CAL teams in the community
By Tom Williams Sports Columnist shorenewstoday.com
We watch them perform for three months in each of three seasons on the fields and courts, in the gyms and pools, on the tracks and courses.
They are the varsity athletes from the Cape-Atlantic League – the boys and girls who are among the best in their school in their sports. They entertain us and surprise us. Some win championships, others struggle to compete. And, through it all, they maintain a proper level academically.
But, in many cases, there is a lot more to these student-athletes. Inspired by their coaches, athletics directors and even their own ideas, these teenagers make a difference in their communities.
Once again this year, we present some of the projects that owe their success, at least in part, to CAL student-athletes.
The Ocean City field hockey team ran a car wash to raise money to sponsor a young girl through Change a Life Uganda. They have been paying for her education and food for her family for the past four years. The players volunteer for the OC 5K/Half Marathon, working two water tables throughout the race. They volunteered for the Tour De Tuckahoe Duathlon and bike tour.
They have a Relay for Life team, raising money for American Cancer Society and spending the night as a team walking for a purpose. They raise money during October for the Making Strides Walk (American Cancer Society) and walk in that walk. The players volunteer to work the Ocean City Recreation summer and winter field hockey clinics. And the players volunteer for the Field Hockey Club of South Jersey’s Coaches Clinic each year.
Over the course of the past year Absegami High School has sent several teams to help out at the South Jersey Field of Dreams. During the fall season, members of the girls tennis, football and field hockey teams took time to help out our special players. During the spring, Absegami softball, girls lacrosse, cheerleading and baseball have all donated their time to help the mentally and physically challenged kids of the league. A weekend does not go by without athletes and students from Absegami showing up to help out.
Joe Sabath, a teacher and coach at Absegami, board member of Field of Dreams and the Galloway Township Humanitarian of the Year, also points out that athletic teams from Egg Harbor Township, Mainland and Cedar Creek have also donated their time during the spring of 2015.
Ocean City High School’s girls cross country team volunteers at the Ocean City Half Marathon in September. They run in the 5K Police Chase in June, sponsored by the Ocean City PBA. And many volunteered and some ran in the mile run on Asbury Avenue around Christmas time.
Egg Harbor Township High School’s baseball program dedicates time throughout the school year to various charitable causes and foundations. Our student-athletes volunteer their time at both the South Jersey Field of Dreams & Atlantic City Rescue Mission. We also participate in other charitable fundraiser activities such as the John R. Elliot Hero Walk, Movember, & St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
The Ocean City girls crew team and coaching staff registered and participated in a 5K Pi Day run in the rain on the Boardwalk in Ocean City. The event benefited the Ocean City Education Association and was one of the many Pi Day activities that took place that day.
The EHT softball team visited the Egg Harbor Township Recreation Department’s softball field and assisted at practice. They also participated in the HERO Walk.
The Ocean City girls soccer team is very active in the community. Many of the players hold executive positions in the OCHS Key Club. Others are also involved in the Challenger program that helps kids with disabilities play the sports that they love. As a team, they volunteered as the most rambunctious water station in the Ocean City half marathon.
Team Halliday was also the biggest fundraising team in Ocean City for the HERO walk. The HERO campaign seeks to end drunk driving tragedies nationwide by promoting the use of safe and sober designated drivers. Coach Kelly Halliday believes this is an important message for young adults.
The Egg Harbor Township girls basketball team joined with Mainland Regional for a Pennies for Patients Fundraiser to help Mainland student Brianna Gansert. As is tradition, the EHT girls joined Absegami for an annual Coaches vs Cancer event where $900 was raised in memory or former EHT Coach Beth Hartman, who died of cancer.
Ocean City’s football team has been involved in a reading program with Jen Ferrier's second grade class at the Ocean City Primary School since February. They've been going there twice a month at lunch and partnering up a football player with a student in the class to help them read their chapter books and work on a writing project. The Board of Education will recognize the students and invite them to read the stories they've written. The OCHS players also got out on the playground and threw the football around with them. Coach Kevin Smith said it has been a great partnership and they intend to continue it next year.
The Atlantic Tech baseball team and the Egg Harbor Township boys cross country team both participated at the South Jersey Field of Dreams.
The Ocean City baseball team volunteered to paint the baseball dugouts and bathrooms at their field and helped install the sod at the Amanda Fields baseball complex in Upper Township. Many players have volunteered their time coaching for the Challenger baseball program and they raised money for the Shirley Mae Breast Cancer Assistance Fund with a Strike Out Cancer Game against Oakcrest.
Mainland and Ocean City softball teams played a Strike Down Cancer game at Northfield’s Bitch Grove Park that raised significant funds for cancer research. The Raiders gave up their home game to be part of the fund-raiser.
And many other schools in the CAL have actively raised money for Coaches vs Cancer, a charitable activity that started in basketball and has spread to other sports.
All 21 schools in the CAL were solicited for information about activities like these. Some did not reply yet. This is what the other schools sent. If more examples are received, they will be included in another column.
Tom Williams’ sports columns can be found online at ShoreNewsToday.com, where comments can be made. Older columns are at OceanCitySports.com. Direct reactions or questions about the column can be sent via email to TomWilliams@catamaranmedia.com.