JAMES MONROE ELEMENTARY: BRICK BY BRICK WE CAN BUILT IT FROM THE FLOOR…..

 

 

A little over 12 years ago my oldest niece started kindergarten.  When she was told she had to go Monday through Friday (pre-school was three days a week) her response was “EVERY day?!”.   That was followed by a look of someone who wanted to plead her case but had no leg to stand on.  A few years later my younger niece was about to start 1st grade. Her Uncle Mike shared with her a story of his days as a first grader, telling her how the teacher pulled his hair because he talked too much. She gave us a look that was combination of “no way” and “oh shit”.  It was our way of teasing them as kids; but in our hearts always wanted them to get the best out of school.  As my nieces went through the years of elementary school, there were Halloween Parades, recounts of funny moments by them of their day (“Everytime the teacher said his name Marco, we all said Polo”), friends they made along the way, etc.  Over the years, my fridge was filled of first day of school and class pictures.  They enjoyed all the cherished memories we all have of our first years in school.

This past Saturday night, March 22, that school they attended from K through 5th grade burned to the ground.  Because of one that careless person all the memories every child had who attended James Monroe Elementary in Edison, NJ was gone.  The school stood for 50 years was reduced to a pile of bricks in a matter of hours.

Edison, NJ is my hometown.  Although I did not attend James Monroe Elementary, my high school was near by.  In junior high the concert band played for all the elementary schools before the end of the year.  James Monroe was one of those schools.

As my friend Jen reminded me, a building is not what makes a school, it’s the people – just like people make a home.  However, Edison is now faced with the daunting task of educating 500 students without a school to do it in.  They have arranged for the kids to go to the local community college as a temporary solution.  However, every book, school supplies and the dozens of items kids use in their every day lives at school are all gone.   As any teacher or parent knows, school budgets are always tight.  Teachers often buy their own supplies during the school year.  Now they are faced with doing this in a matter of days.

I have been asked by another Edison alum to get the word out and see if we can help this school and these kids.  Amazon.com has a wish list of books needed for the school http://thealternativepress.com/towns/south-plainfield/categories/news/articles/help-sought-to-replace-books-lost-in-james-monroe 

In addition, my friend Kim has volunteered to bring items people want to donate to the temporary facility.  If you e-mail her at: kadm100@aol.com  she will e-mail you back the address to send any school supplies, books, etc you can give.

Lastly, if you would like to make a monetary donation, you can go directly to the Edison public school website at http://www.edison.k12.nj.us/site/default.aspx?PageID=1 for details.

Even if you could just pass this blog post along, I would appreciate it.  Edison will always hold a special place in my heart.  It will take time, but in time the school will be rebuilt.
Brick by brick we can build it from the floor
If we hold onto each other we’ll be better than before
- Train
#EDISONSTRONG

 

 

 

Read More

Thank You Derek Jeter

jeter

As spring training begins and this becomes Derek Jeter’s final season; I wanted to take a moment to say “thank you” to #2.

Thank you Derek…
For playing every game with the enthusiasm as if it were your first and the determination as though it were your last.

For 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009

For flip throws to home, dives into the stands and for making plays that made us go “Wow!”

For always treating the game of baseball with respect.

For loving the city of New York as much as the fans do

And most of all, Derek Jeter, thank you for being a Yankee.

We all knew this time would come eventually and as much as I will miss seeing you in pinstripes, I am celebrating the chance I had to see you play over all these years. I know this season will be like all those you played previously..with heart and for the love of the game. 

As usual, Go Yankees!! 
Read More

PETTITTE FINISHED THE WAY HE STARTED – WITH HEART AND CLASS

PETTITTE FINISHED THE WAY HE STARTED – WITH HEART AND CLASS

 

 

As he walked off the mound, pumped his fist at seeing that last out was made and he got his last win of the 2013 season; Andy Pettitte finished his long career the way it began.

Andy Pettitte has been a pitcher who played with heart and class.  All season it seemed Andy was leaving it all on the mound.  That final game, Andy gave everything he had left.  Like his friend and teammate Mariano Rivera, he emptied the tank.  As the game went on you could see Andy became more intent on winning this final game of his career, ensuring he would never have a losing season in all the years he played the game professionally.  By the ninth inning, Andy knew in his heart it was his game to win or lose.  He was determined to reach down and find that last bit of gas to get those final three outs and not leave it on the shoulders of anyone else but his.  Heart and class.

I watched Andy’s final game with my mom and dad.  Together we watched the game as if it were the final game of a world series.  During those last four batters in the ninth, my mom with her fingers crossed seemed to be wishing and willing Andy to get those final three outs.  “Come on Andy, you can do this” she muttered over and over.  As Andy walked off the mound and gave his final interview, I looked over and caught her wiping tears from her eyes.  “That’s it, no more seeing my Andy pitch” (She has never made a secret of the fact that Andy was her all time favorite player).  It wasn’t just his good looks (let’s face it, the man is good looking) but his intensity and talent she loved.

I too will miss watching Andy Pettitte pitch.  For you knew every start Andy gave you, he never mailed it in.  Whether it was spring training, the middle of June or the sixth game of the world series he played, as he did that final game of his career, with heart and class.

Thank you Andy for giving us 18 years of amazing baseball.  I wish you all the joy in your life after baseball you gave us every time you took the mound.

Read More

TWITTER: SAINT OR SINNER?

Twitter. The website that basically changed the way we interact. Although there are various other types of social media, Twitter is the most familar to everyone on the planet. So, Twitter – Saint or Sinner?

The upside to Twitter is our ability to connect with those we otherwise may not be able to. People with the same interests (for me it’s mostly sports) get to share their frustrations and exhilirations of their team. It allows us to share moments in our lives – good and bad. For some it may be, for one reason or another, a way for them to have contact with the outside world. Ten years ago I broke my ankle and was completely homebound (my parents home, no less) for six weeks. Twitter would have kept me a much more sane person!

Twitter should never completely replace human contact, but enhance our social world. Bottom line is, Twitter can’t make you anti-social, only you can do that to you.

We, as a society need to remember the same rules in life apply to Twitter. Posting on Twitter is no different than talking to someone in public; and that being insensative to people, whether it be in person or on Twitter, makes you a jerk – plain and simple.

Granted, there is (or should be) a whole differet set of rules for children. I think kids need to be closely monitored when it comes to any kind if social media.

As with people, Twitter is neither all saint or sinner. It is what you make it, just like life.

Besides, if you are reading this most likely it is because of Twitter.

Read More

HOW TRAGEDY UNITES US

After the events of 9/11 in NYC and baseball resumed, fans held signs like “Today we are all New Yorkers”. They were from cities like Chicago and Boston. Sports has a way of uniting us. We root for the same team or cheer on our city. Sadly, tragedy also unites us, as a country.

Boston has been a notorious rival of New York. Yankee/Red Sox games have gotten ugly and fans can be brutal towards each other. However, after the events yesterday at the Boston Marathon, we are united by tragedy.

Despite the rivalry I feel for Boston, the city itself is beautiful. I almost moved there 15 years ago. It’s steeped rich in tradition. It’s people are hard working and many are blue collar folks. They love their sports teams as much as any other city’s fans, that take “no shit” from anyone.

Am I now a Red Sox fan? Not a chance! I bleed Yankee pinstripes. But like after 9/11 and the support we got from Boston fans; Yankees fans, New Yorkers and the country stand united with Boston.

Read More

CELEBRATING THE ORIGINAL #42

Today we celebrate in baseball Jackie Robinson Day. On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson became the first african american player in major league baseball and thus breaking the color barrier in America’s pastime. All the death threats and name calling endured by Jackie can never be imagined; but with the release of the movie “42″ there is an opportunity to show many who were not yet born, what that time was like and how much courage it took for Jackie and those who came shortly after to run out onto that field or to stand in the batter’s box.

Have we completely wiped out racism? Not at all. But we have made strides and with every generation that comes after we can only hope to evolve and look beyond race, gender or sexual orintation. As Dr King famously said:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character

What Jackie Robinson Day should remind us, is that the civil rights movement did not begin with a march from Selma or on a bus in Montgomery; but on a ball field in Brooklyn New York. That truly makes me a proud to be a fan of baseball.

Read More

NO JOY IN YANKEEVILLE..NOT SO FAST

The Yankees went 1-4 their first five games of the this season. The only win coming off a fantastic start by Andy Pettitte. Starters CC, Nova and Hughes all struggled in their first starts. Kuroda bruised his finger on a come backer and existed early. The offense didn’t fair much better. The bats of Gardner, Cano and Ichiro all went cold. Was there really going to be no joy in Yankeeville this season?

Well, first off it is, after all, the first week of the season. Second, and more importantly, after a dismal 1-4 start, the Yankees’ offense and pitching seemed to have picked it up. In the final game against Detroit it was CC versus Verlander. What looked to be a sure loss for the Yanks, turned into a 7-0 win. CC went seven shut out innings, then turning over the 8th and 9th to Robertson and Mariano respectively. The offense got to Verlander getting three runs off him in the 2nd.

The first game against the Indians proved to be just as fruitful. Kuroda and his bruised finger went 5.1 innings, giving up 3 runs in the first but managed to get through those remaining innings without giving up any more. The bats of Cano and Ichiro started to heat up. The Yankees scored 11 runs off 13 hits. The only hiccup seemed to be the 8th and 9th. Girardi put in Kelly, who gave up 3 runs in the 8th, cutting the Yankee lead to 5. Joba pitched the 9th and seemed to have trouble throwing strikes, but did not allow any additional runs.

Tonight, once again Andy takes the hill. Hopefully the Andy we saw in his first start is the same guy we see tonight.

So, for now, with the Yankees 3-4 and still without Jeter, Teix, Granderson and A-Rod we have found a little bit of joy in Yankeeville.

As usual, GO YANKEES!

Read More

OPENING DAY 2013

Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.

Bob Feller

Opening day is always an exciting day for baseball fans. Just like spring, it is the beginning of a season. A chance to start fresh, shake off the cold of winter and a look ahead at the warmer days to come.

As the Yankees prepare for their 2013 season, some are concerned how well they will do and for good reason. Injuries and a lack of off season player signings give Yankee fans a reason to worry. But today, opening day, it’s about baseball being back..FINALLY!

As usual, GO YANKEES!

Read More

MARIANO: SHALL NOT LOOK UPON HIS LIKE AGAIN

When Mariano Rivera emphantically stated he would return and pitch again for the Yankees, after a season ending ACL tear on May 3, 2012, fans had no doubt he would. They just didn’t know it would only be for one more season.

This Saturday Mo is expected to announce he will retire after the 2013 season. As much as this news lay heavy on the hearts of Yankee fans, it is the way it should be, the way it was meant to be – Mariano going out on his own terms. Not being carted off the field of Kaufman Stadium; but to standing ovations at stadiums across the country.

As amazing as Mo’s stats are (most notably 608 saves – the most ever in baseball) that isn’t the only reason Mariano is one of the most respected players in baseball. It’s also his personality on and off the field. The calm Mo brings every time he enters a game, the ability to shake off any blown save and his desire to share the skills, knowledge and wisdom he has acquired in the 18 years spent in major league baseball, with any young pitcher willing to listen. He has a look of determination jogging from the bullpen to take the mound, get three outs and walk off the field with a team win. Lastly, he has in my opinion, one of the best smiles in baseball.

For Yankee fans, every “Enter Sandman” will be bitter sweet, every save Mariano gets memorable. For as Shakespeare’s Hamlet said “He was a man. Take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again”.

As usual, GO YANKEES.

Read More

THE YANKEES AND LACK OF AGGRESSIVE PLAYER SIGNINGS

Less than one month into spring training the Yankees’ potential DL is starting to get a bit crowded. Granderson’s broken arm, Teix’s wrist problem and Hughes’ back issues have made Yankee fans wonder what the starting roster will look like on April 1. With good reason. Before he tried to act like GI Joe, Brian Cashman (along with the Yankee brass) was unable to resign some Yankee players or were unable to sign or trade for available players that would be valuable to the start of the season.

It cannot have escaped “Crashman” that with Granderson out a minimum of 10 weeks, not resigning Ibanez (who they lost over $500k) or putting together a trade for Justin Upton was a big mistake. The Yankee spin of course is the guys they have in the minor league system will fill the role until Grandy comes back. Left field for the moment, seems to held together with “hope for the best”, duct tape and glue. At this point, Johnny Damon’s offer seems pretty good to me.

Although many fans were glad to see Swisher go, he could have very well filled in for Teix if his wrist issue goes beyond April 1. The same goes for Chavez. The one thing the Yankees were good at was having great utility players. This year, they found Hafner, who came to camp without a baseball glove. You think Travis must have passed at least ONE Sports Authority on his way to Tampa.

Ironically, the concerns fans had regarding Jeter and Mariano seem to be a distant memory. Let’s face it, everytime the word “scratched” is put next to any Yankee player before these pre-season games, collective groans can be heard throughout Yankee fandom.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am always a “glass half full” kind of fan; that attitude still remains. Although the feeling of doom and gloom is a bit premature, it may also not be that far off the mark. Even my 73 year old Mom, a life long Yankee fan, has her doubts. Her quote was “I think this Yankee team is going to really suck this year”. Let’s hope not Mom, let’s hope not.

As usual, GO YANKEES!

Read More