Nick at Mid-Afternoon

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    Nick Cammarota, a senior at Central, has been a friend of the site's for several years and now he's ready to write! (smile)
    His uncle, Paul Cammarota, is a veteran Pub FB assistant at several schools. We wish Nick the best and we expect you'll give him your support.
    Nick may be reached at pfesfan@comcast.net.

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Nick was asked to be the main speaker at Central's football banquet. Here's what he
had to say . . .

FEB. 27
Central High School: Varsity Football Banquet 2004-2005

Good evening, players, coaches, managers, administrators, family, and friends . . .

   I can’t even begin to tell you what an honor it is to be speaking in front of you today.  When Mrs. Styles asked me to speak on the events of our season, it was one of the greatest feelings in the world… When she said it’d be great if I would roast the players… not so much.   You see, I’m not that good at comedy, so I’m not sure that I’ll be that funny, but it’s always worth a shot… right?  Oh, just one silly little thing that will relate to something later in my speech… I wrote most of these notes on the clipboard that I used to keep stats on all year.  It’s always nice to have props in a speech!  Okay, so on to the roasting.

   I really wasn’t sure who to roast first since there are so many good players on the team, it’s really hard to make fun of them because of their talent.  Then I though that every team starts with the quarterback, and then I remembered mentioning something about good… so I think we’ll start with Rodney.  No, no, just kidding…  on both accounts.   Joe had a really incredible year.  I remember sitting in front of him in Spanish last year, and he always did well on his tests.  But one Friday, he wrote only one word in for every answer in the voacb section: interceptación.   When Mrs. Ginsberg asked what he was doing, he said “preparing for game day!”

   Okay, so maybe Joe threw a few interceptions, but those numbers are nothing compared to the high numbers he recorded in fumbling the football.  I actually think he tried out for the basketball team, made all of his shots, ruled the boards, had around 11 dimes a practice, but he was cut.  When I talked to Harp & asked him why… he simply said turnovers.  I guess one sports skills really do carry over to the other.

   Alright, I guess that’s enough of picking on Jo-Jo for now.  When looking back on the season, Rodney had an amazing year as well.

Rodney:

   Here we are back at that “good players” thing again… but really Rodney had it all together, and was Joe’s favorite target throughout the season.  There was only thing I noticed that was a little sketchy… he always had that cool looking helmet visor on.  The only problem was that the damn company made it so you couldn’t see anything through it.  I guess that is a good explanation for why he dropped so many balls.  I just would have taken the visor off myself… but that’s me.

This is going kind of well… I thought I would be way too silly and not get any laughs or anything, but then I realized nothing could be as silly as what our team looks like.   Anyway, I think it’s Dev’s turn.

Dev:

   Dev is fast, and I mean real fast… But towards the end of the season you could tell he was losing some of his speed.  I remember one play where Coach called an end-around and Dev was penalized for a delay-of-game.   It’s okay though because he doesn’t only play HB, he’s played FB, QB, and maybe even wide receiver once, but my stat sheet constantly say he spends most of his time playing left-bench.  Don’t feel bad for Dev though, his favorite NFL team is the 49ers.  Okay, now you can feel bad for him.

Bunch:

   To tell you the truth I’m not even going to touch Bunch out of fear, mainly… Ah what the heck, maybe a little.  I guess it’s cool to hang out by the radiator after second period because it got him ready for getting burnt by every running back in the league.

Romeo:

   Brandon was one of the most underrated line-backers in the league.  I mean the guy can flat out play.  And when I say play, I meant on Play station… he always beats the other team in those games.  Alright, I’ll be honest that was probably the worst one yet… but I’m trying up here, I’m trying.  But I do remember when Rom got injured and his doctor was talking to Coach… he said “I don’t think he can play Frank…” At which point Coach Conway replied “I’ve known that for four years now!”

Jamil:

   Mr. Styles.  About as hard nosed and hard hitting as they come.  He had an amazing season, but I’m not sure if any of you knew his real passion: to be on stage crew, it stems from spending so much time in the auditorium… I’m going to leave it at that…

The good Ol’ O-Line (not even respectable enough to get broken down individually I guess…) no, I’m kidding I’m kidding.

   You have, Danny, Dave, Cornell, and Darryl… yep, that’s a real solid group of guys, and I’m definitely not forgetting anyone.  Our offensive line was so tight this year that even our own backs couldn’t get through it.  I think we’d have to recruit a 5’ 120 pound running back to play for us, because that’s about the size of the holes that open up.  Oh Rashid, he was the other one… right, must have forgotten.  He’s a giants fan anyway, so it’s okay to forget.

   One individual thing about the O-line… not so much a roast, but just extremely funny… when not one, but TWO punts this year were kicked off of Dave’s backside… hilarious.

  The D-Line, much of the same, Coach Jackson did an amazing job with both all year, but I kept hearing him call in a “doughnut” defense.  I’m not exactly sure why he used that term, but from what I’m thinking, must be because there’s always one huge hole in the middle.  But Randall, and Marc, and Marquis, and Eddy, and Greg all had great seasons.

   Speaking of Ed.  I remember going to middle school with him, and he always used to play the trumpet with me.  It’s just a shame that those skills didn’t transfer to the football field.

   And Marquis… well I feel I’ve already done enough making fun of him on the site… hurting your knee while celebrating is no way to get hurt, but it did give him more time to work on using his arms for filming CBN material. It’s just too bad that that’s even worse to watch than him getting hurt.

   Mr. Hicks, huge Eagles fan… okay in my book.

   Randall, always complaining about me missing stats… I missed a sack, or I missed a tackle.  But I never heard any of the other players tell me anything like that, so I’m going to have to say you didn’t finish the season with 1,240 sacks like you almost convinced me you had.

   And Marc, what would this team be without him... actually they might be able to be without him because James and Alex are Asian too, and everyone knows all Asians look the same.  Ouch… I think I’m getting meaner/more controversial as this thing goes on!

   Long snappers always have a tough job.  Ricky is no exception.  I know his major sport is baseball, and he was seriously contemplating whether or not to come back and play this year, but thankfully he did.  Every time we punted he delivered a great snap right to Joe.  There is one interesting fact about Ricky though. He wears number 87… and it turns out that is what he scored on his SAT’s.

   Our DB’s had a ton of interceptions this year, and I mean I ton.  We ended up leading the league in that category, which just goes to show how much work the coaches and players really put into defense.  It’s kind of easy to see why though, when you’re practicing with Joe taking every snap at QB… Ouch, I thought this was supposed to be a DB joke, but somehow we ended up back on Joe.  Nah, but it’s like the vowels with the DB’s you have Collin (with 2 l’s) Christian, Chris, James, Will, Ismael, and sometimes Rodney, who apparently likes to get all of his picks on the season in one game.

   I know Collin and Vamanos sometimes play on special teams as well.  I actually overheard Coach giving them some advice before one of the games.  He said: “special teams are key to this victory, so when we receive, try your very best to recover the fumble, and when we kick, you sure as hell better block that extra point.”

   Kyle was one of the most consistent fullbacks all year, I even heard him after a very long drive come up to coach and say “Hey, did you see me cross the goal-line on that last play?” Coach replied with “Yeah, but Kyle, it only counts as a touchdown when you have the ball in your hands.”

On to the Mike’s:

   Mike Small:

   I only need to quote one thing from my column: “All-Pub Holder.” If that’s not roast enough, I don’t know what is…

Mike Lloyd:

   I like the hair and all, but I wish that one of your carries measured longer than it.

Mike Wilson:

   They say football is a game of inches, and that is how you tend to move the ball.

Mike Thompson:

   I noticed during try-outs coach was looking at his skills.  Mike tackled everyone, blocked like a mad man, and sprinted like lightning (It’s a joke… I’m allowed to exaggerate), so coach decided to ask him if he could pass a ball… and Mike replied “If I can swallow it, I’ll surely be able to pass it.”

Mr. Marks:

   Most likely the smartest player on the team, gotten big quotes about Jewish holidays in the paper, etc.  I remember one run where he went the opposite way the play was supposed to go, and broke outside… he was in the clear but was eventually drug down from behind.  It was kind of disappointing actually.  But he was really, really out of breath.  When he got home, he didn’t even have enough left to blow up his date for the evening.

Vaughn… the Todd Pinkston of our team… ‘nuff said.

   Not sure if I should go here or not, I’ll keep it nice… KG

I remember one time after you missed an extra point in a game against Bartram, when you came back to the bench you were so mad, you went to kick yourself… and missed again.  But I guess it makes sense, with swimming and all, you’re more of a long distance guy, right?

And finally mostly because of time… or I’d sit here and roast all day) Coach Conway:

   I saw the cheerleaders playing around with their pom-poms before one game, tossing them up in the air and all that, and then one of them dropped it.  Then one of the fans in attendance shouted out “Hey, I guess you coach the cheerleaders too, eh?”  But no, Coach has been amazing all year but one day I came into his classroom and saw him playing the game film backwards, and I asked why he was doing that… he replied… “It’s the only way I can get us to gain yardage.”  In one of the pre-game interviews Coach talked about praying before the game, and then I heard a voice far off in the distance saying “Please, please, please don’t include me in this.”

(notes) Okay, I think that’s enough roasting for now… now the boring sentimental part of the speech.  I want to just first talk about my football history, and how I got to do exactly what I did this year.

8th Grade- Flag Football… Courtney Williams, Dom Curry.  QB/WR.

Came to Central, excited about team, clipped schedule, pro- players.  1st Game… 1st Thanksgiving game… Tape from Conway. Is he a scout?  How much I enjoyed watching freshman year.

That’s when I decided to do something… and I did as much as I could… I assembled the CHS Pep-Band.  Now I’ll be the 1st to admit, we needed some work in the early going (and still do) but it was my way of supporting the team and sport that I loved so much.

Pep-Band stories… (rain, etc.)

For the duration of that season, I had been talking to Ted Silary via e-mail… and continued that in Jr. year… Finally mustered up the courage to ask to write this year, and it has been the best choice of my life to date.  Not only did I get to walk the sideline with the players I envied, I got to keep stats for them, practice my journalism skills every week, and simply watch the sport I love.  I’ll never forget moments like… Hi-Fiving, laughing on the sideline, and most importantly, both games against Northeast.

   There is one major difference from what I was to the team this year, and what I was the other 3 years, and that is that I couldn’t be a fan (outwardly of course), because as part of the paper, and riding on the sideline, screaming my head off wouldn’t really be that appropriate.  But during that playoff game against NE, I decided to teach my dad the stat basics, and I played with the pep-band.  I played trumpet the 1st half… and drums the second.  As the game went into overtime, I was hitting the drums so hard I literarily had blisters for days.  It was great to be able to show my “fan-ship” again.  After that game was over, I felt horrible, for the next few days I did as well… and when I was on the field immediately after, I noticed how bad everyone was hurting… particularly Dev.  I’ll come back to that in just a second, but let me switch gears for a second.

   I was at Temple’s Liacouras Center on Friday night.  Not only did that night prove that 264 is one of the best athletic classes to ever walk the halls of dear old high, but it also provided me the opportunity to receive a medal for our Boys championship… the first since 1932.  And while I was standing on the court with Scott and Kenny and Dre, I realized what it was all about.  What winning was all about what losing was all about, and what a team was all about.  The dictionary defines team as: a group of people constituting one side in a contest, I define it as the Central Lancers.  And I think the best part about this season was being a part of that.   Sports are about life lessons, and this season was an important one. Even after the Lincoln loss, you came back, and won on thanksgiving… for yourselves, for your family, for your coaches, and for central high school.   You proved to everyone that you were a team to be remembered and that’s more than anyone could ask for.  If someone were to ask me if I had more fun covering Basketball since they won, or if they were a better team… the answer would most certainly be no (even though it was kind of fun getting a medal!)…

   So about Dev after the NE loss. I wrote him an e-mail explaining that bad things happen, and you’re not sure why, but they do.  I told him about one of my life changing experiences, and, if he doesn’t mind, I’d like to read a portion of the e-mail he sent back…

    "I just want to let you know that I really appreciate the e-mail you sent me about the game.   It really made me feel a whole lot better with those words coming from you.  I really respect you and value your opinion.  I've often felt like I've been taking a backseat to players like Joe, Bunch and Rodney and often times it was really frustrating not getting any respect as a player and a leader of the team.  But all season, you have always been in my corner and you have never had anything bad to say about my performance.  Every week I look forward to reading your game reports because I knew that even if I didn't have the best of games you would always mention me in the article one way or the other.  I owe a whole lot of the publicity and recognition that I have received this year to you and I want to thank you for it.  It was a joy to see you on the sideline with the team paying attention to every close detail of each game.

It was a tough loss on Friday and sometimes I still can't believe it’s over.  It’s like a bad dream that I haven't woke up from yet.  I felt like we let the whole school down at one point.  But your words have really uplifted my spirits and gave me a whole new outlook on the rest of the season.  At one point I felt like turning in my equipment and chalking up the rest of the season.  But you made me realize that it's more than me.  That’s why this Thanksgiving I will give it my all to make this game a memorable one for you and Central High, because we owe it to our loyal supporters all season.  I look forward to seeing you on the sidelines taking stats in our final two games.  You made the year enjoyable for all of the Central Lancers football team.  If I make it on the college level, there will be a complimentary ticket with your name on it.  Thanks for the kind words and a very, very fun season.

Sincerely Your Friend,
Dev #20

   This is why I did what I did this year… not for name recognition… not to say “yeah I put stats in the Daily News,” Not to get a college recommendation from Ted, or pad my resume, not to get a jersey (even though it was awesome).  I did this because I really care about the game, and the players, especially at Central, especially at a high school level.

   Remember what I said about props in the beginning… well I have some more.   I have here the ticket from this year's 20-6 win over Northeast.  I’ve been to a lot of huge sporting events in my lifetime (including Friday’s game)… The last Phillies game at the vet, the last Eagles game at the vet (the NFC championship loss to the Bucs), Mario Lemeiux's Last game (I know, its hockey, but still), and a bunch of others.  But none of those ticket stubs will mean more to me than the one I hold in my hand right now.

   Back to what I was saying about ninth grade, I remember Christmas that year.   Now you have to understand, I’m a stickler for sports collectables and memorabilia, and I was really into mini-helmets at the time, so I asked Santa for one of those, but it wasn’t the eagles or the 49ers, it was Central.  And I happen to have this with me now.  This helmet has sat on the shelf in my room for all four years of my high school career, and because I’m the superstitious person that I am, I kissed it every game day before I left for school (I did it for basketball too- all Central sports count I guess).  It really means a lot me, because it encompasses my love of sports with my love of Central.  I brought this here today because I want you (I guess that means Coach Conway) to have it.  I may have been sounding too sappy for the past five minutes, and if I am, I’m sorry, but I have been planning to give this to you all year, and I would be honored if you would accept it.

   In conclusion, I guess I want to thank everybody.  The players, the coaches, the parents (especially Mrs. Parillio for driving me everywhere, Mrs. Styles for inviting me here to speak in the first place, and Mrs. Johnson for sending me tons of awesome e-mails), the fans, the pep-band, Mr. Greco, and most especially Coach Conway, who (even though he cut me) let me make the team in the best way I could have ever imagined.  I’m pretty sure you have to all be pretty tired of hearing me talk by now, so I’ll end by saying Thank you to everyone, for making my senior year at Central one I will truly never forget.