knock down the first jumper and he's good for 30. Miss the first couple, and forget about it.
It's been well documented all over Philly that he turns into Donovan McMope when things don't go well. The shoulders sag, you don't see him encouraging any teammates and he drills passes into the ground.
Meanwhile, Kurt Warner, well, he just keeps rolling along. The future that was McNabb's in 2001, still belongs to Warner in 2010.
Click here for 2009 blogs
After Nottingham's stunning football win Saturday I thought it would be a long time until I saw such a shocking comeback again.
So of course, on Sunday I watch the Angels down two runs and down to their last strike score three runs to win it and I know it will be forever until I see a comeback like that.
Until 45 minutes ago, when the Phils were down two runs and down to their last strike, and won.
I'm through predicting that I won't see anymore great comebacks, but I'll tell ya one thing. I'm covering a cross country meet Tuesday. Unless a runner ends up winning after trailing by a mile with a mile-and-a-quarter left to go, I probably won't be impressed.
I've been told I have to blog more. I did this project to be my own boss, but I discover now I have many bosses telling me to blog.
First off, bad news for Steinert athletic director Rich Giallella. He is wasting money on electricity with his field hockey scoreboard. While at the game Friday, I heard no less than five people come up and ask us the score, none of them even coming up with the thought that there very well could be a scoreboard there to look at.
Secondly, as a Phillies fan, it's nice to see the respect my team gets by WTBS. Two afternoon games when everyone's at work, a Saturday night game when everyone's out partying and a Sunday night game when everyone's in bed. Championship has its priveleges. . .but not here.
I haven't heard it discussed yet, but I'm hoping the Harry Kalas factor comes into play in Colorado. Lest we forget, that is where Harry called his final game before passing away. Could that give the Phils a rallying cry? Probably not, but I guess that's the kind of stuff you have to write on these blogs.
Finally, a good friend of mine says Deadliest Catch is one of the best shows on TV. So. . .everyone watch it, even if I don't.
So, what are the rules? Am I supposed to blog like, every day? If so, this is it for today. Too much other stuff to do.
Hey, this is easier than I thought.
Actually, all three township football teams in action, as well as Shore Coaches Invitational in cross country. I'll be at Hamilton-WWPS, hope to have other scores posted tonight.
Well, here we are, finally launched and ready to roll.
Welcome to Fish4Scores.com, the newest website, in fact, the first website, dedicated completely to the sports scene in Hamilton Township. In New Jersey. In Mercer County, not the one near Atllantic City.
My name is Rich Fisher and I will be your webmaster, which in itself, is a very scary thought. But I always wanted to say that, so that's outta the way.
This is the first blog I have ever written and when I re-read it, it will be the first blog I ever read. If that's not bad enough, this is my first foray ever into the world of websites, so I can guarantee that you will see some strange things over the next few weeks as I work out the bugs.
But the main thing here is to promote the athletes of Hamilton Township, whether they are in high school, or just starting out in rec sports. I ENCOURAGE ALL YOUTH LEAGUE TEAMS to contact me by e-mail so we can start getting your scores in the paper. This includes soccer, football, whatever.
Unlike newspapers, we've got the space! So let's get the kids names in there.
I have a million people to thank for helping get me started, but I'll leave that for now as you have read enough. I will say, however, I am looking for sponsors to fill in my sponsor boxes, with the cost going right back into making this a better website. Please e-mail if interested.
That's it for now. I just re-read this. Now I know why I don't read blogs. Are they all this bad?
IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT SUBMITTING
If you are submitting scores for anything, please send via the email: richfisher
There is an issue with the "submit scores" link, which has been taken down for now. If you sent anything over the weekend, please re-send to above address or to "contact us" below. Thanks.
About This Site
Follow Fish on
Check out the area sports scene beyond Hamilton by clicking above Trentonian link
Sponsor boxes appear on every page and sponsors receives up to six lines, including website links if preferred, along with free postings on our Bulletin Board.
Cost: $200/year or
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Cost: Prices vary depending on page, amount of time ad runs and how large ad will be.
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(Also known as
Rich Fisher's blog)
Feb 2, 2013
Groundhog Day is
Feb. 2: Well, today is Groundhog Day.
And you know what that means? It means I have found a blogging loophole.
For all you people out there -- like Whalen and Costantino and the Baroness -- who insist on telling me I need a new blog just because they don't want to read the old one for 19 straight weeks, I have discovered the answer to my problem.
Again, I reiterate, it is Groundhog Day. And if you saw the Bill Murray movie, you know that Groundhog Day is the same day, over and over and over again.
Therefor, because I am writing this blog today, it gives me carte blanche to leave it up here over and over and over and over again. Moreso than usual. Like. . .forever!
You think you got tired of seeing Phil Alu and Jon Adams at the top of this blog?
You are REALLY gonna hate The Groundhog!
* * * *
Just want to pass along good luck wishes to Nottingham junior Josh Lajeunesse, one of the many class acts and key contributors on the Nottingham state champion football team. r Josh recently discovered he needs serious shoulder surgery, which will keep him out of action for four months and unfortunately cause him to miss track season.
"Yeah, but I gotta get ready for football," he said.
Yeah ya do buddy, so good luck on the surgery No. 2 and hope all goes well!
* * * *
Speaking of Nottingham football, seems they are taking Fish Bowl 1 quite serious.
"It was nice to win a state football title," said one administrator. "But to say we won both the state title and the Fish Bowl, now that would be something!
We are keeping the administrator anonymous lest he incur the wrath of Coach Adams for linking the two together . .but we know that secretly, the Big Dawg feels the same way! lol
* * * *
Speaking of Fish Bowl, I just want to thank everyone for participating. I had hoped to get about 20-30 responses and just run them straight down in a list. But with the great feedback from everyone we got 88 responses (89 counting Donna Brihn's dog) and rand allowed us to turn it into the Fish Bowl.
What's amazing is as a collective group we couldn't pick a winner! 44-44. Wow, a township divided!
Anyway, thanks for taking part in the fun folks, and good luck to you and your team!
* * * *
Oh, one other thing. We heard back from Phil Alu (there's that name again!) about his selection of Kyle Kaepernick as Super Bowl MVP.
"Holy crap! Now I know why my Fantasy Football team sucked all year. I was playing Kyle Kaepernck out of West Oak High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan all season and not Colin Kaepernick from the 49ers."
The sad think here is, Kyle Kaepernick even sucked for West Oak High School. And Kalamazoo football is weak!
* * * *
I love my mother, but I'll never play her Super Bowl pool again. She asked me to buy five blocks, which I did. She said she would fill them in and mail it to me, which she did.
But rather than scatter my name in different blocks all over the sheet, she wrote it straight down in five blocks.
The result? In all five of my boxes I have Baltimore and nine. Nine! Are you freakin kidding me? So much for having a lot of different chances to win this baby, which of course, is the reason for multiple blocks.
Love ya mom!
Hate your pool!
* * * *
OK, that's it. I hope you like this blog, cuz you're gonna see it over and over and over and over and over. All that's missing is a picture of Ned Ryerson and the soundtrack to I Got You Babe!
* * * *
Oh, and one more thing. Does anyone out there actually watch all 8 hours of pre-game Super Bowl shows that are available? If so, then you could actually read this blog over and over and over and never get bored. Because you reeeallly need a life!
Jan 27, 2013
Happy New Year!
Yeah yeah, I know, it's an old year by now. But hey, I haven't written anything since the new year so it's a New Year for Fish Tales.
Hope everybody had a great holiday, hope everybody enjoyed the NFL playoffs, hope everybody has returned all their gifts that sucked and I just hope everbody is doin' great dogawnnit!
I don't really have a heck of a lot on my mind, but I'm getting yelled at again by people saying to put up a new blog. They don't neccessarily care what I have to say, they just get tired of seeing the same thing at the top of this spot for so long. Sorry Big Dawg, all the love is gone now, they all hate you now due to over-exposure. You have joined Phil Alu as a "stayed at the top of the blog too long" poster boy. lol.
* * * *
OK, let's start with the Super Bowl.
I mean, you never really hear much about it (insert *rolls eyes* here) so we'll talk about it!
You know what's interesting. And this, like so many other things, speaks to the popularity of the NFL. The Supe is the one championship in sports that the TV Networks don't fret about.
In baseball they would moan if the World Series match-up is the Kansas City Royals vs. the Milwaukee Brewers. "Oh God, those aren't big TV markets!"
It wasn't always like that for the Series. It was the big thing, everyone cared. Kids rushed home from school as fast as possible to catch the end of the games. But not anymore. Games that last til 12:30 a.m. don't help the cause these days, but that's only part of it.
But I digress.
Take the NBA. If they don't have the Lakers and/or the Celtics/Miami in the finals, its like a mad dash for a bridge to jump off of.
"No one will watch this. Ohhhhh noooo!"
And if it's the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs.... . .um, what's like, the big match-up for the NHL? OK, forget that one.
But football has no such worries. This game could be the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. the Seattle Seahawks and it wouldn't matter. 999 gazillion people would tune in anyway, just because it's like an unofficial national law.
"Gonna watch the Super Bowl?"
"How come, you don't like football?"
"I know, but it's the Super Bowl?"
I mean, that's basically the answer people give, and it's just understood. Oh yeah, it's the Super Bowl.
And by the way, when is the NFL gonna give folks a break and make this game on a Saturday so people at all the parties can recover on Sunday? . They can't be clinging to tradition or the game would still start at 1 o'clock, the halftime show would still be the Hokey-Fanokie high school marching band and the tickets could still be purchased by folks outside the 1 percent of the people with all the money in the world.
I'm sure someone did some research and concluded "Can't move it to Saturday, too costly."
Oh well, it's still the Super Bowl and we'll all watch it. Cuz hey, it's the Super Bowl!
* * * *
Speaking of the Super Bowl, I don't know who's going to win and I don't care. But if I have to make a pick, I'd pick the Ravens.
I dunno. But I had to make a pick so I picked the Ravens.
* * * *
Here's a classic basketball official story. I will not reveal the names to protect the innocent (and guilty) but it was pretty good stuff.
Three refs walked into a CVC girls game earlier this year. As they entered the gym, one of the head coaches says "Oh here they come, the three blind mice."
To which one of them -- who I am proud to say lives in Hamilton -- promptly responded by going "Yeah, but one of us can hear," and slammed the coach with a techncial foul before the game even started.
Now that's style!
* * * *
I kind of lost a kindred spirit when Stan Musial passed away last week.
First off, Stan the Man was from Donora, Pa., and I had a roomate in college who hailed from Donora. His parents knew Musial and said he was the greatest guy ever.
Secondly, Musial got his 3,000th career hit on the day I was born.
Just think. . .two monumental occurrances on the same day!
Uh, OK. . one.
* * * *
So I have seen three of the movies nominated for the Oscars so far: Lincoln, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook. All good flicks, but, man, Daniel Day Lewis blew me away as Lincoln. Good stuff!
I find Lincoln to be so fascinating. The more I learn about him, the more I want to know about what made him tick.
As opposed to somone like, say, Kim Kardashian, who I don't know anything about and yet I want to know even less.
* * * *
I would much rather see Amber Dietrich and Courtney Adams playing basketball this winter instead of texting me updates to tweet of Steinert and Hamilton girls' basketball games.
But they are injured and can't play and that stinks. But thanks girls, for contributing to the cause. You're the best!
And while Amber has been promoted to Fish4scores Director of Twitter Operations (with a 50 percent pay increase from her original salary of nothing), Courtney's work from mid-season on has promoted her to Assistant Director.
Please don't be late for the next staff meeting girls.
* * * *
I would also like to thank another Twitter contributor -- who I will only refer to as "Outcast of the People" -- but he can't seem to stay at the games for more tha none half -- and sometimes the decision wasn't his to leave. :)
* * * *
Check back later this week when we provide Super Bowl picks from the township's athetic community.
* * * *
OK, I leave you with this trivia question -- which I guarantee 80 percent of you won't be able to answer:
Who won today's Pro Bowl?
Dec 9, 2012
It's a Big Dawg
Dec. 9: So I went to a Christmas party at the house of Hightstown High Athletic Director Gary Bushelli Saturday night and it was loaded with Mercer County athletic personalities.
Aside from the Hightstown coaches, which include former Rams head football coach Jack Dunn, there were Notre Dame coach Chappy Moore, former ND/Neptune Athletic Director Vince Ardery, former Steinert AD Rich Giallella and on the list went on.
As we arrived late and struggled through the crowd to get a drink, I was stopped by one person after another with questions.
"Were you at the game? Tell us about the game? How was the game? Tell me about the interception return."
Everyone wanted to know about the Northstars win over Neptune. And at the end of every conversation I had. . .this is not an exaggaration -- EVERY conversation, it ended the same way --- "That's great for Adams. Good for Adams. Good for Jon, he deserves it. Wow Jon must be happy."
That's the common theme running throughout Mercer County and Northstar Nation today. An outpouring of congratulations has Big Dawg's Facebook page in overdrive. He wasn't checking text messages yesterday until he had the time.
It's a sheer love-fest and include me in the group. Obviously the fact that Coach Adams survived serious cancer issues in the summer adds to the story line here. But that's not where the love is coming from. Had the Dawg been healthy as a horse last summer the same accolades would be coming his way.
Adams is a guy who has worked hard as the Northstars head coach for 23 years. He loves his players and has developed a close bond with so many of them after they left. He gives tough love, sometimes he has to get tough without giving the love to get a point across.
He admitted it was hard to bench his son Stephen in the second half against Neptune because Luke Westerberg had the hot hand. It had to be killing him, since it was the first time all year he abandoned the rotation system. And it happened in the biggest game of the year.
What dad on earth would feel good about doing that? How many of them might just not have done it?
But while Adams loves his son, he treats his players as his family as well and he knew this was the move to make for Nottingham to win. In fact, he and his staff proved to be outstanding throughout the playoffs in which Nottingham went 3-0 against the Shore Conference.
Rather than avoid the other team's strengths, he attacked them. He did what conventional wisdom said not to do because he had faith in his players. And his confidence in his players to do that, gave them the confidence to get it done.
Against Manasquan and Long Branch, he decided to slug it out with a running game against teams that love that style. Against Neptune, a team that can score points in bunches with big plays, conventional wisdom said to go with a running game to keep the ball out of Ajee Patterson's hands. So what did Nottingham do? Get three offensive touchdown plays of 53 yards or more.
It wasn't just the Big Dawg. His assistants obviously played a big part in it. And why not listen to a staff that includes former head coaches Bob Harris, Frank Gatto and John Berei. It was truly a clinic the way they handled three teams that everyone thought were the favorites.
Personally speaking, we in the media love Adams. He's always a good quote and gives you all the time you need (a lot of you in Hamilton do that, which is appreciated).
Sure he'll rub some people the wrong way. No one in the world has a 100 percent fan club.
But he is close with so many people and they are all feeling good for their guy today. And they should. He's a great guy, a gregarious guy who is the classic "Big Teddy Bear" kind of guy.
My only complaint with Mr. Adams is that he playfully admonished the sportswriters for not believing his team had the speed to match up with Neptune. To that, I say please read the below blog written yesterday. Ahem, ahem.
But other than that, I love ya Big Dawg!
Just like everybody else.
Dec. 8 2012
It's in the Stars: Nottingham
will win it!
Dec. 8: I never ever make predictions. I just don't, because I don't think anyone knows what will happen in a football game.
But I am making one today. I truly believe Nottingham's football team is going to come home a winner against Neptune in the Central Jersey Group III championship game.
I had a feeling about this team after the Allentown game. That was a loss, but could have been a win and there was just something about the Northstars that impressed me in that game. They could have won as easily as lost and I didn't count it as a loss in terms of what the Stars could do down the line.
I really think this is a team of destiny. It all started in the summer when Jon Adams health issues could have led to a completely dismal season. But the Big Dawg came through in a big way, his team followed his lead and well, here we are.
But that's not the only reason I think Nottingham will win today. I also think they have developed an unshakable confidence after bringing down two straight Shore Conference teams in the first two rounds of the playoffs. That right there removes the stumbling block of "Oh gee, can we beat the Shore?"
And then there is one othe little factor: speed. Neptune's great advantage in these games is speed. Especially in the passing game. But Nottingham's has plenty of speed in the secondary, as long as a physical presence. I'm not saying the Stars have an advantage, but I am saying Neptune doesn't have an advantage.
There are just a lot of things that feel right about this game for Nottingham. So much so, that I'm actually making a prediction.
I don't know what the score will be. . .but Nottingham will be on the positive side of it when it's over.
Dec. 2 2012
Shore is good!
Dec. 2: What is all this talk about the Shore Conference being so good in football?
That's what they might be saying on Klockner Road in Hamilton Township these days, as that little strip of asphalt houses two schools that are actually tormenting the mighty Shore teams lately.
For those who don't follow high school football extensively, it is common knowledge that teams from the Shore pound teams from Mercer County every year in the state playoffs. A few teams hang, but many of the games are embarrassing blowouts.
Over the past two seasons, however, Hamilton Township schools (and Klockner Road residents) Steinert and Nottingham are 3-1 against the Shore Conference.
Steinert beat Wall in last year's playoffs, then led Neptune into the third quarter before falling in the title game. Nottingham has taken two straight seven-point wins over Manasquan and Long Branch this playoff season, despite being considered the underdog in both.
Throw in Hamilton West's near-miss loss to Middletown South in 2010 and it's safe to say that the township is carrying the banner for Mercer County against the Shore.
It's something to be proud of because, lets
face it, the Shore Conference is excellent. It has many more quality teams than Mercer from top to bottom, it has a ton of football talent and great teams play great teams throughout the year. That only toughens them up come playoff time.
Teams in Mercer, even with the West Jersey realignment, are probably getting two to three good tests a year.
The fact that Nottingham and Steinert have fared well in the playoffs doesn't mean the conference's are coming closer together in talent.
What it does mean, is we have had the privelege of watching two very special football teams the past two years. Two teams that have proven they can be great no matter what league they are in and what team they are playing.
And both have unique stories to tell.
For Steinert, it marked the first time the school ever won a playoff game, let alone reach a sectional final.
For Nottingham, it's one of the feel-good stories of the year. Over the summer, the Stars were uncertain of if they would have their head coach. And the coach himself wondered how much of a future he had after Jon Adams had to undergo surgery for cancer.
But Adams won his battle and his Northstars have won every battle but one this year. And the team it lost to is no longer around as Allentown fell to Neptune in Friday's other CJ III final.
It's the same Neptune that beat Steinert last year. The same Neptune Nottingham plays at The College of New Jersey for a championship on Saturday.
Few people outside the area probably think Nottingham will win. But that doesn't matter.
If people can't figure out by now that the Northstars may just be a team of destiny, they never will.
And besides, Nottingham has proven it can overcome the aura of the Shore Conference.
But can the Scarlet Fliers overcome the aura of Klockner Road?
* * * *
Congratulations to coach Dan O'Donnell and the Fish4scores.com basketball team, which won its inaugural game in the St. Gregory Intramural League's Senior Division. Way to go gang, you're making us all proud!
* * * *
Speaking of last year's football teams, graduated Steinert quarterback Adam Riese was on hand at the Thanksgiving game while graduated Nottingham QB Esayah Obado was at Saturday's Nottingham-Long Branch game.
Both were red-shirted at their respective schools this year -- Riese at New Hampshire and Obado and Delaware State -- and both felt it was a productive year of learning about the nuances of college football.
Nov. 20 2012
allow us to smile
times in Hamilton
Nov. 20: Thank you, Nottingham!
In the wake of so many disturbing things being reported on in Hamilton Township these days, and with today’s guilty verdict of Mayor John Bencivengo, this township needs something to smile about.
And it has reasons to do just that thanks to what's happening on the corner of Klockner Road and Hamilton Avenue.
Nottingham High School is all smiles these days with what’s going on its athletic department.
Start with the hiring of Chris “The Baron” Raba last week. Raba was finally confirmed as boys basketball coach, giving the Northstars a guy with a proven track record of success to run their program.
Then there is the football team, who gave us one of the most exciting football games seen in these parts in some time. Trailing by 14 and going nowhere at halftime Nottingham roared back for a 21-14 win to advance to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III semifinals next week.
Let’s not forget about “Amazing” Grace Dwyer, who is sweeping New Jersey by storm in just her first year in high school. The freshman is putting up times that are remarkable and blew into Wednesday’s Meet of Champions by finishing third in the NJSIAA Group III meet last Saturday.
And to top it off, softball star Valerie Suto signed a letter of intent on Monday to play for Division I Seton Hall, which is pretty impressive.
That’s a lot of nice stuff to feel good about during this time of turmoil.
It’s no wonder that Rick “The Voice of the Northstars” Taylor has a lot to say these days.
* * * *
I couldn’t be happier for Jon Adams and the success he has had with Nottingham football this year. This was a guy who, last summer, didn’t even know if he would be teaching or coaching, let along standing two wins away from a sectional title.
Way to go Big Dawg!
* * * *
Apologies go out to Meg “Martina Scorcese” Black, the Steinert grad now attending Kutztown State. In my last blog I thanked so many people for their contributions, but forgot to thank “Blackie” for all her fine video efforts last summer (and hopefully again over winter break).
* * * *
I didn’t get a chance to write anything on it, but congratulations to Hamilton West’s Lauren “The Lamb” Wyrough for scoring two goals and leading her team to victory in the Mooch Myernick Soccer All-Star game Sunday. That gave Wyrough eight goals in five games since her knee injury.
* * * *
Also congratulations go out to Kristin Jacobs (formerly Voorhees) for being named the new Steinert girls basketball coach.
Voorhees was a standout player at Steinert under Jim “Jules” Giglio and was a long-time assistant under Bob Boyce at West Windsor-Plainsboro North.
Jacobs gets started this weekend when basketball practice gets underway.
* * * *
It has been 25 years since the Steinert boys cross country team won the NJSIAA Group III meet with Tom Canto, Aaron Oldfield, Charlie Zoda, Doug Larkin, Tom Hooker and several other standouts. The crew plans on meeting at Veterans Park with coaches Jerry Bleistein and Doug Martin this Friday and are toying with taking an anniversary run through the park. Whether or not that happens, they will then head to DeLorenzo’s for some pizza.
* * * *
Thursday’s the big day over at Steinert with the Thanksgiving game, and Texas Roadhouse plans on doing its part.
The Fish4Scores Athlete of the Week sponsor will be selling gift cards and donating some of the profits back to the schools. See tomorrow’s preview of the game for more details.
* * * *
Not sure if he would want me to reveal this, but Hamilton Little Lads Basketball Director Jack DeStefano just became a great grandfather when his grandson Nick and his wife brought a new baby boy into the world Monday.
“Now I have a new reason for sticking with Little Lads,” Jack said with a laugh.
That must be what keeps him looking so young.
* * * *
Rutgers in the Big 10. Wow.
Looks good for football, but I don’t know about basketball. And it will be interesting to see Steinert grad and RU soccer coach Dan Donigan’s take on it, as I’m not sure the Big 10 is quite on par with the Big Eats when it comes to men’s soccer.
* * * *
Well that’s it for now. I just want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and we’ll see you on the gridiron Thursday morning!
Sep. 23, 2012
Don’t faint but. . .
it’s a new blog!
OK, OK, I know what you’re thinking.
Another blog already? How many of these things can we take!
Well, after hearing people complaining throughout the spring, summer and fall (I was goin for the record!), even I have gotten sick of seeing the same blog for so long.
I got tired of reading about the second round of the NBA playoffs, considering the the NBA finals AND the Olympics are over. Mollie Coyne was a high school senior during the last blog, today she scored her first collegiate goal. Way to go Mol!
But the biggest complaint I got was “You gotta get Phil Alu out of there!” Sorry Phil. . .I tried to hold out as long as I could, but the masses have spoken!
The second biggest complaint came from Steinert Athletic Director John Costantino . . . every day. It seems Cos reads this blog when he wants to fall asleep. Since he didn’t have a new blog to bore him for five months. . .his whole sleeping pattern is shot.
Sooo anyway, get a pillow Cos and read away. Lots to catch up on.
And in case you forget the set-up, these are various thoughts, sectioned off by little * * * * thingies. So if you get bored with one thing, just shut up and move on to the next.
* * * *
As you may have already seen, we have some new features on Fish4Scores.com, not the least of which is a new Athlete of the Week Sponsor. We’re delighted to welcome aboard Texas Roadhouse on Route 33, which is donating gift cards and hanging up the photos of the winners each week in their fine establishment.
Owner Norm Patten is just what Hamilton Township ordered. He is not only supporting Fish4scores and the high school’s standout student-athletes, he wants to immerse his establishment into this township. So if you’re looking for a place to stage an event, make like the gang at Cheers and call “Norm!”
OK, that was lame. Are you sure you want another blog?
Secondly, we are still tying up the loose ends with the potential sponsor, but we are a few hand shakes away from awarding one student-athlete from each school a “Scholar-Athlete of the Season” award, which will be given at the end of the fall, winter and spring seasons. Once everything is finalized, I’ll let everyone know the details and we will proudly reveal the new sponsor.
Speaking of scholar-athletes, you may have seen our new feature “The Life of a Student-Athlete” where Steinert’s Jeff Mattonelli and Hamilton’s Colleen “Collar” Murphy give us some insight on their lives beyond the athletic field. We are bringing a Nottingham athlete into the rotation as well, but I have not cleared it with him yet. When I do, he will add a third view.
I gotta tell you, so far I’ve been really impressed. In their first efforts, Jeff and Murph provided interesting, entertaining insight to what they are all about, and I have a feeling it will only get better as we all get into a rhythm.
* * * *
Features aren’t the only thing that’s new.
They are coinciding with an upcoming new look for Fish4Scores.
Now, you are probably going to complain about it at first.
Why? Because it’s change, and everyone hates change. “Where is this? How do I get to this? Why did he change this!!!!”
One of the main reasons is, it will cut my workload by at least a third. This site served its use over the first three years but it takes an incredibly long time to post stories and photos. So, part of it is self preservation.
Secondly, we want to continue to highlight the day’s activities prominently, but we plan on leaving the Athlete of the Week, Scholar-Athlete of the Season and Life of a Student-Athlete directly underneath on the home page so people don’t have to go searching for them.
Thus, the top of the page will be that oh-so-popular website method of rotating photos scrolling by, so you can pick your story.
I am trying to keep the new site as functional as this one. There will still be the “Fall” “Winter” “Spring” “Summer” menus at the top, and they will drop down with the sports for that season. So it won’t be THAT different.
I just ask you give it a chance and ou’ll get used to it. And bear with me, cuz I won’t know what I’m doing for a while so there may be a few gaffes here and there. But it will all smooth out so don’t go anywhere!
* * * *
We also have plenty of new people on board. Cathy Martin Healy took the plunge behind the scenes this summer and has done a tremendous job as my marketing consultant. Cathy is a freelancer who is extremely good at what she does. If you need her talents, let me know and I’ll hook you up (and no, I don’t get a percentage).
Shannon Keenan Moscarello is our new sales representative, so if you want to put an ad on Fish4scores, let us know and I will put you in touch with Shannon.
For a brief time until he graduates, we’re happy to have Rider student JJ Duke with us, predominantly as a soccer writer but he may pop up at other events as well. Mark Pratico, another Rider guy, is back helping out with his soccer expertise and we couldn’t be happier about that.
And we have found yet another talented parent with photography talents, as Nancy Eggert is supplying us with some darn good shots of Steinert boys’ soccer. The only drawback is she was referred to us by Jim “Jules” Giglio, so I now I feel indebted to Jules. And that’s never good.
There is also recent Nottingham graduate Dave Robb, who’s slipping us some nice Northstar shots. Brian “The Shot” McCarthy is our wild card, who could be anywhere at any time to shoot a township sports team near you. Brian also has a new Facebook photo page dealing with Hamilton Township news photography that you might want to check out: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Hamilton-Herald-News-com/113569545457746.
We still have the ol’ reliables, of course. At Nottingham, there is Wes “The Media Mogul” Kirkpatrick and Mary “The Renowned One” Malone. Two legends. Need we say more?
Over at Hamilton West, there is Jim Jenkins providing quality cross country shots. And of course, one of the gutsiest football photographers around – Donna Brihn. Poor Donna needs ankle surgery but refuses to miss shooting Hamilton football so she’s hobbling up and down the sidelines with a brace at not only varsity games, but JV and freshmen contests as well.
Yesterday she had to ice it for hours after the game and apologized for getting me her photos late. How’s that for dedication? Hornet players, give Mrs. Brihn a pat on the back and a “way to go” the next time you see her. Just watch the ankle!
And then there’s Princeton Packet sports editor Bob “Sense” Nuse, who will try and provide a cross country story if any Hamilton teams are running at the same meet his son is running at. Bob knows his stuff.
Then there are the usual suspects that are staples – photographers John Blaine and Dennis Symons Jr.; writer/teacher/many other things Tony Piscotta, and jack of all trades Ken Weingartner.
The fact that so many quality people want to be a part of this blows my mind and really makes me proud. This site would be nothing without their contributions.
So as we officially begin our fourth year on Oct. 1, to all you people – and any others that I might have missed – I say thank you so much.
* * * *
Speaking of Oct. 1, that is the date of the Daniel Rossi Memorial Scholarship Fund 2nd Annual Golf Outing. For more info go to http://www.facebook.com/events/216801735100874/.
While we’re at it, don’t forget the Wraparound Sports 7th Annual Softball Tournament to fight breast cancer on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13-14. Get more info at www.wraparoundsports.org. And please say a prayer for Wraparound founder Janeen Gondek, a good friend and a tremendous person who is going through a very tough time right now.
* * * *
I thought nothing would get on my nerves more than the countless Facebook photos this past summer of sand and an ocean that people posted with variations of the following: “On the beach at LBI. . life is good.”
Well, I was wrong.
Since Bruce Springsteen’s tour swung east, my Facebook is on overload with tailgaters in the parking lot and the words “Brrruuuuce!” as their oh so clever comment.
Facebook has become the new post cards. Remember post cards? There was writing involved. And a stamp. Remember stamps?
Anyway, my attitude toward all these Facebook people telling me what a blast they’re having while I’m working, is reflective of my attitude toward post cards. (Someone please tell the kids what a post card is). When my friends went on vacation, my parting words always were “Have fun but don’t send me a post card. I’m not interested in your good time.”
* * * *
I was very bummed out this past week to hear that Steinert’s Amber Dietrich has had her senior season of field hockey cut short due to a torn ACL. Dietrich hurt it when she caught it in some high grass at Robbinsville (the turf field was unavailable).
Amber is a great kid and anyone that knows her, hopes she can get back for her final season of softball. I spoke with her today at the Nottingham-Steinert football game and she is going to see a doctor Monday. She’s hoping to be back in six months, which would get her back by March and in time for softball.
Good luck Amber!!!
* * * *
Another thing that happened since the last blog (and no Mr. Costantino, not the discovery of electricity) is that I am now writing for the Hamilton Post newspaper. The reason I say this is to support their fine website, mercerspace.com, which does a great job covering the county, and especially this township, with its news and sports coverage.
(How’s that Joe and Rob? Do I still have a job!)
* * * *
I couldn’t agree more with Steve Young concerning the lockout with the NFL officials. In case you missed it, Young said that as long as people keep filling the stadiums and as long as ratings are up, why should Roger Goodell care about the replacement refs and their flaws. In the NFL, the bottom line is the buck. Who cares if games are screwed up or, worse yet, players are crunched.
I have a close friend who worked for the NFL for years. . .in the same office with Paul Tagliabue, in fact. She and her husband moved from New York to Los Angeles a few years ago and she now works for the NFL Network.
But she told me stories that blew my mind about how cheap the NFL is. A multi-gajillion dollar corporation treated regular old workers, like maintenance men, office employees and custodians like dirt. That’s why Young’s words hit home with me, because it mirrored everything my friend told me.
* * * *
Kudos to everybody’s favorite trainer, Trenton High’s Poppy Anderson. A Hamilton resident, Poppy is the male honoree this year by the Trenton Select Club. There is truly not a classier guy associated with Mercer County athletics.
* * * *
More kudos, to Hibernians soccer coach Tom Bayless, who is being inducted into the Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame. Tom is originally from Lawrence but his Hamilton roots run deep with all he’s done in the township.
And he’s almost as classy as Poppy! Just don’t ask me to define almost.
Love ya Bayless!
* * * *
Rutgers football beat Arkansas on the road last night and every time the Razorbacks applied the pressure, Rutgers answered. Could be an interesting year in Piscataway and no one will be happier than our JoJo's friend Andy.
* * * *
Gotta love this second wildcard in baseball. Hey, it kept me interested in the Phils for about 6 weeks longer than if there wasn't one.
* * * *
Another NHL lockout? Damn! Some of my greatest memories are of NHL games in October, when the baseball post-season is unfolding and college and pro football are in full bloom.
* * * *
Well, that’s about it folks.
See ya in 5 months . . . or whenever Haley’s Comet comes by again.