Commentary…Here’s to John Wooden and a life well lived

first_imgby Tim DahlbergAP Sports Columnist LOS ANGELES (AP)—He was a coach when coaching meant something else, long before the job became a pathway to riches and fame. A coach when student-athletes were really students, and the thought of making millions of dollars rolling out basketballs in the gym seemed preposterous. A coach when it meant more to mold the lives of young men than to proclaim his own greatness.“Learn as if you were going to live forever,” he would tell his players. “Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.” John Wooden didn’t live forever. His tomorrow finally came June 4, when he quietly passed away just months before his 100th birthday.The end came, fittingly enough, on the same UCLA campus where he tutored a player then known as Lew Alcindor. The same place he seemingly couldn’t lose with Bill Walton.The place where he dispensed wisdom that his players remembered long after they had forgotten the X’s and O’s.“What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player,” he would say.His players listened. How could they not when the man giving advice lived by the same code? He was born on a farm in Indiana without running water or electricity, and his values were as solid as the land his parents worked.The championships seemed to come as an annual rite of spring. There were 10 of them in all, an accomplishment so staggering that no other college coach will ever come close.The other statistics blurred together over time. Still, it wasn’t the 88-game winning streak, four 30-0 seasons or even the 38 straight NCAA tournament wins that defined the humble Midwesterner who ended up at UCLA almost by accident.He had the best players. They came because of him, and they came in spite of him.Playing for Wooden, you see, was never easy. He was the boss, practices were brutal, and things were always done in his meticulous way. The players who bought in would one day become his lifetime friends. Those who didn’t would never understand.The first practice of every season began not with a midnight slam dunk contest, but a demonstration by Wooden on the proper way to put on shoes and socks. Wrinkles in the socks could lead to blisters, he explained, and blisters could lead to losing.The fundamentals never went out of style, and Wooden never changed his approach.His players learned, and they grew. He taught them how to win, but he also taught them bigger things, like his belief that a life not lived for others is a life not lived well. He wouldn’t accept less than their best effort both on and off the court.“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but what you should have accomplished with your ability,” Wooden would warn them.It’s been 35 years since Wooden watched his Bruins cut down the nets down one last time, then walked away while still at his peak. Yes, he was the “Wizard of Westwood”—a nickname he didn’t like—but he never made more than $32,500 and for years he mopped the floor himself before practice.He never begrudged the coaches of today the millions they make, but making money wasn’t why he got into coaching in the first place. He became a legend because of what his players did on the court, but to Wooden the victories were merely a byproduct of the life lessons that always came first.Indeed, Wooden did what he preached, living his life for others. His style was authoritarian, but his players graduated and the messages sank in a lot more than they missed the mark.He encouraged them to take chances, urged them to be all they could be.“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything,” he would tell them. “I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”Wooden didn’t make many. He lived an impeccable life, devoid of scandal, still so in love with his wife, Nell, in the years after she died that he would write her a letter each month just as he had done while she was alive.As word got out about his final hospitalization, students who hadn’t even been born the last time he worked a game rallied on the UCLA campus in tribute. Words of tribute, meanwhile, began flowing the moment his death was announced.But the words that matter most are the ones his players still remember. The same words they’ve passed on to their children and their children’s children.“Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you,” he told them.As hard as it is to imagine, John Wooden is gone. His dreams, however, live on. WIZARD OF WESTWOOD—In this March 24, 1969 photo, legendary UCLA coach John Wooden is flanked by Sidney Wicks, right, and Lew Alcindor, draped with basket ropes, after UCLA beat Purdue 92-72 to win the NCAA basketball title for the third consecutive year, in Louisville, Ky. Wooden, who built one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports at UCLA and became one of the most revered coaches ever, died June 4. He was 99. last_img read more

Inside Conditions…Batch-‘out’

first_imgA few NFL rules and regulations can be difficult to understand, sometimes even bordering on the absurd, but there is one particular rule that make perfect sense to me. It is better known as the blackout rule. If a game is not sold out 72 hours before kickoff then the locals have to show up in person at the stadium or put their hands on the radio in order to receive their “football” healing for the week.There was one particular spot that bucked the system and thumbed their nose at the NFL establishment. O’Brien’s Irish Pub in Tampa broadcast an Internet feed that allowed customers to watch the game live, although according to a report in the Tampa Tribune, O’Brien’s is a local hangout for Steeler fans. Still that was a serious boo-boo and for that gaffe, O’Brien’s should allow their regular customers to run a free tab until the next Buccaneer victory.Listening to the radio broadcast would have been less graphic. If Tampa Bay plays any way as miserable in the upcoming weeks as they did against the Steelers last Sunday, whether they sell out the stadium or not, a blackout should be mandatory.Now onto the game itself. The Steelers shipwrecked the Buccaneers by a score of 38-13. Backup QB Charlie Batch threw for 186 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Mike Wallace piled up 100 yards receiving on just three catches and scored touchdowns of 41 and 46 yards. Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 143 yards.Even though he played a great game, Batch seemed almost semi-apologetic. After the fiasco (at least for Tampa Bay) concluded, he said, “Everybody knows Ben’s the starter. One thing I didn’t want to do was be that weak link, to go out there and not be able to provide a spark or put this team in the end zone.” I can hear echoes of host Anne Robinson of the now defunct television show “The Weakest Link” telling Batch with her sultry British accent, “Charlie, you are not the weakest link.”Batch might not be the savior of the Steelers but he is certainly the saver. A month ago he was unwanted and underappreciated by almost everyone in the Steelers Nation, to a certain degree even by yours truly but through it all, Batch retained his dignity and his character.“We played a heavyweight,” Bucs coach Raheem Morris said. “They (the Steelers) were more physical, more aggressive and more opportunistic. That was a good team, and I think we learned a lot from it. They dominated us on the scoreboard, but at the same time I feel like our team’s mentality walking away is that we could’ve played with those guys.” Yeah Raheem, you must also expect us to believe that your alligator friends in the Everglades say their prayers and put their “dentures” in a water glass before they go to bed at night. If the Steelers as a whole were the “heavyweights” then Charlie Batch administered the knockout blows that put Tampa Bay on the canvas for the duration. No, Batch is not the savior of the Steelers but neither is anyone else. There is an old saying in regards to a subordinate filling in to perform a superior’s job and it goes something like this. “I’m not the plumber. I’m the plumber’s son. I’ll put a patch on the leak until the plumber comes.”When starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reclaims his gig after the Steelers bye week then I guess we will see the “real” Pittsburgh Steelers. If Big Ben happens to have a subpar game, I do not want to hear any excuses, from anyone, anytime or anywhere. If Charlie Batch can come off the bench, not having started a game since 2007, then Big Ben should almost be midseason form, P.S. (post suspension) because he has only missed four games. As far as working out, he should be doing that on his own. The NFL cannot prevent him from working out on his own because according to the local prognosticators, Big Ben is the “savior,” isn’t he?When Roethlisberger returns to action and throws an ill-advised pick, just call it an interception like they call the picks that are tossed by Batch and Dennis Dixon. I don’t want to hear statements such as “That’s Big Ben, the mark of a great quarterback is trying to make a play.” “It appears that Big Ben is still a bit rusty.” “Last week at Tennessee, Batch looked like the tin man from the “Wizard of Oz.” C’mon now, how rusty do you think Batch was after holding a clipboard since 2007? But last weekend he was oiled up and ready to go. The Steelers are currently 3-0. The worst that their pre-bye record will be after Sunday’s showdown with the Ravens will be 3-1. Is it too much to suggest that we should all expect to end the 2010 season at 15-1 or 14-2 because Big Ben will be back? Seriously “yinzers,” no one player should receive all the accolades for a victory or all the blame for a defeat, football is a team game.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburgcourier.com.)last_img read more

City League Boys and Girls Basketball Roundup

first_imgby Malik VincentUnfortunately for City League teams playing in area tip-off tournaments last weekend, none could muster more than a split in their two games.On the boys side, four teams earned a split.1. Carrick participated in the Brentwood Tournament. They won their first game 74-34 over the host Spartans on Friday night. They then dropped an 85-82 thriller to Meadville in the championship game on Saturday.2. Peabody played in the South Side Beaver tournament. They suffered a 69-48 loss to Quaker Valley in the opening game but bounced back to avenge the host Rams in the consolation game, 73-56 on Saturday.3. Perry, the defending champs, came out strong with a 72-66 win over Beaver Falls in the New Castle tournament on Friday but dropped a 67-49 decision to the host Red Hurricanes in the final.4. Schenley fell to Bethel Park in its tournament, 58-44, on Friday but prevailed in the consolation match, 52-46, the next day against Mercyhurst Prep.Other teams: Brashear (Pine-Richland tournament) lost 67-39 to Woodland Hills and 53-42 to Summit Academy; Langley (Plum tournament) lost to Plum 71-41 and Highlands 58-56; and Oliver (North Hills tournament) lost to North Hills, 70-45, and Hampton, 55-31.For the girls, two teams came away with at least one victory.1. Allderdice beat host Serra Catholic, 56-45, in the opening game on Friday but dropped the championship, 53-48, to Vincentian Academy on Saturday.2. Brashear lost to Avonworth in the opening round of the Brentwood tournament, 70-26, on Friday then bounced back to claim the consolation match-up, 63-35, over league opponent Carrick on the following day.Other teams: Oliver did not participate in a tournament but lost their nonconference opener to Belle Vernon, 50-12 on Friday; Perry (Seneca Valley tournament) lost their opener to Riverside, 58-17, and it is unknown how they fared in the consolation round against Valley; Carrick (Brentwood tournament) lost 60-30 to Brentwood and 63-35 to Brashear; Peabody (Wilkinsburg tournament) lost to Wilkinsburg, 58-32, and Clairton, 55-28; Schenley (St. Joseph tournament) lost to St. Joseph, 38-23, and Riverview 39-19, and Westinghouse (Trinity tournament) lost to Trinity, 39-34, and Washington, 39-37.(Malik Vincent can be reached at malikvincent@gmail.com.)last_img read more

Tiger Woods in control at Torrey Pines

first_imgby Doug Ferguson AP Golf Writer SAN DIEGO (AP) — Due to the fog that wiped out an entire day of golf, the Farmers Insurance Open was never going to end on Sunday.Tiger Woods just made it look as if it was over.Hands thrust in the pockets of his rain pants, Woods walked off Torrey Pines in the chill of twilight with a six-shot lead and only 11 more holes standing in the way of winning on the public course along the Pacific Ocean for the eighth time in his pro career.He drove the ball with superb control in the third round on his way to a 3-under 69 to build a four-shot lead after three rounds. He lost control with his driver in the fourth round and still managed three birdies in seven holes.“All we can do tomorrow is go out and try to make him think about it a little bit and see what happens,” said Nick Watney, one of two former winners at Torrey Pines who faced the tough task of trying to make up six shots on Woods.The other was defending champion Brandt Snedeker.“I’ve got a guy at the top of the leaderboard that doesn’t like giving up leads,” Snedeker said. “So I have to go catch him.”Woods was at 17-under par for the tournament and will resume his round on the par-3 eighth hole. CBS Sports wants to televise the Monday finish — no surprise with Woods in the lead — so play won’t start until 2 p.m. EST.Snedeker played 13 holes of the final round. Watney played eight holes. Both were at 11-under par.Woods played 25 holes. He started with a two-shot lead and tripled it before darkness suspended the final round.“It was a long day … and I played well today,” Woods said. “Overall, I’m very pleased that I was able to build on my lead.”Thick fog washed out all of Saturday, forcing players to go from sunrise to sunset Sunday. They finished the third round, took about 30 minutes for lunch and went right back onto the golf course. IN CONTROL–Tiger Woods pulls his driver from the bag as he gets ready for his tee shot on the fourth hole at Torrey Pines during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament, Jan. 27, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)last_img read more

WNBA to market to LGBT community

first_imgIn this June 29, 2013 file photo, Connecticut Sun’s Kalana Greene, left, and Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner eye a rebound during the first half of a WNBA basketball game in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)NEW YORK (AP) — Amid a surge of public opinion in favor of gay rights in the U.S., the WNBA is launching a campaign to market the league to the LGBT community, becoming the first pro sports league to specifically recruit gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender fans to its games.With the marketing campaign, the WNBA is capitalizing on what it has known for years: The community makes up a significant portion of its fan base. The difference now is that the league is talking about it publicly and making it a deliberate part of its marketing strategy.The launch of the effort coincides with a surge of political and legal advances for the gay-rights movement in the U.S., and shifting public opinion behind many of those advances.The campaign, which begins with the debut of a website Wednesday, includes having teams participate in local pride festivals and parades, working with advocacy groups to raise awareness of inclusion through grassroots events and advertising with lesbian media. A nationally televised pride game will take place between Tulsa and Chicago on Sunday, June 22. All 12 teams will also have some sort of pride initiative over the course of the season.“For us it’s a celebration of diversity and inclusion and recognition of an audience that has been with us very passionately,” WNBA President Laurel Richie said. This image provided by the WNBA shows a t-shirt that is part of a campaign the WNBA is lauching to market specifically to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. It’s the first league to design such a campaign. The marketing push begins with the launch of a website on Thursday, May 22, 2014, and the signature event will be a nationally televised “pride” game between Tulsa and Chicago on Sunday, June 22. (AP Photo/WNBA)It’s taken the league 18 years to take the step, though it had discussions about the possibility previously. Teams have done some promotion locally, sponsoring booths at gay pride events and hosting groups at games.“We embrace all our fans and it’s a group that we know has been very, very supportive. I won’t characterize it as ‘Why did it take so long?’ For me it’s been we’ve been doing a lot of terrific initiatives. The piece that’s different this year is unifying it,” Richie said.Before launching the campaign, the league took a close look at its fan base. It commissioned a study in 2012 that found that 25 percent of lesbians watch the league’s games on TV while 21 percent have attended a game.Rick Welts, who was the executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the NBA when the WNBA first started in 1997, said that when the league began executives figured the fan base would be a carryover from the NBA.“We guessed very wrong on that,” said Welts, who is the president and COO of the Golden State Warriors and became the highest-ranking executive in men’s sports to publicly acknowledge he’s gay in 2011. “Maybe we should have known better. I think from its outset, the WNBA attracted a fan with different interests than our profile of an NBA fan.“I remember sitting in a few meetings where we had really interesting thoughtful discussions of: Should we be proactive marketing to the LGBT community? What does that say if we do? We certainly didn’t want to position the league of being exclusionary to anyone. What were we saying if we did it more proactively? Society and sports culture is very different today than it was back then. Teams were trying to figure out the right thing to do.”Brittney Griner, who is one of a handful of WNBA athletes who have publicly identified themselves as lesbian, was happy the league was embracing the community. Griner, who was the No. 1 pick by the Phoenix Mercury in the draft in 2013, plans on wearing rainbow-colored shoes during the month of June in support of the initiative.“We’ll pave the way and show its fine and there’s nothing wrong with it. More sports need to do it. It’s 2014, it’s about time,” said Griner, who served as grand marshal of the Phoenix Pride parade last season.The league’s campaign comes after a wave of recent announcements from players who are identifying themselves publicly as gay. NBA player Jason Collins became the first player in men’s professional basketball to come out and played with the Nets. Former Missouri football player Michael Sam, who came out in print and televised interviews earlier this year, was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams. And Derrick Gordon, a UMass basketball player, recently described his experience as a gay Division I player.It also comes amid changes in the political and legal landscape. Just this week, federal judges in Pennsylvania and Oregon struck down state bans on gay marriage, extending a series of such rulings since December. If the latest rulings stand, there will be 19 states — with more than 43 percent of the U.S. population — that allow same-sex marriage.That helps make the timing for the WNBA’s decision right, said Robert Boland, academic chair of the sports management program at NYU’s Tisch Center.“This is a group where there is a natural affinity and marketing affinity,” he said. “It’s a recognition of where the world is today. I’d be shocked if there was any backlash.”Rebecca Lobo, who played in the league for six seasons and has been a broadcaster for the last decade, has seen a change from when the league began in 1997.“It’s culturally more acceptable now than it was when it first started,” she said. “The league has been around for so many years they can do these sort of things without worrying about what some people might think.”It wasn’t always that way.“For a long time they were happy to have those lesbians fill those seats in the stands, but not willing for a long time to embrace the fan base,” said Pat Griffin, professor emeritus in the social justice education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “I attribute that to the homophobia, fear that somehow acknowledging the fan base would encourage other fans not to go to games. What they’ve learned is that the fan doesn’t keep other people from going to games.”___Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberglast_img read more

Inside Conditions…Go west young man, go pro

first_imgAUBREY BRUCEBoys’ and girls’ let’s explore a few other reasons why college football players should be paid.Now “folkses” I am going to give you a list of the states that do not currently have  NFL pro football franchises. No that’s not quite right. They do have professional football teams. The college teams are the “pro” teams and the high schools are the “farm teams,” otherwise known as the “minor leagues.”These states get free labor from the high school and college ranks because the markets that they represent just do not have the population saturation necessary or the investment dollars to support the acquisition and the maintenance of an NFL franchise.Why get Barack Obama type gray hair, worrying and fretting about salary caps, outrageous salaries, the free agent market, trade deadlines as well as all of the other frivolous and mundane stuff such as paying for labor costs, when you have a limitless reservoir of free labor at your disposal.Well for the sake of political correctness, let’s just say talent without compensation.These rural bastions of fierce and loyal college fanaticism only exist because of  those who religiously feel superior to college players because the athletes are not allowed to receive any money.I would like list the states that do not have NFL franchises but still make cheese from college football, far too much chee….se.The New England states are represented by the Patriots but come on….The stadium that the Patriots play in is located in Foxborough,  MA.  So technically, the team should be called the Massachusetts Patriots.The Carolina Panthers represent North and South Carolina although the stadium is physically located in Charlotte, NC.Twenty five American states do not have NFL franchises located within their borders. College football is, has been and will remain king of the gridiron at least for the foreseeable future.These small markets do not have the economic demographics to support a professional NFL franchise so they promote college football programs with unimaginable zeal and vigor because that’s where have at their disposal an almost endless reservoir of free talent.A high percentage of the population of these “barren” professional football markets, follow pro football or profess and undiluted loyalty to local high schools, colleges and universities that have created and continue to maintain successful football programs.The states without professional teams use these athletes and schools to grab and wield an enormous amount of economic, social and political capital from a product that they obtain for mere pennies on the dollar.In March of 2014 professor Glenn Wong,  a lawyer and professor at the Mark H. McCormack Department at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst wrote an article titled: ‘College Athletes Should Be Careful What They Wish For’.In my opinion Mr. Wong is just plain wrong on this one.He writes; ” Significant improvements must be made for college athletes, especially those highly acclaimed student-athletes who make an athletic department’s bottom line soar. But college athletes want a union to win those benefits, they should be careful what they wish for. If student-athletes are ultimately allowed to be considered employees, the value of their scholarships will be taxable. If they decide to be represented by a union, they might face strikes and other worker actions and the employer universities will be able to use work actions such as lockouts.”First of all these universities don’t even have a bottom line if you compare their expenditures to professional football owners.  Most colleges are non profits so they pay almost no taxes and they certainly do not pay taxes on the scholarships that they award to students.As a matter-of-fact a high percentage of the schools claim  that the educations that they “give” the athletes as an expenditures, while simultaneously getting free labor from the athletes that risk life and limb filling up stadium after stadium playing the violent sport of football.If the scholarships are not taxable when the schools pay for them, why should they be taxable if the athletes have to theoretically be taxed for the same education?Mr. Wong also asks the question: “will the current tax-exempt status of college athletic programs and the N.C.A.A. be jeopardized?”Again Mr. Wong seems to voice far more concern for the economic well being of the universities; I can understand his concern because being a paid educator he might suffer a hit to his wallet and tenure if the money train is impacted by something as insignificant as paying the athletes that bring home the bacon.As far as making money is concerned if the NCAA does not want to pay college football athletes’ then the athletes should be allowed to declare for the draft after the completion of their sophomore year, it is as simple as that.  Go pro, young man, go pro.Aubrey Bruce can be reached at:  abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412.583.6741last_img read more

The Washington Center Presents: Silent Movie: ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’…

first_imgFacebook15Tweet0Pin0Submitted by The Washington Center for the Performing ArtsThe Chilling 1923 classic silent film that vaulted Lon Chaney into stardom for his portrayal of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bell ringer living in the towers of Notre Dame who falls in love with the gypsy queen while the brother of the archdeacon plots with the gypsy king to foment a peasant revolt.Photo courtesy: The Washington CenterCurated by the incomparable world-class theater organist Dennis James, the Center’s Silent Movie Series bring to life the golden age of cinema. A treat for the eyes and ears, each movie shines with live music played on an Olympia treasure from 1924, the Mighty Andy Crow Wurlitzer Organ.Tickets are on-sale now!DATE: Sunday, March 8TIME: 2:00 p.m.VENUE: Washington Center Main Stage: 512 Washington St. SE OlympiaCOST: Tickets: $23 | General AdmissionFor more information about upcoming events please visit www.washingtoncenter.org or call the Box Office at 360-753-8586.last_img read more

Carpenter’s daughter to carrying India on her shoulders: Amanjot Kaur called up to India…

first_imgImage Courtesy: The Tribune/TOIAdvertisement jom2eNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs49vWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Euy2( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 4eo2bWould you ever consider trying this?😱6i7fCan your students do this? 🌚b0p1Roller skating! Powered by Firework You may not have heard about her, but a cricketer named Amanjot Kaur from the city of Mohali in Punjab, has faced tremendous struggles and disadvantages, because of poverty and her gender. Daughter of a carpenter, Kaur faced denial from entry into a local cricket academy for being a girl. But she kept on fighting. And where did it end her up? In the India Women’s under 23 cricket team selected for the upcoming BCCI’s Women’s Under 23 T20 Trophy!Advertisement Image Courtesy: The Tribune/TOICurrently improving her skills under the guidance of BCCI Level II cricket coach Nagesh Gupta at the Sector 32 coaching centre, Amanjot has previously been called up to represent Indian green team for the T-20 Women’s U-19 Challenger Trophy, held in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh last year.Presently studying at the Sri Guru Gobind Singh College at Sector 26, Amanjot has also played for the Punjab Under 19 women’s team in the BCCI – U19 Womens Cricket League Tournament 2018-19. She was the player of the match against Chhattisgarh under 19 Women.Advertisement Speaking to the Times of India during her her training session at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, Amanjot was nothing but joyous for the chance to enter the bigger platform.the 19 year old said: “I am all excited after getting the call. I have been asked to report by December 9. It is a great opportunity for me to get into the Indian team.”Advertisement However, she mentioned that its her family, especially her father’s never ending assiatance that has helped Amanjot to achieve success.“I was fortunate that everyone at home supported me. My father (Bhupinder Singh) made sure I met all the requirements to achieve my aim.” Kaur told reporters.Bhupinder, despite being a carpenter by profession, has always assisted her to follow her dream. “He used to accompany me to the practice ground every day. When I turned 18 last year, he gifted me a scooty and now I travel on my own,” she added.Amanjot, who idolizes Team India all rounder Hardik Pandya, is an all rounder herself, and has captained the Chandigarh under 23 squad. Despite strugging to find proper guidance, her performance in the recent women’s under 23 T20 trophy grabbed attention from senior coaches, especially Nagesh Gupta.“I have never seen anyone as hardworking as Amanjot. She is a very keen learner and very disciplined.” Nagesh told Times of India.“She would reach for the net practice by 5.30 am even in winter before everyone, including me,” the coach praised Amanjot’s dedication for the sport. Advertisementlast_img read more

Zweben Family Exits But Shadowbrook Endures

first_imgBy John BurtonSHREWSBURY – Nothing is expected to change for the Shadowbrook catering facility under its new ownership, including its name.“The same reason everybody booked this place is the reason we bought it,” noted Jim Kourgelis, who is one of the six new owners, who took over the site in the last couple of weeks.Kourgelis, Saddle River, along with his five partners, have taken over the venerable facility, operating at 1 Obre Pl. for more than four decades by the Zweben family and “We want to continue the wonderful job that they did,” Kourgelis said.The only real changes planned are to “give it a little shot of love,” he said. And that means sprucing up the location, refreshing wallpaper, making minor repairs and revitalizing the garden and grounds, Kourgelis explained.“Our goal is to continue to have this the best catering facility in the area,” he said.Kourgelis and his partners own and operate two other catering facilities, the Venetian, in Garfield, and Seasons, Washington Township. They’ve owned them for 15 and 27 years, respectively, with Kourgelis calling them more traditional sites, as compared to the Shadowbrook. They had considered renaming the institution, “but being here for a couple of weeks, getting to know the history and tradition,” he said, “we felt it was important to keep it as Shadowbrook.”That attitude and the new owners’ experience sat well with the former owner, Robert Zweben.“The Shadowbrook is a very, very special place,” Zweben said, wanting to hand it over to someone who would appreciate its history and reputation.Zweben, along with his father, Sidney, and brother Sandy, bought the approximately 18-acre property and restaurant 43 years ago. The site originally had been Shadow Brook Farm, established in 1910 by wealthy New York physician Dr. Ernest Fahnestock.The site had been an a la carte restaurant and wedding facility when the Zwebens bought it and they continued operating as that for a number of years before gradually shifting to catering only. “Which is a much easier operation,” Robert Zweben acknowledged.The site has lush, decorative grounds and garden area and its interior is decorated with items, such as ceiling panels, from such historic sites as the former Paramount Theater, New York City; and from the day room of the former Villard Mansion (Now the Helmsley Palace Hotel, on New York’s Madison Avenue.)Zweben confided there was any number of developers anxious to purchase the property. “And a lot of those people were willing to pay giant numbers,” for it, he said.“But it’s in our heart and I just couldn’t do that,” to the facility and to his long serving staff, he said.He decided to sell to Kourgelis and his partners because, Zweben felt, “After 43 years I think these are the people to maintain it and bring it to the next level.”Kourgelis is keeping the existing staff and bringing some additional employees to operate the site, which in past years, Zweben said, had as many as 250-300 events a year.“We plan on being here for a while,” Kourgelis said.For Greg and Christina Cambeis, a Middletown couple, the Shadowbrook was an ideal choice.“We wanted to get married someplace outside,” opting to have their ceremony on the grounds’ garden, said Christina. “It was perfect. We loved it.”“It was a perfect place,” Greg added.He feared the location might have become a condo or townhouse development. And that it’ll continue largely as it is, “I think people appreciate that,” Greg Cambeis said.last_img read more

Forrestdale School Transformed into Entrepreneur’s Marketplace

first_imgBy Emma Wulfhorst |RUMSON – It’s not every day a school becomes a bustling hub of entrepreneurship.But sellers recently packed the Forrestdale School’s cafeteria where over 60 student vendors set up shop, displaying everything from shark’s-tooth necklaces to ornaments to original artwork for the school’s first ever TREP$ Marketplace.The market was the final step of the TREP$ program, a curriculum developed for schools in which fourth- through eighth-graders learn everything they need to know to start their own businesses. Maureen Gordon, a Forrestdale enrichment program teacher, brought the program – short for “entrepreneurs” – to the school after learning about it through an email. “I knew it would be something students would just love to do,” Gordon said. “I know how much they love to create and build.”Gordon approached the Forrestdale administration and asked for permission to make TREP$ a part of the school’s enrichment program for gifted and talented students for the 2017-18 school year. “They said yes right away,” said Gordon and she began the class in September. The TREP$ curriculum was developed in 2006 by two New Jersey mothers after their sons attempted to create their own small business.Forrestdale’s program was open to all fourth- and fifth-grade enrichment students, as well as any sixth-grade students who were interested. The class met one hour a week for the fourth- and fifth-grade students during a regularly scheduled enrichment class. But the sixth graders had to sacrifice a lunch and recess period two times a week in order to participate.“They learned concepts and skills in school through workshops,” said Gordon. During the classes, the students were taught key business skills and terms, including profit, expenses, marketing, brainstorming and creating a plan, all part of the TREP$ curriculum.“A lot of work was also done at home,” said Gordon. Students physically created their products entirely on their own time using their own money or borrowed from their parents to produce the items. However, if students borrowed money, they were required to write up a contract with terms for repaying the loans. Any profits students made could be used to satisfy the loans. If students did not turn a profit, they had to present written explanations of the different lessons they learned during the program.“Most of them really worked on it themselves,” said Gordon about the students’ creation of their products, “but there was a lot of parental support.” Gordon said some of the students even paid their siblings or friends to help them produce, market or sell their goods.According to Gordon, about 95 percent of students made a profit. While most kept the money as a reward for themselves, some chose to donate it to various organizations.Amanda Harmon, a fifth-grader at Forrestdale, made a profit of $150 by selling her beach-themed ornaments, chalkboards and picture frames. “I loved it when people walked by my stand and saw my product and they loved them,” she said. “It really made me feel good to have people enjoy what I made.”“She was focused on doing something beach-themed and using sand,” said Amanda’s mother, Tara Harmon, also the publicity coordinator for Forrestdale’s TREP$ program.Fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from Forrestdale School in Rumson participated in the TREP$ Marketplace, the culmination of a program which taught them about all aspects of starting and running a business. Photo courtesy Tara HarmonIn total, 16 sixth-graders, 28 fifth-graders, and 21 fourth-graders participated in the program, but Gordon expects a bigger enrollment when she runs the program again. “I already ordered more workbooks for next year,” she said. “I’ve had seventh- and eighth-graders beg me to do it again.”Gordon is overjoyed by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the entire Forrestdale community. “I received numerous emails form parents thanking us, telling us what an amazing learning experience it was for their child,” she said.As a parent, Harmon relished TREP$. “I thought it was pretty awesome,” she said. “It was a great opportunity for the kids to use their creativity and see how a business works.” Harmon is also excited for her daughter to participate again. “She and her friends are already planning what they want to sell next year.”This article was first published in the Jan. 25-Feb. 1, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.last_img read more