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Warrior Dash Was First Hurdle In Personal Obstacle Course

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Good afternoon on this August Tuesday everyone.  The Warrior Dash was this last weekend and it was a fun race.  The race was the only thing fun about the day.  It rained the entire morning and really made the course extra muddy.  It was hard to run in areas that made sense to run in.  Did you understand that?  In other words, the expected dry areas to run on were now just sloppy and dangerous.  Many people were sliding and slowing down.  Some were complaining about how their time would be affected.  Others did not care.

Import 2My heat began at 1 PM.  My wife and I were thankful were had donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and have access to the VIP tent to stay out of the rain.  That was a highlight.  Able to wait it out the rain and remain dry majority of the time.  Also a few private port-a-potty‘s.  Even though I was prepared, I was still emptying my bladder every 15 minutes.  Nerves will never go away.  The same thing would happen in wrestling before going through the curtain.  Go to the bathroom a few times and then it was showtime.

There was even a wait to get on a few obstacles.  One obstacle in particular where one had to crawl under barbed wire had a good 5-7 minute wait just to start it.  Thankfully the rain stopped right before the start of my heat.  Even with that blessing from above the course was treacherous at points.  I may not be the best conditioned athlete, but certain points I know I could have been running at if it was not so muddy.  When I start a physical activity, I like to finish as hard as I start the event.  The mud detracted from that as caution and safety took over.

I think I was the only one to finish the race with no mud on their chest, head, and face.  I wear contact lenses for a race like this.  I also wear swimming goggles to protect my eyes in a race like this.  I received compliments on my use of swimming goggles.  Some wore tutu’s, other team’s matching shirts, and others barely anything at all, I wore swimming goggles.  If I could have any of these courses mud free, I would.  There are many like myself who would love a course with nothing but obstacles & less distance running, without having to join the military.

The distance running in majority of these mud runs is a necessary evil.  At least cut back on the mud.  There is no need for it to be waist deep.  I would love to see more challenging obstacles in the typical Warrior Dash without having to sign up for an Iron Warrior Dash or Urban Warrior Dash.  Some of these groups offer more than one kind of run.  The Spartan Race and Tough Mudder do the same as well.  There is even a kids Spartan Race.  I think that is a great event for kids.  I plan on tackling the courses for the Spartan Race and Rugged Maniac in the future.  I know I will need to work on my stamina and do the necessary cardio.

Import 1One of the best personal reasons for me to do this race is to complete a personal challenge.  I have run this race two years in a row with no teammates and I savor the sense of self accomplishment in finishing a race of this kind.  Where teammates are helping each other on each obstacle, I tackle them alone.  The feeling of no limitations on my personal self increases the light on the person I have kept down for years.

Myself.

I have always played it careful when it has come to letting my true self shine.  Years of bullying bullied suppressed the person I know I can be.  Fearful of others opinions without even considering my own.  Not putting me before the comments that were being made of me.  I am not just talking about physical bullying, but verbal as well.  There were some girls in middle & high school that would also be verbal bully’s.  Verbal bullying went on for me well into college.  I can remember working at a company in college where my peers would make me feel small from it.

There are times certain incidents will pop into my head.  I never let them take control of me or my confidence these days.  I use it to be more determined to succeed.  Another step in that direction is to go all out, not caring about what anyone thinks.  As Nike says, to just do it.  I keep preaching about leaving that proverbial comfort zone.  It is time for me to take my own advice and be comfortable in my own skin.  To be the opinionated, sarcastic, wise ass that everyone knows me to be.  Not in a bad way though.  It is just my personality and who I am.

Camera Roll-250In the movie Tombstone, Val Kilmer is Doc Holiday and Kurt Russell is Wyatt Earp.  Doc Holiday passes a comment regarding Wyatt Earp’s wife.  Wyatt Earp chuckles while his brother Morgan, played by Bill Paxton, took offense to the comment.  Wyatt tells Morgan that Doc meant no harm by the comment, that it is just his style and he doesn’t mean anything.  The same goes for me.  I never mean any harm from the comments or jokes I may pass, it is just my nature and who I am.  I only poke fun at the people I like.  I never mean any disrespect.  My sarcastic, wise ass humor has always worked with my quick wit and intelligence.  It is just who I am.

I have been standing alongside the highway of life, holding my thumb out, hoping to hitch a ride with someone instead of taking the chance to drive that road myself.  It is about time I did.  I have had control of the wheel many times.  I just never mapped out my own course.  I seemed to rely on others for that.  No more.  Time to put myself out there and not worry about failing or criticism.  I have learned from other failures in life, why should it stop me now?  Everyone needs to experience the failure as much as success.  If you never learn from your failures or mistakes, then you will be doomed to repeat them.  I have had my fair share of mistakes and failures, believe me.

On my YouTube channel I will be starting a weekly video blog.  I may decide to post more than weekly if the desire and enough topics come up that warrant it.  I have a strange feeling it will on occasion.  Many issues about current events, the New York Jets, my past, my future, other projects, random opinions, being bullied, and plenty of other topics that require more commas.  Sometimes writing is not enough as certain emotions and body language make video a better form of self expression.

I do not want to ramble on, cramming topics that have no relation to each other into one post.  Your mind would be over the place more than a Jack Russell Terrier.  Which means I will have to come back more often to update everyone.  Sounds good here.  I enjoy saying what everyone else thinks.  Making statements and passing comments that make others gasp, but know those comments are true.  If you are not a fan of that, sarcasm, and comments that “straddle the line”, then you may want to read another blog.  If you are one who enjoys that kind of wit and banter, then I encourage you to keep coming back to enjoy yourself while having a few laughs.

Time to get some other items done.  Will be moving in a few weeks so time is spent packing and tossing out items that have been sitting in closets for over 10 years.  Many bags of clothes and other items have already been donated to Goodwill.  Still a ton more to go through.  I will have my first vlog up next week.  It will be raw with no graphics or effects, but no sense in waiting considering I have waited long enough.  See you all soon, on here and on YouTube.

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Vision Impairments & The Warrior Dash Don’t Slow Me Down

This Saturday will be my second time competing in the Warrior Dash at Lewis Morris Memorial Park in Morristown, NJ.  Races like this appeal to me mainly for the obstacle course they put together.  If majority of the race was an obstacle course without all the running, I would enjoy it even more.  The Warrior Dash is 3.2 miles and about 15 obstacles over all kinds of terrain.  You run through open fields, up steep hills, through small rivers, a lake, over walls, in mud, and everything else the people at Red Frog Events can throw at their warriors.  A lot of fun actually.

Warrior-Dash-1Last year I finished the race in 47 minutes plus change.  All I am looking to do on Saturday is beat my own time.  It does not matter if it is by 10 seconds or five minutes. I just want to show improvement.  Even when I was a wrestler I showed the same intensity.  Regardless of the challenge put in front of me, I am always determined to prove I can overcome.  If I can not, then I know I gave it my best.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when anyone tells me I can not do something.  People will use words like “No” or “You can’t”.  I answer with “Yes, I can” and “watch me”.  Obstacles are always being put in front of me.  Once I was diagnosed with central vision loss in 1991, many areas of enjoyment became off-limits.  I was informed I could no longer wrestle in high school.  Told to not exert myself in to strenuous a fashion.  That sat with me for many years.

Did I listen?

No.

After high school I wrestled professionally on the independent circuit for a while.  I told no doctors or my parents.  It took a picture being left out by my brother for my mother to know I was wrestling.  Did I stop at that point?  Nope.  It didn’t even slow me down.  I was proving that even though I had suffered this vision damage and told not to exert myself physically, that I was able to do it with no new damage happening.

406257_3724698788475_628888476_nMy eye doctor at the time was amazed.  My current specialist in NYC was shocked to know what I did and nothing happened further with my vision.  My mother eventually said “If I can not stop you, I may as well support you”.  Now THAT was a big win for me.  My determination in completing what I start gives me focus.  I did not have closure wrestling in high school because someone else ended it for me.  I guess that is why even today I do not like others halting me from what I know is right for myself.  If I know something is beyond me or too dangerous, I am intelligent enough to know when to stop.  My wife tends to think otherwise.  In her case, I listen.

I became aware of the Warrior Dash a few years ago.  I subscribe to Men’s Health magazine and they were taking out ads in every issue.  Even before Red Frog started running events in NJ last year, I knew I wanted to attempt it.  Red Frog Events has been putting on the Warrior Dash longer than a majority of the other mud runs out there.  I kept pushing off racing as I was not in the best shape.  But as life and situations improved for my wife and myself, I knew the Warrior Dash was in my future.  I worked out at L.A. Fitness last year, about 4 days a week.  I put together a weight routine and ran on the elliptical every time I worked out.

I had myself in decent shape.  Decent enough to get through the race without needed oxygen afterwards.  I just hate doing cardio.  Long distance running is not my forte.  I understand stamina is needed for any physical event and sports so hence doing a necessary evil.  One has to run in order to have enough stamina.  One also needs to shed unwanted pounds in make cardio easier.  I am at the same weight now that I was last year.  I know if I lose another 10-15 pounds, the cardio will be a lot easier.  Something to focus on before next year’s race.  I am a nighttime snacker, sue me.

Completing last year’s race as a sole racer, no teammates, had me smiling from ear to ear for days.  My elation in running a race filled with obstacles and being able to physically put myself out there for enjoyment makes me hold my head a little bit higher.  I am a physical person by nature, it makes me happy.  I gain confidence knowing that even with my limitations, I can still enjoy the physical activities others said I would not be able to do.  If I could have played football as a kid, I would have.

389089_3724662267562_1262596730_nA few weeks after the Warrior Dash last year I noticed a change in my right eye.  I decided to make a doctor’s appointment to see what the change was.  After the usual tests the doctor informed me I had some leakage on the blood vessels behind my eye.  No blood or anything yet. just the start of something.  They caught it in time to halt its progression and even minimize the effects.  All it took was a shot to my eye.  Apparently, a cancer medication has become useful for those with glaucoma in slowing it’s advancement.  My mother currently gets them every few weeks.

He explained it as a small brush fire that sparks or a lightning strike.  Prediction of what may happen is uncertain for someone my age with this condition.  All they can do is watch it, they do not want me to limit myself in what I do in life.  That was a sigh of relief.  Since that point I have not had another shot.  I have been back for follow-up visits with everything being fine.  By this point, I started to work out harder in the gym.  I knew my limits and I was determined to straddle the line in pushing that limit.

warrior-dashI switched health clubs from L.A. Fitness to New York Sports Clubs.  NYSC offered kettlebells, TRX, UXF, and a fraction of the membership.  Parking is easy to find, the equipment I want is always available, they provide towels, and the management goes out of their way to make it enjoyable.  L.A. Fitness was always busy, other members were rude, plus when one has to wait to use every piece of equipment, it can be annoying.   There is a story there in itself.  It was a change for the better.

Over the next several months I really bulked up.  My shirts we getting tighter up top.  My wife has been extremely happy about it.  I am in the second best shape of my life.  When I was 30, I was in great shape and a little leaner too.  I added more muscle this time.  Plus my abs are starting to see definition for the first time in like, history.  I enjoy going to the gym.  It feels good.  I am no gym rat or a “I lift things up and put them down” type of guy.  I only want to stay in shape and enjoy myself in the process.

I knew for this years Warrior Dash I added extra strength.  I have no run as much as I did to prepare last year.  I used to run 4 days a week.  Now I am lucky if I get to the gym for two days a week.  I always run a fast mile before any work out as a warm up.  The distance running is what I lack time in.  I can keep a steady pace and run five and a half miles in an hour.  More than enough to help me finish the race.  I just hate the anticipation of all that running.  Once again, it is that necessary evil.

486777_10151577216754394_1610444792_nEven as I know my vision got a little worse it did not deter me from wanting to race again.  I will be doing events and activities like this until I physically can not do so.  I also run the Warrior Dash for those more visually impaired than I am.  For those blind and visually impaired who would like to participate in physical and challenging events.  Many have other causes and purposes for running other events, this is mine.

I ran the race for the same reason last year.  It was a great experience I wish other could have shared with me.  This year, everyone will be able to.  I will be running the race with a GoPro Hero 3 Silver Edition.  This way everyone can see what the Warrior Dash is like and share in the ride.  The video should be up a week or so after the race.  Maybe if some people I know see how the Warrior Dash is, they might reconsider and want to race next year.

I wrote a piece last year before my first race (shar.es/kNfFB , best link I can do).  I gave more detail about my wrestling background, being bullied, and more where the Warrior Dash just became one more obstacle to overcome.  Every time I defeat a course like the Dash, I feel a little prouder of myself each time.  I rarely ask for help, even when I know I am having troubles.  I am getting better in asking for assistance in some ares.  Men hate to look vulnerable or weak, it is hard to ask for help at times.  The bigger men are the one;s who know when to ask & understand it will not affect their pride.  I am learning the latter.

It is hard to ignore my vision issues every time I open my eyes.  At least my dreams are in perfect 20/20.  I have to constantly think a few moves ahead to compensate for the loss.  I am sure many others who have had their setbacks have a certain method they use to overcome and lead a normal life.  I hate using the word disability.  Many are inflicted with one but it never slows them down.  Those people run a Warrior Dash every day of their life.  The daily obstacle course, filled with challenges, that are overcome everyday.  For some, making it to tomorrow is the biggest victory.

531371_3724686948179_1563518323_nSeriously though, click the link above and read the article.  I can tug a few more heart-strings and give you more to laugh at by clicking the link above.  Go ahead.  This piece is not going anywhere.  It will be here for you to finish when you are done reading it.  Fin.  Keep reading here.  At least share it.  I had to try a little shameless self plug.  It provides insight as to why a race like this is important to me.  The article provides a better understanding of who I am  & why it is important to never give up on what truly matters in life.

Next year I will not just be running in the Warrior Dash,m but the Tough Mudder as well.  I need to be in better physical shape for the Mudder.  Dedication to training and a better diet over the next year is key to have the stamina and energy to last 10-12 miles.  As I prepare for the Tough Mudder, I will also prepare for American Ninja Warrior.  That is my ultimate goal.  To at least make it through the first round of qualifying for American Ninja Warrior.  I have the right frame of mind for both events, now my body needs to be just as ready.

I love a great challenge.  Nothing makes me smile more than facing life obstacles and overcoming them.  Making people rethink their comments to me, after they see what I am able to overcome.  I love to prove others wrong when it comes to my physical limitations.  No one leads my life or knows what I am capable of.  The only way to find out is to stand back and watch.  Or head to my YouRube channel to watch my videos.

Either way, I will give everyone a reason to stand up and take notice.  Not everyone is perfect.  We all have our imperfections.  Mine just happens to be my vision.  Tat never slowed me down.

And it never will.

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-State Before Jets/Cardinals This Sunday


Tailgate 4 The TriState
held the first part of their cause this past Sunday at the Giants/Packers game to moderate success. Thank you to both Charles from Top Shelf Tailgate and Dave at The Fan Van Party Bus for helping us on the first part of T4T. Pictures can be found on our Facebook page along with details for Sunday.

This Sunday will be the Jets portion of Tailgate 4 The Tri-State. We welcome back The Fan Van this weekend and “Flagman” Frank Conway in Yellow lot L11.

Like this past Sunday’s Giants event, we will be raising funds for Hurricane Sandy relief during tailgating before the Jets/Cardinals game. All donations will go directly towards The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

The Fan Van Party Bus will be stacked and loaded in Yellow Lot L6 and Frank Conway and his flags along the median by the Track in Yellow lot L11

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The Tri-State to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts. The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund. The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles of Jets jerseys and possibly some former Jets players may show up as they have in the past. At our Giants event Sunday, former Giants player Steven Baker the Touchdown Maker made an appearance. They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves. It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well. Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ. He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate. That to me is the epitome of selfless.

Charles Mulea has been taking his Top Shelf tailgate to wherever he can to provide food, television, and a welcome distraction to many still cleaning up and for those responders in welcome need of comfort while assisting others. The best gifts comes from those who seek nothing in return.

If you attend the Fan Van tailgate, one cost covers all food and drink. Frank’s tailgate is very friendly, all are welcome. Just look for the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State signs at each location.

It is very easy to participate. Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!! Have fun! Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering. That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish. There are a few options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The Tr-iState:

A group or individual could make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate.

Purchase some raffles or while enjoying some great BBQ, make a donation to T4T since these tailgates are offering up their services to help us raise money.

The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation. This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

The Fan Van Party Bus is the Party City Tailgate of the Day.  Pictures was on the Jumbotron

The Fan Van Party Bus is the Party City Tailgate of the Day. Picture was on the Jumbotron

Many will laugh at the last one, but you never know how generous someone will be. But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted. Bring your checkbook and make a donation that can go a long way to helping those in need this holiday season.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you. Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page. He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-Staate Today Before Giants/Packers Game


Tailgate 4 The TriState
will be raising funds for Hurricane Sandy relief before today’s Giants/Green Bay Packers game as some tailgating crews have joined the cause.  Many have not just been chomping at the bit to help, but to chomp into some great BBQ as well.

Two groups have stepped up to offer their tailgating services to help us raise funds for  The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

The Fan Van Party Bus will be stacked and loaded in Red Lot G16.  Our latest addition, Top Shelf Tailgate will have their professional rig set up in Red Lot E26 just across from the turnpike off ramp.

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The Tri-State to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts.  The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.   The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

 

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles of Giants jerseys, Cheerleaders at the Giants game, and possibly some former Giants players may show up as they have in the past.  They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

Top Shelf Tailgate is the country’s first franchise tailgating opportunity.  Top Shelf offers trailers that are state of the art & built by them from the ground up to accommodate any possible need.  Catering to both children & adults the versatility is sure to please everyone. The kids can play the latest video games as the adults watch the big game on HD thanks to our DIRECTV satellite,
while our sound system keeps the music going & party alive.  A private bathroom is a luxury in the parking lot as well as the back yard.  The double keg taps conveniently serve guests the beverage of choice.  The possibilities are endless!

Top Shelf Tailgate will be accepting donations for T4T, for those seeking food and a chance to win Giants jersey’s can go to The Fan Van Party Bus

Also on hand by the Fan Van will be GMEN Shirts.  GMEN Shirts will have their shirts, sweats, hoodies, and more.  Portions of those sales today will go towards T4T.  So one could enjoy some music, food, beer, and grab some GMEN swag to show off your Big Blue pride.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The Tr-iState:

A group or individual could make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at the last one, but you never know how generous someone will be.  But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you.  Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page.  He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves.  It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well.  Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ.  He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate.  That to me is the epitome of selfless.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

 

 

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-State Shaping Up, Giants Tailgaters Needed

Since we announced our plans to have Tailgate 4 The TriState raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief, the reception has been moderate.

After consideration internally and from the opinions of others, we have decided to change the relief fund we are donating to.  Instead of the Red Cross, all donations will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The TriState to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts.  The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.   The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

We would like to thank The Jets Press, Turn on the Jets, Jets101.com, and SBNation’s GangGreenNation.com & BigBlueView.com for helping us get the word out on T4T.  Without the support of the fans and websites like these, the word of Tailgate 4 The TriState can not spread to others.  We appreciate the interest of wanting to gather others for a worthy cause.

After reaching out to various tailgating groups for both the Jets and Giants, we only have a combined 4 location at both games.

For the Jets game we have Frank Conway in Lot L11, Dave Fier in lot L5, and the Fan Van Party Bus in Lot L6 for the Jets game and VIP lot G16 for the Giants.

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles, Cheerleaders at the Giants game, and possibly some former Jets and Giants players.  They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

We are still looking for Jets and Giants tailgating groups to participate in the cause.  We thank those who are selfless and look to help those who do not have the means to help themselves due to Hurricane Sandy.

Tailgate 4 The Tri-State will take place Sunday, November 25th at the
Giants/Green Bay Packers game & Sunday, December 2nd at the Jets/Arizona Cardinals game.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The TriState:

1-Many tailgating groups charge a fee to be able to partake in their tailgate.  We ask if these tailgate groups could donate a portion of those fees towards the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State effort.

2-A group could also make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

3-The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at Number 3, but you never know how generous someone will be.  But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you.  Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

For those wanting to gets their morale boosted before the Jets take on the Arizona Cardinals, Firemen Ed will be making an appearance at Tailgate 4 The TriState on December 2nd to help us raise funds and fire up the Jets faithful before kick off.  Ed is passionate about giving his time for the right cause so we thank him in advance for his time.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page.  He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

It irks me to have great support from the Jets fans and not the Giants fans.  I personally have reached out to so many individuals I have met tailgating, as well as other groups to only get very minimal response in return.  It shows me some tailgating groups only care about their own publicity & exposure rather than using that attention to do something right for those in need.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves.  It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well.  Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ.  He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate.  That to me is the epitome of selfless.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

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Tailgate 4 The TriState To Raise Funds For Hurricane Sandy Relief Before Jets & Giants Games

Last Monday was the worst hurricane or “superstorm” to be seen by the east coast.  New Jersey’s shore line devastated.  Fires rage in New York City boros and burn homes to the ground.  Manhattan darkened.  Possessions lost, homes destroyed, and lives changed forever.

A recovery and clean up seems eternal.  Gas lines may be getting shorter but so are people’s patience.  Power has yet to be restored in many locations while families suffering their worst heart break have yet to receive help of any kind.

My family has roots in Belmar, NJ.  One of the shore towns hit hard by Sandy.  My grandparents ran Levy’s Bakery on F Street for many years.  My Aunt Norma and Uncle Herbie lived down there until the mid 90′s.

I practically grew up in Belmar.  I can remember not just being on the beach and enjoying the ocean, but the holidays with family, spending hours upon hours at Rooftop Golf and Arcade, Zelbe’s, Siderhoff’s hot dogs, Klein’s, Djai’s, Bar A, and so much more of my life happened in Belmar.

Sandy removed the entire boardwalk and dropped it off three blocks from the beach.  A town devastated along with many communities that seek assistance in rebuilding the Jersey shore.

Like many Jersey natives my heart sank lower and lower watching the destruction.  Not just here in New Jersey, but Staten Island, Long Island, and every area in new York ravaged by Sandy.

I felt the need to do something.  I am not sure what exactly, but I wanted to do something for those that had their lives disrupted and still looking for the pieces to get it back together.

So many individuals, companies, Government groups, and so many more are doing what they can to raise funds and material items for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.  I did not want to carbon copy anyone and wanted an effort to be fun and unique while supporting a great cause.

I thought about the Jets fans I had met while filming my documentary about the Jets and their fans.  Here you have thousands upon thousands already in one location and many would be willing to support a great cause.

But why just limit it to the Jets?

Giants fans are very passionate and dedicated.  They bleed red and blue as much as a Jets fan bleeds green.  So extending an opportunity to donate to a cause that affected us all seemed only natural.

But the catalyst.  The concept to bring it all together to make it a worthy event where fans could give their time and donate to Hurricane Sandy relief.  Then it hit me.

Tailgating!

Every Jets and Giants fan likes to party and celebrate before any game.  Getting friends and family together to throw back some cold ones, grill up our meaty feast, and yell at those fans who wear the jerseys of the opposing team.  Ahh, yes….tailgating!

On behalf of Football Reporters Online, I am organizing Tailgate 4 The Tri-State.  We are looking for any and all New York Jets and Giants tailgaters to support T4T as all proceeds will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

Myself and others not just lost power, but many lost food, belongings, and homes as well.  As New York area fans, we want to provide support for those who need to start over.  That is why we are organizing this relief effort to cover both the Jets and Giants tailgating.

Tailgate 4 The Tri-State will take place Sunday, November 25th at the
Giants/Green Bay Packers game & Sunday, December 2nd at the Jets/Arizona Cardinals game.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The TriState:

1-Many tailgating groups charge a fee to be able to partake in their tailgate.  We ask if these tailgate groups could donate a portion of those fees towards the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State effort.

2-A group could also make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

3-The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at Number 3, but you never know how generous someone will be.

The Giants & Jets have already given $500,000eacg for Hurricane Sandy relief.  We as Jets and Giants fans have a chance to show our support and make our contribution.  We have an opportunity to be heard loud and clear.

As of now the Jets tailgate on December 2nd will get loud as Fireman Ed Anzalone is on board with T4T.  Fireman Ed will be offering his time at where we designate the central tailgate to be.

We will designate a flagship tailgating location at both games once we hear back from those wanting to participate.

We just started reaching out to fans, other companies, and former players to get involved with T4T, so updates will be coming.  They can be found on our Facebook page.

When I contacted the Jets on Monday, I added this in my letter:

I am sure you know time is of the utmost importance on this (organizing this project).  I hope the Jets organization would want to support their fans efforts in coordinating a program to raise funds for Sandy relief.  Please contact me with any questions or when a decision is reached.  Thank you for taking the time to consider this for your next home game.

After hearing back from the Jets, they regretfully can not get behind and endorse a cause that is being held on the MetLife Stadium property due to other contractual obligations.

They will be announcing their own efforts where fans can help raise funds during the New England Patriots game on Thanksgiving.  So for our effort during tailgating, we will not have the Jets support. The Jets can only support fans efforts away from MetLife Stadium.

For those Jets or Giants tailgaters looking to have their tailgate participate in Tailgate 4 The Tri-State can e mail us at Tailgate4TriState@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page where there is additional contact information.

 

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Jets Tailgating Takes Flight Before Any Kick Off

Smell that?

Don’t get closer to your screen, what the hell is that going to do?

But there is a certain aroma, slowly being pulled in all directions by the passing winds.  If you concentrate hard enough, focus your senses, and tune in your palate you might be able to solve the quandary of what that is making you salivate more than a bulldog with a t bone steak.

DSC06894It is called opening day tailgating.  The central focus for many Jets fans hours before the opening kick off.  Some can sense the anticipation in the air and draw their energy from it for the day.

For some, adrenaline is what keeps them going from the moment they load their car until they get home.  Many draw their energy from their friends and other fans tailgating around them.  For the rest, they get it from 5 Hour Energy.

Anticipation builds each day like an internal fire.  It grows and grows until there is no containing it anymore.  At some point, opening day has to come to release the energy that has been building for weeks.  Energy that not only creates a spectacle for tailgating, but to assist the Jets from the stands towards a victory.

From burgers to brauts, steak to shrimp, and beer to…..beer, Jets fans can not wait until Sunday.  Facebook, Twitter, and every other social media application and some currently in development are being jammed with Jets fans eager to get the season started.

DSC07183Some tailgating groups use social media to not just set up their tailgate but to attract new tailgaters to their pack.  The L7 Tailgate was founded on Twitter and continues to grow with new members who only meet eight times a year.  More if there will ever be a home playoff.

Many from L7 meet in the off season and tweet on to be great friends.  It shows that distance and eight games will not stop those who feel the need to have that tailgate feeling all year.

I have walked from one end of the stadium parking to the other.  I even ventured over Route 120 and still made it back to the L5 tailgate in time for kick off.  Iver that distance, I have sampled my fair share of tailgating cuisine, Blacktop BBQ, and assorted Jets themed drinks.

DSC07192That first game of the season has a certain feel to it.  Fans wait over eight months to come out of hibernation and seek out pigskin glory.  Take this two ways.  Glory for the team winning on the field and having winning flavorful, tender ribs off the field.

The excitement for the battle in the stadium builds throughout tailgating.  The tension is so thick one can cut it with a Jets flag.  Random J-E-T-S chants, whistles, and all sorts of inspirational celebrating is done to help inspire the 13th man.

We gather like warriors, celebrating our bravest who fight for their faithful followers on the gridiron.  We rejoice with plenty of meat, brew, and pride before watching our green and white gladiators battle before our eyes.  Praying they return to us with a victory.

Every Jets fan feels that excitement.  That this year will be different from the last.  That not only will Gang Green return to the AFC Championship, but to the Super Bowl this time.  Opening day tailgating bring about that excitement more than any other home game.

DSC06932Tailgating is about friends and family.  It gives us time to see those we do not normally see.  To share stories of battles gone by to younger generations.  We bring new members into the circle to spread the word on how damn great our tailgate is.  These are the moments we cherish because it makes us smile in a way only those in attendance can understand.

Every man who can flip a burger or time a steak right has another moment to prove they are the Baron of BBQ, the General of grilling, or the culinary charcoal genius that makes everyone salivate when they see you preparing the days feast.  But behind every great man is a woman muttering under her breath so faint only the grill man can hear.

Laugh or roll your eyes all you want men, we know it to be true.  Doesn’t mean  we listen, but it is true.

So as you prepare to make whatever trek you have to take to get the the Meadowlands, keep the faith.  As tomorrow only starts the first of eight battles on our home turf.  Have the strength to tailgate on even n the face of a losing season.

That is what makes true Jet fans have the best stories to tell to the ones we plan on leaving our season tickets to.

Why Is New Jersey Ignored By Its Own Professional Football Teams?

Long ago, the Jets and Giants once played in New York.  Not anymore.

They play in New Jersey. Their training facilities are in New Jersey.  Their offices are also located in New Jersey.

If the Jets or Giants don’t want to acknowledge New Jersey in their names, then they should combine their efforts once again and move back to the Big Apple. The West Side Stadium project was a bust so the Jets had no choice but to partner with the Giants.  There is no team that plays in one state with the name of another in front of their name.

After the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, co-owner Steve Tisch proclaimed, “We play for the City of New York.”  Needless to say, that did not go over well with many people in New Jersey.  The past two seasons the Jets made the playoffs.  They held post season rallies in New York both years.  Why not hold those in New Jersey at the stadium they play in?

When the Giants won the Super Bowl, the parade is in New York City.  The Philadelphia Phillies didn’t have a parade in Trenton where many Philly fans reside.

Both the Jets and Giants play in New Jersey, a good percentage of their players live in New Jersey and many of their fans come from New Jersey.

They get subsidies and benefits from New Jersey.  The money made at MetLife Stadium benefits New Jersey, not New York.  The players have events and functions in New York more often than n New Jersey.

The Giants have have called New Jersey home for 36 years. The Jets, who don’t even have their own stadium, have been in New Jersey since 1984.  New Jersey is the second wealthiest state in the country.

Some of the most affluent people in the United States live here.  You don’t really think those millionaire athletes from New York, or Philadelphia live in those places, do you?  Maybe if you play for the Yankees, Mets, or Knicks.

I realize most people in the country don’t care. I don’t blame you, but you are not looked upon as New York’s little brother. Additionally, in obscurity and the misrepresentation that shows like “Jersey Shore”, “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, and “Jerseylicious” cast on us.

For someone who has lived in New Jersey all their life, I would like the state to be looked on favorably as two top NFL teams make their home here even though their name doesn’t show it.

The Giants have a rich tradition and history. The Jets, not so much.

New Jersey gave both teams the best deal, the best tax breaks and the worst possible method of getting to a stadium imaginable. At least along with the new stadium, and $15,000 PSL, they built a train station.

In 2012, the New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn. Something tells me they will not keep the New Jersey Nets name.  When the Devils came to New Jersey in the early 80′s, they did not keep the Colorado Avalanche name.

Look back at any sport and every professional sports team.  There has never been a team that kept their original place of origin as their name.  Even the Oakland Raiders changed to the Los Angeles Raiders when they moved.  They did not become the California Raiders just because they remained in the same state.

Lastly, the Statue of Liberty? It’s in New Jersey, not New York.

Interview With New York Giants WR Steve Smith

steve smith slideshow

Last night I had the pleasure of interviewing New York Giants Wide Receiver Steve Smith.  I know i am a Jets fan but I am not going to pass up the opportunity to interview any professional football player.  He was making an appearance at Macy’s at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ for Perry Ellis.  After selecting which Perry Ellis button down shirt he was going to wear he headed out to the floor to sign autographs for the awaiting fans.  Young and mature fans alike all stepped up and had pictures, hats, balls, jerseys, and more signed by the Pro Bowl & Super Bowl winning Wide Receiver.

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Action Is On & Off The Field In Arena Football

What a day Saturday was. Took a trip down to Trenton to see the Harrisburg Stampede face the New Jersey Revolution at the Sun National Bank Center. It was an AIFA game in a town that has no indoor football team. The Revolution play in Morristown, NJ. It was a special showcase to give fans a taste of what they will be seeing in the 2011 season as the Trenton Steel will make their debut. I had gotten some assistance in finding some help for the day. A family friend, Sue Price had put in me touch with one of her friends which led to one of her friends. Turns out, there sons were going to go to the game with their father as the Harrisburg kicker is a cousin. Strange how that happened. So I had assistance from Frank and Bill Ferrari.  I am showing how indoor football can be a viable football alternative to those who feel the NFL has priced them out.

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We got down there around 3:15 and was very easy to get to. Was able to hear the first half of the USA vs England World Cup game. Guess a tie is better than a loss, more points. The Sun National Bank Center is is a bit smaller from the Izod Center and Prudential Center. It plays home to the Trenton Devils, the New Jersey Devils “AA” club. But still an ample sized arena seating 9,000 for a Devils game at capacity. But tonight it held just several hundred. Got some nice shots of the inside of the building. Had some early boom mic troubles but managed to get things in order. I am the kind of worker that goes non sop. Frank and Bill kept up with me the whole night. I know i have a tendency to keep going and not ask if anyone needs a break. I hope I did not run them too ragged.

Was able to get some words with the founder and President of the AIFA, John Morris. John also has partial ownership in the Richmond Raiders, Baltimore Mariners, and the Harrisburg Stampede. Harrisburg is where the corporate offices are located. We talked about how he got started in indoor football, what it takes to run a league and a team, as well as doing what it takes to keep the fans coming back for more. The Harrisburg team was also made the home team. The New Jersey Revolution had to be the visiting team in Trenton, NJ. Go figure. The visiting teams locker room was noticeably smaller than the home teams locker room.

The Rev It Up Girls came down for the game to cheer on the team. They did most of the cheering in the loading section behind the end zone and one show close to the end of the 4the game. They did not have much of a spot for them as they booked dance troupes and clubs, kids games and races, and other activities designed to entertain the crowd and kids. They made it very fan friendly with giveaways to help push the new Trenton Thunder. Would have been nice if they were given more time rather than one 90 second spot and some flips to cheer on the Revs.

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They had Trenton Steel merchandise and players already signed and there to sign autographs. Was a great time to push the new AIFA team. Getting fans there to see the product for the first time and getting a first look at their new home team. There was a small issue before the game though. A couple of individuals who volunteer their time at the NJ Revolution’s home games came down to work the chains and 1st down markers. They wore their NJ Revs shirts. The facility people told them if they were going to do the chains they had to wear Trenton Steel shirts. They refused so they were then told they could not work and had to buy tickets. They ended up helping the team on the bench instead. At least they contributed to the team instead of sitting there. I understand they want to push the Steel, but they were still representing NJ.

After the pregame warm ups and singing of the National Anthem, the game was underway. It seemed between many plays they did competitions with the kids in the crowd. Skipping races, hula hoop contests, races, and other contests designed to give away AIFA footballs and Trenton Steel merchandise. Every time a ball landed in the crowd the fan could keep the ball. It was competitive in the beginning and the score stayed close. But before the half the Stampede opened up a 25 point lead. I have seen the Revs play some damn good ball, just need to focus more, step it up, and follow through. Coach Al and the coaches have a lot of faith in their players and know they can get the job done. Unfortunately, today the Stampede just made the better plays.

During the game we took shots from the players bench, the press box with no air conditioning, and from behind the end zone. Easier to move Around Mennen arena that the Sun Bank Center. A second cameraman, if I could find out at last minute, would have helped greatly. It sometimes hurts having the one camera and not getting enough angles. At intermission we walked around the arena and would to find out what draws fans to indoor football. What they get from their experiences at the games. In the second half the Stampede kept the lead and did not look back. Key interceptions, pass protection, and blocking helped Harrisburg maintain a healthy lead. The Revolution had the tools but did not utilize them. They did not bring all their heart into the second half.

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The Stampede ran off with the game and a 96-44 victory. Many on the Revolution felt there was no need to run up the score. The Stampede did not care and just took advantage of every opportunity. Almost like they wanted to run the score up but that is just my point of view. Instead of running the ball the focused on deep passing towards the end of the game. More heated words between teams than usual. Lot of challenges between players and I think maybe a coach as well. The Revs thought they were getting the short end of the stick since the day began. But at the end of the game everyone shook hands and the fans came onto the field for autographs. The players signed footballs, shirts, posters, and anything the kids gave them. Everyone had fun and went away happy, that is the more important thing to remember. It was fun and entertaining for the whole family.

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I am sure many of the fans there were parents of the kids that performed during half time, some were from Trenton checking the action out for the first time. All in all they would consider it a success. But like in most leagues, there is the business behind the entertainment. Turns out, the turf that was used is the turf the Revolution play on in Mennen Arena. Rob Tester paid to bring it down. Apparently it is owned by the new Massachusetts expansion team. They say they have the receipt to prove it. Also, the NJ owner Rob Tester says he can show proof of owning. I also heard it was taken by the former owner of the NJ team and never returned. Now Rob finds out it will be kept in Trenton for the Steel. I know, it can boggle your mind. The Revolution now may have no turf to practice on for the rest of the season. Two games left in the season so who knows what they are thinking now.

It seems there is are a lot of conversations with promises between teams but made to benefit certain teams and people. New jersey may not have the fund as other teams but they should still be treated fairly. It is not cheap to run a minor league team and Rob Tester is doing what he with with what he has. But there are two sides to every story and I will never know all the details from all sides. Everyone was pleasant to talk to and helpful. But I felt the same way in the wrestling industry. Everyone is nice and willing to help, but when it comes to business it is all about who benefits the few. Those in certain circles with certain power always rise to the top while others flounder underneath. Everyone is out for the same thing and it is survival of the fittest, or the shrewdest. But the businessman will always find a way to win out and make a profit.

Arena football does offer some hard hitting, high scoring football action. It is something worth checking out as the price is hard to beat. For some, it could be cheaper than going to the movies. There are so many leagues around the country it is amazing how many different teams there are. The AIFA, IFL, AFL, NIFA, CIFA, and many more. Many franchises are it cities that have no NFL franchise. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

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