Have you ever driven down the Turnpike at seventy-five miles an hour and came upon a sea of red? Red lights that is and had to stop quickly………..Well that is what has happened to the world. Believe me, I am not saying that sports should be the center of attention when the world is in crisis, but if it is a major part of your business model, then you’re always thinking of what could’ve been throughout your now idle day. I already miss the game, whichever one you pick, whether it’s watching it on TV, sitting in the stands or photographing it. My last game was an exciting one, down to the last shot to decide who moves on and who goes home, but the winner never moved on as things came to a stop. We’ll come back when this ends, to the game, as sports and competition is a part of our social being. I’ll grab my gear and get in position to push the button to record the moment when we get back to our new normal. So be safe, take care of yourself and the others in your life and I’ll see you at the game.
The winter championships, the ones I covered, that were completed before the year did includes the track and field Group Championships, the Meet of Champions and the State Ice Hockey Championships. Congratulations are in order for the hockey teams of Morris Knolls, Randolph, Summit, Christian Brothers Academy and the inaugural girls champs Morristown-Beard. There was a slate of five games over two separate nights at the Prudential Center, each carrying the weight of a trophy for the winners of each game. It was a full day of ice time, plus extra time (two OT games), as the top 2 teams in each group, Girls, Public A, Public B, Public C and Non Public fought it out to decide who takes the trophies home.
Track and Field Group Championships showed up early and the Shore Conference went out and grabbed 20 individual wins, eight boys and twelve girls, as CBA captured the Boys Non Public A for a tenth consecutive time and their twenty-fifth overall. The winners from all the events plus others with qualifying times go on to compete in the Meet of Champions. The Shore had two runners win multiple events, Shaw Powell from CBA won the 1600m and the 3200m and Lilly Shapiro from Colts Neck won the 800m and the 1600m. Lilly Orr from Rumson-Fair Haven had a great day winning the 400m for the third consecutive year.
The Meet of Champions had its ups and downs, its a great place to photograph the jumping events, along with its controversies. The boys 1600m seeded race had two finishes, a finish that was short a lap and one that included all 1600m. The NJSIAA handed out awards for both finishes and Allentown’s Liam Murphy will probably never lose the 1400m record as there should never be a reason for that distance to be ran as a race again. The best of the day as far as records was the Kingsway HS 4X800 team which came away with the US#1 time this year as Stone Caraccio anchored the teams come from behind win over Ridge HS, who has the US#3 time from the race.
So what to do now that all of sports as we know it has been completely cancelled or postponed, some seasons finished before they started. Well for one thing the honey doo list gets done. I’ll be helping my niece with baby sitting. I’ll also be doing more ride by photography. Things that are in motion will catch my eye, such as surfing, skateboard parks, maintaining a socially acceptable distance of course. I’ll work on my craft and my art with landscapes and lighting experiments. I’ll also keep coming back to write and show off some of the things that I capture in during this time of isolation.
It’s not surprising, to me anyway, why I chose this time of year to publish my first blog. I am a hockey fan, from youth teams to the pros, and I love to photograph all of them. For those who don’t know me, I am a freelance photographer working in Central New Jersey covering primarily high school sports. I consider myself a photojournalist with a desire to cover all sports at all levels. I have been doing this since 2014 when I started my business and allowed it to occupy most of my time since I retired from the corporate world in 2017. The links above will give you a view of some of my work.
So now that you have an idea of who I am let’s get to the heart of this idea of a blog. I want to present an opportunity for people to follow an idea of sports photojournalism, as I see this as something that is going away for many reasons, (this may be a future article), and to maybe fill a digital void that is not consistently covered. I chose Monmouth and Ocean Counties NJ because this is where I live and work currently. It will include high school, junior college, and university level sports that I get to cover. It will include teams outside of the Shore Conference when we get to the state level playoffs for high school sports. It will include some recaps, previews, my own opinions, and of course photos. I will try my best to post something every week, dependent on my schedule, and whether there is something to say.
So now the 2020 HS Hockey State Tournament. The quarterfinals are on Monday, March 2nd at the highest seed home ice. The Shore Conference started with 17 teams across all four groups in the tournament. Dowd Cup winners Manasquan, Handchen Cup winners Rumson-Fair Haven and Gordon Cup winners Christian Brothers lead the way being seeded 5, 4 and 1 respectively in their brackets. I will be covering games all week including most of the semi-finals and I will be at the Rock on Monday the 9th for the finals. If there is a Shore team still in it, I will prioritize these teams while covering the games for Jersey Sporting News and Hockey Clan.
This year is the inaugural tournament for Girls Ice Hockey, with the Devils hosting the final and an All-Star Game on March 5th. Girls ice hockey has grown in NJ over the last few years and this tournament is a culmination of all that growth. The tournament is put together by coaches and AD’s from the schools that host a team, as the NJSIAA does not sanction the sport yet. There is a Shore team, Trinity Hall, that is seeded #2 in the bracket, with a young team that is full of sophomores and freshmen and could be a strong competitor in future tournaments.
So, stay tuned for upcoming editions of this blog. I will be talking about the hockey tournament and throw in some basketball games that will be played for the Shore Conference Tournament and the State Tournament as they play through March. Track and Field championships for high school are also scheduled soon as the Meet of Champions is the day before the hockey final. Brookdale Community College spring season starts in a few weeks with baseball, softball and lacrosse games during the middle of March. I am going to be doing some Rutgers spring sports also, where the Men’s and Women’s lacrosse teams are projected to do well in the Big 10. But for now, it’s hockey and more hockey. I hope that my storytelling with photography is something that entices people to come back often. Enjoy the photographs and reading what I have to say.