As I look back on the football team’s trip to New Jersey to play Bergen Catholic I hope the players and coaches got as much out of the trip as I know my basketball players do when we have taken similar trips. Although the game score didn’t turn out as we had hoped the experience of traveling together, seeing New York City, and playing against a top quality opponent is immeasurable. This was the first airplane flight for several of our players and the first time some of them had ever been to New Jersey or New York. Bergen Catholic was a great host. After the flight on Thursday, lunch catered by Bergen, and checking into the Marriott, the team boarded buses provided by Bergen to head to the Liberty Marina in Jersey City to board a boat for a dinner cruise. I have to tell you that the cruise was unbelievable. The Manhattan skyline at night is truly amazing. The cruise took us by the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, under the Brooklyn Bridge, and around Manhattan both on the Hudson River and the East River. I had been to NYC several times in the past, but had never experienced anything quite like the views that we had. The dinner also was very good and it was all complements of Bergen.
On Friday the team practiced in the morning, had another lunch provided by Bergen, and then returned late afternoon to the hotel for film study, team meetings, and preparation for the game on Saturday. Since the coaches were in charge of the team some of us were given a chance to go down to The City. We saw the World Trade Center and Memorial, Wall Street, the seaport area, Chinatown, Little Italy, Times Square, Madison Square Garden, the subway, and eventually the train back to New Jersey. New York City is an amazing place. If you have been there I’m sure you know what I’m talking about and if you have never been there put it on your bucket list.
The game on Saturday did not go as we had hoped and planned for as we lost 44-7. It was an afternoon game and the start of the 2nd half was delayed by lightning. We seemed to have brought the hot weather, 90+ degrees and the lightning with us. The team had pizza after the game, again provided by Bergen. Some of us, the principal, dean, asst. AD, and myself attended a very nice Bergen affair at a country club that evening bringing to an end their 60 year celebration of their school. The president of Bergen had some very nice words to say about Tampa Catholic and we were honored to be their guests.
As much as our student-athletes learn in the classroom and on campus, trips like these are great educational experiences and enhance what we offer here at TC. I’m sure it is something that they will remember for the rest of their lives. I publically want to thank Bergen for rolling out the red carpet for us. It’s great to know there are other Christian Brother schools that truly live what Edmund Rice taught. Perhaps someday we can do the same for them.
Next week I will be back to reporting on all of our teams, but I felt that since this was such an historic trip for TC, the first football team to play outside of Florida, it was worth devoting an entire blog to. GO TC!!