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July 14 District 12 Tournament -- Nottingham wins No. 24!
Sunnybrae runner Tony "T-Bird" Bencivengo and Nottingham shortstop James Werosta both anxiously await the umpire's call during the hectic sixth inning in tonight's District 12 final (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos by e-mailing email@example.com).
After Nottingham survived Sunnybrae's sixth-inning ruckus, the Square Boys quickly went into celebration mode after winning a district championship (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org).
Click here for more photos of the 2011 District 12 final
Nottingham wins second district title in three seasons
By Rich Fisher
July 14: They’re baaaack!
In a scene that Mercer County and surrounding areas are starting to (unwillingly) get used to again, Nottingham Little League’s 12-year-old All Stars celebrated the 24th District 12 championship in league history with a 9-5 victory over Sunnybrae tonight at Sayen Field.
After winning its third straight in 2002, Nottingham went on the longest district title drought of its history by not winning one for six years. But tonight gives the Sayen Gang two Jim Davis trophies in the last three summers and puts them in Monday’s Section 3 Tournament in Tinton Falls.
Not to be forgotten was the effort of Sunnybrae, which made it to the 12-year-old finals for just the second time in 50 years. The Yardville gang pushed Nottingham to the limit despite not playing with one of its top players – injured Jake Beyer – throughout the tournament.
And trailing 9-3, Sunnybrae still kicked up a late fuss before Nottingham finally nailed it down in front of another gigantic crowd.
Led by Matt Ricci, who came in with something to prove after being knocked out in the first inning by the ‘’Brae on Wednesday, Nottingham had a big enough cushion to hold on.
Ricci came out and struck out the side in each of the first two innings while racking up eight Ks on the night. He also provided plenty of offense in celebrating his Trentonian Athlete of the Week award in style.
Ricci and Justin Keegan wreaked havoc from the three-four hole in the lineup, combining to go 5-for-6 with two walks, four RBIs and two runs scored.
Nottingham took a 3-0 lead in the second inning, although there was a scary moment during the uprising. After Austin Oldfield and Matt Coiante sandwiched walks around Thomas Persichetti being hit by a pitch, Ricci drilled a frightening line drive off the left forearm of Sunnybrae pitcher Ryan Mostrangeli.
One run scored on the play and Mostrangeli, who could have been seriously hurt had the ball gone a few feet another way, gutted it out and moved to shortstop. Reliever Tony “T-Bird” Bencivengo was promptly greeted by a two-run single from Keegan.
Nottingham added a run in the third when Tony Morency singled and scored on Andrew Moticha’s double. In the fourth, Ricci doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Keegan’s single.
Sunnybrae, which won this tournament as 11-year-olds last year, proved they had a heart of a champion by coming back with three in the fourth. Bencivengo crushed a two-run homer and one out later, Charlie Geiger hit one out for the second straight night.
Sorely in need of a shutdown inning, however, the ’Brae could not get it as Nottingham scored four in the fifth to get enough insurance. Sam Guarino singled and scored on an error, Moticha walked and scored on Persichetti’s ground out, Werosta reached on an error and scored on an error and Coiante doubled and scored on a wild pitch.
Sunnybrae then tried to rally, but Coiante came in from right field to close it out, starting a joyous celebration by the Square Boys.
A celebration that has been pretty familiar over the decades.
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This day in
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(Also known as
Rich Fisher's blog)
Dec. 1 2013
In the middle of
of a magical day
of college football,
there was Rutgers
Dec. 1: A 12-hour stretch on Saturday showed all that is right with college football. We were treated to extremely meaningful games that went from good (Missouri-Texas A&M), to great (Michigan-Ohio State), to “OK, where’s the camera? I know I’m being Punk’d.” (Alabama-Auburn).
In the middle of it all, symbolizing a lot that is wrong, was our beloved home state team.
First, the good.
I don’t know if I ever saw Facebook and Twitter explode with comments about a game so quickly as they did after Alabama-Auburn. I thought I’d never see a college football game shock me with its ending as much as when Boston College’s Doug Flutie stunned Miami with his incredible touchdown pass with no time left in the early 1980s.
Boy was I wrong.
As I sat there watching Chris Davis run 109 yards with a missed field goal, my mouth dropped open as if I was watching a UFO land in my backyard while being told I won the gazillion dollar lottery at the same time Jerry Jones was calling to see if I could let a few of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders stay at my house for a couple months.
As he ran and ran, the disbelief just grew and grew.
Five seconds earlier, I was texting my buddy Maff in Florida while they were reviewing the final running play and, after they finally put the one second back on the clock, I texted “They went through all of that just so we can watch a missed field goal.”
Maff agreed. And we were right. . . sort of.
We did watch a missed field goal. But it wasn’t “just” a missed field goal. It produced the new “greatest finish” in sports in many people’s minds.
It was magic.
And then there was Rutgers.
The Knights’ game wasn’t magic, but you did kind of wished it would disappear.
This is not really a direct shot at RU (why pile on?) as much as it is of – as I have called it here before - - the most hypocritical, cash-crazed organization in the nation, the NCAA.
You know their philosophy. On one hand it’s all about the student-athletes. But on the hand that actually works, it’s: More bowls! More bowls! More money! More money! Horrible games! Horrible games! REALLY horrible games!
Maybe the best example of the glutton of absolutely worthless bowl games we will see over the next month can be provided by examining the Scarlet Knights’ situation. After Saturday’s dismal loss to a Connecticut team that was 1-9, Rutgers dropped to 5-6.
And yet, if they defeat 2-9 South Florida at home this Saturday – and after the UConn game, we certainly can’t guarantee that – they will be 6-6 and earn a bowl bid.
Just what did they do to earn that bowl bid?
They will have defeated six teams with a combined record of 17-54.
I’ll say it slower. Seven….teen….and fiiiifty….four.
Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me?
Isn’t a bowl game supposed to reward a team for having a good season? Are you going to tell me finishing .500 by beating six teams with losing records that add up to 17-54 is a good season?
Of course it isn’t.
But bowl games aren’t really all about rewarding good teams. They are about rewarding the NCAA. The oh so sanctimonious NCAA and their student-athletes who they care so much about.
Why do I bring this up?
Because, as much as the corporate BS, dishonesty and greed makes you want to just lose interest, you get a day like Saturday.
It was a day where watching talented athletes produce magical moments from noon to midnight makes us realize once again that at its truest essence, sports really can provide us with beautiful, wonderful, memorable experiences.
* * * *
Speaking of Saturday, one of my favorite things after the Auburn-Alabama game was watching and listening to the polar-opposite reactions from both sides.
CBS, as usual, played the local radio broadcasts of the game-winning TD. The Auburn guys were going nuts in such a raw, unbridled manner, while you could hear the complete disbelief in the ‘Bama announcer’s voice, as if he didn’t really want to tell everyone what was happening.
And then, ESPN got ahold of some clips of young Auburn fans going nuts watching the return in their houses, while also getting a shot of Alabama fans watching the same thing in a dorm room. Kinda neat.
* * * *
Nottingham sophomore Grace Dwyer is going to the NIKE Nationals. That’s big-time stuff folks.
The Nationals! That’s like, New Mexico, and Idaho, and Montana and California and Maine and, well, you get the picture. You’ve had geography.
So anyway, what does Grace do on arguably the biggest day of her running career? Puts the following post on Facebook:
“Just wanted to thank my cross country team for always being there for me...you were always there to cheer me on and make me laugh. So many memories!!! You all are the best!!!”
It could be very easy for those teammates to get jealous of Grace for all that she has attained. But they have taken the right approach. They are happy for what she has done, excited for what she will do, and want to be there for her.
They have exhibited great class.
And so has Grace with that Facebook post.
* * * *
Ice hockey will have a revamped look in Hamilton Township this winter.
Steinert has a new coach in Bob Weiss, who is familiar to township fans after serving five years as Nottingham’s head coach.
The merger between Hamilton and Nottingham hasn’t really been a merger as much as Nottingham borrowing a few Hornets. Of the 28 guys on the team – now being coached by John Russo – 25 are from Nottingham and three are from West.
* * * *
I don’t like when Thanksgiving is this late.
You usually feel like you have a cushion between that holiday and December, which is when you start to get into Christmas planning mode. But Thanksgiving was Thursday and today is December.
Nov. 20, 2013
in world of sports
Nov. 20: Well, it’s that time of year again.
It’s November. And November time means Nottingham time in high school sports.
Maybe we could call the month Nottember, or the school Novvingham.
Well, that’s a little stupid.
OK, a lot stupid.
But the point is, while so many high schools in the state of New Jersey now have their eyes on winter sports since the fall seasons are over, folks at Hamilton High North still have high level rooting interests for the second straight year.
On the football field, the Northstars are two wins away from a second straight NJSIAA state sectional championship. Colts Neck is a huge challenge in Saturday’s semifinal game, but Long Branch was considered just as big a challenge last year and look what happened.
The Northstars deserve a lot of credit for what they have done the past two weeks. It started with a gut-check win over Hopewell, which is still the Bulldogs only loss of the year. It was an equal gut-check last week against a Middletown North squad that was as tough and tenacious as it was young.
Earlier in the season it was uncertain if Nottingham could win games like they did the last few weeks. When things weren’t going well in losses to Trenton and Allentown, the Stars didn’t have an answer.
Suddenly they have all the answers.
And let’s not forget, they’re still doing this without stud defensive back Josh Lajeunesse.
Saturday doesn’t just mean football for Northstars supporters, of course.
Doing her thing at Holmdel Park will be sophomore Grace Dwyer, who will try to improve on last year’s eighth-place finish at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions.
Dwyer finished third in Group III last week so skeptics might think she has no shot at winning it all. But the Amazing One was slowed by a cold that she would have never even brought up had I not asked her about it after Rick “The Voice of the Stars” Taylor told me she wasn’t feeling well all week.
Coach Melissa “Shop ‘N Bag” Foley was shocked when I told her Grace said she was slightly bothered by the cold, saying “She never talks about that stuff. I can’t believe she brought it up.”
When I told S ‘N B that I was the one who brought it up, it made sense.
“OK,” she said. “But don’t make a big deal about that. She doesn’t like to make excuses.”
Fair enough. But the bottom line is, if she is feeling at the top of her game this Saturday, who knows how much further she can climb from last year’s eighth-place finish and how close she can come to the top?
All know is, nothing gives Taylor greater pleasure than to announce what Amazing Grace did in a big cross country meet to a large crowd watching Northstars football.
It’s two great things coming together.
It’s life at Novvingham in Nottember.
OK, still stupid.
* * * *
In case you missed it, Hamilton West graduate Jayson DiManche earned the second game ball of his rookie season when he blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown in the Bengals win over the Browns Sunday.
That play made it onto No. 3 on ESPN’s Top 10 NFL Weekend plays. The best comment on Dimanche’s Facebook page came from Tim Martel, who said “Congrats bro, it was awesome hearing Terry Bradshaw say your name.”
Even more awesome that he said it right.
* * * *
Steinert grad Dean Lucchesi doesn’t have as many catches during his sophomore year as he had as a freshman, but he got something even better last Saturday.
Lucchesi got to be part of the first football victory in Misericordia University history when they took a 63-40 win over FDU-Florham on the final game of their second season of existence.
Lucchesi and former Spartan teammate Alex Amodie both decided to play for the fledgling program last year. Amodie didn’t find the school to his liking and left after last year, but Lucchesi stayed and got his reward on Friday.
For the season, Lucchesi had three catches for 21 yards in eight games played, giving him 13 catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns in his first two seasons.
So congratulations on that first win Dean. Let’s hope there’s more where that came from in your next two years.
* * * *
It is seasons like this where that good ‘ol Thanksgiving Day game really comes in handy.
It’s no secret this has been a rough year for the Hamilton and Steinert football teams, which each have just two wins.
That will all be forgotten next Thursday, though. During bad seasons like this, the Thanksgiving game is like an oasis. It’s still a great way to end a season and a career. There will still be the same pageantry, the same big crowd, the same excitement.
The talk is that this year’s game will be overshadowed by Lawrence-Hopewell. That may or may not be true.
Both of those teams are in the Group III semifinals this weekend. The rumor mill says if they win, Thanksgiving will be nothing more than a glorified JV game so nobody gets hurt.
I have absolutely no idea if that is true or not, so please don’t take that as gospel.
But I do know this. The past two years when Steinert and Nottingham went to the state finals, they began the games with their starters until they got things well in hand and it didn’t hurt them in the finals.
If Lawrence or Hopewell coaches feel the need to keep their players safe on Thanksgiving, that’s their prerogative and I wouldn’t criticize it or say it was the wrong thing to do. Especially since that game has yet to build the bragging rights and tradition that Steinert-Hamilton has.
Neither decision is wrong. All I’m saying is, it was neat to see Dan Caruso and Jon Adams just say screw it, and go after the wins with their best guys even with a championship game on the horizon.
* * * *
Is there a more intimidating football game-day security detail in New Jersey than the feared Nottingham trio of Mike “Bullet Head” Braender, Phil Zomparelli and Brandon Johnson? Sometimes “Irish” Mike Walsh joins the detail, but as an administrator now, he’s kind of lost his street cred when it comes to that kind of stuff.
* * * *
So I’m watching the Kentucky and Michigan State game last week. No. 1 vs. No. 2, and it was a great game. And I couldn’t get into it. . .not even a little bit.
College basketball just starts too early. TOO EARLY!!!
* * * *
Speaking of college hoops, what a difference on the Rutgers bench this year with placid Eddie Jordan as opposed to maniacal Mike Rice. Speaking on behalf of other guys who cover Rutgers regularly, we kinda miss the show.
* * * *
I’m a little late with this, since it happened on Nov. 9, but congratulations to a whole bunch of Hamilton Township people for being honored by the Trenton Select Committee this year.
Steinert softball coach Jean Ruppert and Hightstown High Athletic Director Gary Bushelli, a long-time Hamilton Square resident, were the main honorees. Also honored were my first-ever baseball coach, Jack DeStefano (YMCA Sayen Dodgers baby!) for the work he has done with Hamilton Little Lads basketball for over 40 years; and graduates Erin Septer (Hamilton) and Matt Moticha (Steinert), who each received scholarships.
Bushelli took the podium and warned everyone it was going to be a long speech, and it turned out to be a loooooong speech. So long in fact, that Sonny Pittaro walked out, ran a hand over his smooth dome and said “Gary, that speech was so long I had hair before you started.”
* * * *
Since this is the 50-year anniversary week, is there a bigger mystery in U.S. history than the Kennedy assassination?
I definitely think there was a conspiracy, but the more you read and watch, the more confused you get about who could have done it. I still think it was the mob, but what the hell, you never know what the CIA is up to. Or Castro. Or LBJ.
It just fascinates me.
I do know one thing. Sometimes when people are sitting around all bored, they say ‘If you could talk to one person in the history of the world, who would it be?”
My answer would be easy – Lee Harvey Oswald.
* * * *
Marlon Byrd and Carlos Ruiz.
They are my reward being a long-time Phillies fan.
I get to keep watching players who have played for a long time.
Nov 2, 2013
It’s definitely a hit!
Nov 2: One of my favorite underrated bands of all time is The Kinks and one of my favorite Kinks songs is Lola.
There’s a line in the song that says “It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world except for Lola. . .la-la-la-la Looola!”
That song was written in the 70s, but that line is soooo 2013 when it comes to athletics. You just need to change the words a little to “it’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world except for loosing! La la la la losing!”
In case you haven’t noticed, all they’re talking about in Philadelphia these days is losing. Not like they usually do, as in “I’m sick of all this losing!”
No, they want losing now. And they’re not alone. It’s all the rage these days and it’s been so for a while now.
The Eagles need to lose to get a great quarterback in the draft.
The Sixers need to lose so they have a 1-in-7 shot of getting the first pick in a 2014 draft that is loaded. Fans were aghast when they beat the Heat on opening night. Noooooo! Then they won again last night. Ohhhh noooo!
The Eagles still have a shot at the playoffs in the NFC East, but that is the fans worst nightmare. Don’t be fooled by that, they say! Lose today to build for tomorrow.
I understand the reasoning and the rationale. But it sucks.
Maybe not for the franchises, but it sucks for the fans.
And hey, what else is new? What do we matter.
Then again, it’s a lot of the fans who want this.
I for one, find it mixed up and muddled up.
Is this what professional sports have come to? Trying to manipulate situations by not putting your best product on the floor. Telling your season ticket holders, or the folks who have a chance to afford one NBA game a year, that you’re pretty much wasting your money this year but hey, c’mon back in a few years, we’ll be great!
Everyone is quick to defend the players here, saying that you can’t ask pro athletes to tank it. And I’m sure they’re not. Folks basically want the coaches to sit people, GMs to trade stars, and all that stuff.
This kind of talk got eight members of the Chicago White Sox (i.e., the Black Sox) a lifetime ban from baseball after throwing games in the 1919 World Series. Now, an anonymous NBA general manager has stated his team will tank in hopes of building for the future.
Shouldn’t there be an investigation on this? I guess not, because people point to how the Spurs dogged it late in the year before they got Tim Duncan, and hey, look how that turned out!
What once was a lifetime ban, is now hailed as genius.
Losing is where it’s at. So is not giving 100 percent, evidently.
The case of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is another fascinating tale in modern sports.
Clowney entered this year touted as a legitimate Heisman candidate. He’s not having a Heisman-like year, however, and the whispers are that he is not going full strength, because he doesn’t want to get hurt and cost himself millions in the NFL.
Clowney says he is not dogging it. Whether he is or isn’t, is not the point. I sure as heck don’t know if he is.
The fact some people want him to dog it, is the point. I just read a story where football people were saying he shouldn’t go all out, or, in fact, not even played this year.
Here’s what confuses me. How can dogging it keep you from getting hurt? What happens? If you rush a guy at half speed and a tight end cuts you down at the knees, you’re not gonna get hurt? If you sack the quarterback and go down the wrong way, your bones are invincible because you’re putting him down nicely?
That’s only part of it though. The fact people want him to do it, just blows my mind.
From day one, we’re taught to never quit. To go 100 percent all the time, on every play. But kids are hearing about and reading about their heroes being put into situations not to win, because that could risk the future.
The best advice anyone can follow is to live in the present, cherish the moment. That doesn’t apply in professional and collegiate sports.
They are planning for the future.
But the game plan is no longer Xs and Os. It’s dollars and cents. . . and lack of sense.
* * * *
Well the NJSIAA is making more money with its Group V football playoff games. Yay for them (he said, sarcastically).
And the big winner on the field is Central Jersey Group IV teams. Steinert and West Windsor-Plainsboro North are sitting with two wins each today and still with a shot at the playoffs.
It’s like the NFC East, where the two-win Giants are still talking playoffs.
No offense to the Spartans here. Hey if Steinert gets in, that would be great. It would be great for them and for me, as Fish4scores visitors always soar during football playoffs.
But in the overall picture, it’s not great. It leads to a lot of mismatches and lopsided games.
The state had to know this would happen, that the product would be diluted by pulling some of the best Group IV teams up to Group V.
It’s dollars and cents, on every level. And I haven't even discussed the NCAA, the most hypocritical money making machine in the country.
* * * *
OK, I’m making myself cranky with all this soapbox stuff. Time for some seasonal cheer.
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, and if you’re like me – a self-proclaimed fall foliage geek – get a bike and take a ride on the tow path along the Delaware Canal on the Jersey side. Or, just take a walk, from Washington Crossing to New Hope is a good stretch.
If Friday’s rain didn’t knock a lot of leaves off the trees it’s a downright gorgeous view.
Told ya. Geek.
* * * *
Tonight is the night we turn back the clocks, which always reminds me of my one of my favorite lines from Seinfeld. Jerry and Kramer are walking down the street and Kramer is complaining about it getting dark too early and wants to know when the clocks get turned ahead.
Jerry’s response was “I dunno . .they just tell you the night before.”
How true is that? There might be some people out there who have advance notice of this daylight savings time/standard time change, but I’m with Jerry. Until I hear it that Saturday, I have no clue.
That’s probably too bad. I’d love to know a few weeks beforehand so I could throw a great Daylight Savings Time bash. . .we’d have a whole extra hour to party too. But, I doubt I’d get much of a turnout giving folks about 6 hours notice.
Oh well, another great idea that will never see the light of day. I’ll never get on Jimmy Kimmel this way.
* * * *
After seeing what Hopewell Valley did to Burlington Township Friday night, it makes me really excited for Saturday’s HoVal-Nottingham game. It might come down to a wild card.
Can you say Saquan Hampton?
* * * *
In case you missed it, Hamilton West grad Jayson DiManche got his first NFL game ball for his effort against the Jets last Sunday. DiManche has been a terror in special teams is being lauded by Bengals linebackers coach Paul Guenther as “an up-and-coming player.”
Check back late tonight or tomorrow morning as Fish4scores will have a lengthy interview with Jayson, who is home for the weekend.
* * * *
53 Shopping Days Til Christmas. But if you listen to the home shopping networks, time is already running out and it will be here before you know it.
OCT. 9, 2013
Advice to athletes
looking to play in college: Watch what you tweet
Oct. 9: I re-posted a tweet earlier today, but it was actually something I had heard about a little while back and meant to write about it then.
The essence of the tweet was that all you athletes out there who are hoping to play sports in college or beyond, have to behave yourself on twitter. You are being watched.
And you’re being watched by the people who matter the most – the ones recruiting you.
Twitter has become so big, it’s part of mainstream life now, especially among high school and college students. College and pro coaches know this, and they monitor it.
They will often judge what a student-athlete’s character is like from the things he or she puts out on twitter. If it’s selfish, derogatory or inflammatory, a red flag immediately goes up.
Local football/basketball official Tom Carr is friends with a scout in the Florida Marlins organization. The guy told Tom there are three areas he has to fill out in sizing up a possible draft pick and the third one is – you guessed it – their twitter feed.
Often times, someone who is arrogant and abrasive on twitter, someone who can provide bulletin board material for another team, or give off a selfish vibe, can cost themselves a shot at being drafted. Or at the very least, some bucks as Carr noted the scout would put on his report “bad twitter feed, if you want to sign him, do it cheap.”
I know a lot of college coaches and they all say the same thing – “one of the first things we do is go look at the kid’s twitter feed.”
Putting something on twitter is like putting it in the paper or on a website. None of you who I cover would ever come up to me in an interview and say ‘Well, we’re gonna give a beat down to so-and-so this week.’ Or ‘We would have won that game but I didn’t have any help.’
So if you don’t say it to me, don’t say it to twitter because a heck of a lot more people will see it, including the ones who count. The ones who are trying to figure out if you belong in their program.
Now, I understand there is peer pressure. You don’t want your teammates seeing you talk about what a good job the other team did. But if they are good teammates, they will understand that you are looking out for the team and for your future.
It’s hard, I’m sure. But it can be worth it.
And there is a bright side to this, of course.
Make twitter work for you.
Say good things on twitter. Positive things. Give credit to other people, whether they’re on your team or the team that just beat you. Be a team guy. Show the recruiters out there that you can be classy and mature, and now you’re doing yourself a favor.
If you follow that road, you can turn a negative into a positive. If recruiters are trying to decide on that last slot for the recruiting class and it's between you and some guy who’s shooting his mouth off, your twitter feed could be the difference.
Or, (gasp!) don’t tweet all that much. Don’t put every thought that comes into your head out there, because who knows how it can be misinterpreted. And believe it or not, coaches are impressed with players who can keep their thoughts to themselves, which isn’t easy. It shows a kind of mental toughness.
Because the bottom line is, college coaches are looking for character.
* * *
OK, here’s the question of the month.
What makes a good football team?
I’ve decided it can’t be their record. I think I’ve heard it more this year than ever before where a coach, be it in the NFL, college, or the 12th Man TD Club, says “We know we have to be ready because we’re playing a good football team.”
These were all said, of course, when the next opponent didn’t have a win.
Chip Kelly will tell you the Eagles are getting ready to face a good football team this Sunday as Tampa Bay flounders. No doubt Marc Trestman is telling the Bears the same thing about the Giants. . .and we have seen first-hand just how “good” they are this year.
Probably the most laughable one will come when John Fox talks about how his 5-0 Denver juggernaut has to be worried about 0-5 Jacksonville because no doubt the Jaguars are a good football team and want to prove that by beating the Broncos.
And I’m sure Peyton Manning, if he’s not moaning about the schedule, will tell us all how he’s worried about the Jags pass rush, or something like that.
So I ask again. . .what constitutes a good football team?
Here are some of my theories:
--They brush their teeth after every meal.
--They help old ladies across the street.
--They support the girl scouts by buying cookies.
--They watch their language.
--They share their cookies and candy with each other.
--They perform their civic duty by voting in every election.
--They eat everything on their plate without even being threatened that they can’t have dessert.
--The buy American!
--They watch public television and listen to National Public Radio.
--They clean up their room without being told.
I’m sure there are other things that make them good. But performance on the football field sure can’t be one of them.
* * *
We’re happy to report that Fish Tales biggest fan, Chris “Buzz” Barlow, has done it again. A high level producer at NFL Films and someone who got to know the late Steve Sabol as well as anyone, the former Hamilton resident was one of the producers of “A Football Life” focusing on Sabol on the NFL Network.
It is without a doubt must-see TV. Chris is not only talented, but he knew his subject as well as anyone, and it comes through loud and clear in this documentary on one of the great NFL legends of all time.
* * *
Speaking of NFL Films, maybe that’s why coaches get confused about good football teams. You watch what those guys in Mount Laurel do and they make any team look good!
* * *
While some people are fretting over Nottingham’s 3-1 start (a loss and close wins. . .oh no!), here’s some good news.
A) The loss came to a Trenton team that is obviously proving it is one of the best in Mercer County.
B) The Northstars freshman and JV teams are a combined 8-0, so we’re talking about a future that looks bright.
* * *
Go see a Hamilton West football game just to watch Dakota Shelton play linebacker. He’s just a sophomore, and we’re gonna have a lot of fun checking him out for the next 2-1/2 years.
* * *
I gotta tell you, it’s pretty cool seeing what the Steinert girls’ tennis team is doing this year. I asked one of the players if the school was starting to get behind them and she just shook her head. “No, not really.”
Well, c’mon Spartan fans. . .give your girls a little support. They’re doing things no team has ever done before them!
* * *
If you are impartial about the fifth game of the Tigers A’s series, root for the A’s if only to support one of Hamilton Township’s best baseball players.
Steinert graduate Chris Pittaro, the son of former Rider baseball coach Sonny Pittaro, husband of former Spartan soccer great Lisa Gmitter and himself a former Major League player, is in his 22nd years with Oakland. He is in his first as a special assistant to Vice President/General Manager Billy Beane, who has become legendary for Moneyball.
Chris has steadily been climbing the ranks in the organization. The better the A’s do, the better Pit looks.
So if you’re on the fence. . .go A’s!
* * *
And finally, thanks go out to Chris “The Baron” Raba for his kind words at Hamilton’s Hall of Fame induction dinner this past Friday. I wasn’t able to attend, but I got word of what was said and was flattered to be mentioned like that in a room full of so much athletic talent. Thanks Baron!
Sep 11, 2013
A dozen years later
it gets no easier,
but high school
sports still help
Sep. 11: So here I am, writing a blog, getting ready to write some other stories before I go cover a field hockey game, doing everything I've always done.
And while I do it I'll complain about the heat, complain about money woes, complain about too much work.
But wait. Actually, today, I won't.
And why is that?
Because I'm doing the same things now, going about the same routine, that I was doing on September 10, 2001. And I have to cherish that.
Far too many people in this country can't say that. Not just the one's who perished in the terrorist attacks, but the ones they left behind. And God how I feel for those people.
I can't say for sure how they cope. I can't pretend to know what they are going through after losing loved ones in the most wasted way imaginable.
If it were me, I don't know how I would feel on this day. I guess I would be happy that memories are being honored, but I also might be comatose trying to exist and get through this day, since it serves as such a terrible reminder.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's nice and its neccessary to honor the victims each year. But for some survivors, it can't get any easier. It might even get harder, as you wonder where the deceased may be at this point in their life, wondering how different things would be.
Like everyone else, I remember where I was when the news came. I was finishing up post-knee surgery rehab at Hamilton Physical Therapy when my therapist said "Hey some plane flew into the World Train Center"
At first I thought it was some little 2-seater, as something like that happened just a few months earlier.
Then I got home and watched it all unfold, including the second plane, and was just horrified.
I went through that day in a daze. Fueled by nothing but emotion, I wrote a column letting high school athletes know how important they would be in months to come. How we would need to lose ourselves in youth sports to make things seem normal, and how the athletes could go out and play in honor of those who fell.
Now, 12 years later, it still holds true.
Games will be played today and we will enjoy them. Our high school athletes serve as hope for the future.
They are also a reminder that for most of us -- the lucky ones -- life hasn't changed for the worst since 2001. If your team wins or loses is the biggest thing you have to worry about, you're doing OK.
I especially try to remember that today, of all days. The things I complain about, in the grand scheme of things, are so minor it's pathetic.
What happened on 9/11 2001 still makes me sad. Moreso, it makes me angry. It gets no easier for me.
Which makes me wonder just how much tougher it is for those directly affected by the attacks.
Gold Bless you all.