2000-07-29 / Sports

SFDS SUMMER CLASSIC

Age Old Question...

Experience Vs. Youth?

By John Ronayne

During the years immediately following World War II, Americans
basked in postwar tranquility, thrived on Eisenhower-era prosperity, and reproduced in record numbers. The "Baby Boom Generation" was formulated between 1945-1960, and for a half-century their experiences mirrored the most seminal events and prominent trends of American life. In 1964, Beatlemania invaded America, and adolescent boomers squealed with delight. As the tumultuous 60s segued into the funky 70s, baby boomers protested Vietnam, embraced the counterculture, and applied the passions of young adulthood to pertinent issues of the day (presidential corruption, inflation, women's rights). The greed-driven 1980s created capitalistic thirty-somethings who drove BMWs, wore designer labels, and dined at trendy, overpriced eateries. Hungover from the excesses of the previous decade, the boomers braved the recession of the early 90s, found sobriety, shed their cynicism, and tended to their young families.

Despite their obvious influence and seeming self-satisfaction, the baby boomers have scrambled to recapture their carefree youth. Indeed, the nostalgia craze of recent years is directly attributable to the wistful longings of this aging generation. The return of bell-bottoms, Volkswagen Beetles, and archaic musical acts have all smacked of a boomer-driven recycling program.

Truth be told, we live in a youth obsessed culture. How else to explain the existence of the billion dollar wrinkle-cream, plastic surgery, and liposuction industries? Youth may be wasted on the young, but the once-proud boomers have feverishly dieted, exercised, and invested to
preserve their younger selves.
In the world of sports, this youth/age curve is observed on a significantly smaller scale. Today's young bucks are celebrated for their blazing speed, awesome strength, and remarkable endurance. Before long, these same athletes become tomorrow's grizzled veterans, revered for their seasoned wisdom, cerebral approach, and healthier understanding of the
team concept. In no sport is this dichotomy more prevalent than
basketball. While the physical superiority of young studs is essential
withstanding the game's rigorous demands, the been-there/done-that mentality of a veteran is equally important. In the face of such heated competition, a voice of reason can have a profound impact on a team's fortunes. Recent history suggests that teams featuring the proper
mixture of youth and experience are the most successful. This year's Lakers, the 1999 Spurs, and Michale Jordan's Bulls all benefited from a perfect blend of frisky thoroughbreds and mellow trotters.

Computing the median age of all four teams in this season's Summer Classic boldly illustrates this dynamic. With an average age of 27, prohibitive favorite Jameson's Pub relies heavily on the pyrotechnics
of 21 year-old megastar Ryan McCormick. However the soothing clubhouse demeanor of gentlemen Robby Ostrander (33) and Paul Peterson (29) promotes team harmony and serenity.

Averaging a mere 22 years, Martell's Grill is an undeniably athletic bunch. However, physical superiority splashed with naivete does not necessarily equate with winning. Ryan Whelan's savvy court presence notwithstanding, Martell's lacks a calming veteran presence in their
hyperkinetic locker room. At the opposite end of the spectrum rests Black Star, averaging a creaky 33 years. Their playing style resembles an instructional video where rotating defenses, ball control offenses, and a
socialistic approach toward shot distribution are prioritized. The long
season, however, proposes a significant challenge to their high-mileage
bodies and a championship seems unlikely.

The Irish Circle actually boasts a favorable hybrid of fresh-faced youngsters and accomplished veterans. Unfortunately, their clubhouse is only slightly less dysfunctional than the Surfside Manor during a medication famine. With the notable exception of the brawling Yankees of the late 1970s, combustible teams rarely become champions.

WEEK FOUR IN REVIEW…

Martell's Grill- 67; Black Star- 58.
Just one week removed from a harsh Jameson's spanking, "Team Backstreet" displayed impressive resolve in returning to the win column.
With All-World center Eugene "UNLV" Brennan still on the shelf, Martell's was buoyed by the return of bruising power forward Frank Wassenberg (17 points). Rising star Kevin Fitzgerald lent able support with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Showing no ill-effects from his raucous graduation party the week before, pointman Ryan Whelan orchestrated the Martell's attack with uncanny
precision. Once again, All-Star Mike Balfe paced Black Star with 16
points. Lumbering pivotman Jumbo Miller notched 13 hard-earned points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Brimming with confidence, Coach Cliff Shevlin is visibly stoked about next week's rematch with the winless Irish Circle. A lavish postgame party has already been scheduled at the Beautiful Palm Gardens. Lenny Levine, Puff Daddy, Jennifer & That Dress are among those rumored to attend.

Jameson's Pub-74; Irish Circle-65.
Oftentimes, Ryan McCormick seems like a caffeine-fueled rabbit darting through a helpless confection of thorazine-drenched octogenarians. Circle guard Brian McNellis drew the short straw and was assigned to shadow the lightning quick Adelphi product. McNellis mounted an admirable defense, "held" his man to 31 points, and fouled out with nearly 10
minutes to play. In actuality, that qualifies as "stopping" McCormick these days. Typically stellar, Greg Hearn contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds. With Jameson's tree Paul Peterson cultivating other interests, The Irish Circle smelled upset. Despite a pesky Marlboro issue
that has spanned 16 years, John Ronayne scampered his way to 30 points and significantly benefited from the revamped Circle offense. The selfless altruism displayed by McNellis, John Lydon, and Eric McManus (five assist apiece) created easy scoring opportunities and fostered team unity. However, a much-needed win proved elusive. What with the league having banned all
performance enhancing drugs, the overmatched Circle could not solve the McCormick riddle and plunged to an unseemly 0-4.

LEAGUE STANDINGS:

W L
Jameson's Pub 4 0
Martell's Grill 3 1
Black Star 1 3

New Irish Circle 0 4

SCORING LEADERS:

1) RMcCormick 27ppg
2) MBalfe 21ppg
3) GHearn 20ppg
4) PPeterson 19ppg
5) JRonayne 18ppg
6) RMcDonagh 14ppg
7) KFitzgerald 13ppg
8) RWhelan 13ppg
9) KMurphy 13ppg

RIM SHOTS…

  1. Armed with detailed directions and a truckload of Xanax, a slew of Rockawayites ventured from the sanctity of the peninsula to the far reaches of Manhattan to celebrate local high school teacher Ann Erhard's 30th birthday. No violence was reported but several overwhelmed revelers were overheard whimpering for their mommies...
  2. Not unlike Giants season tickets, Graybeard roster spots have become a precious commodity. Estate attorneys have been besieged with requests to bequeath these cherished spots to the families of the deceased.
  3. Fun-loving locals Justin O'Donnell, Steven Smith, and Danny Questel have founded a wildly popular shuffleboard league in Dayton Towers. After catching the early bird special at The Beach Club, league members don their white belts, plaid pants, and expedite the aging process.
  4. Jameson's reserve Bert Friedman has chirped incessantly about his three point basket under my "...defensive watch." Sorry Bert! But scoring on me carries all the distinction of being counted among Madonna's bedfellows!
  5. Attorneys specializing in libel, slander, and defamation of character have rejoiced over the heralded return of brilliant satirist Brian Dickeshied.
  6. Congratulations to local athletic icons John Leahy and Grace Kelly on their July 22 wedding. Officials for the 2020 Olympics are already said to be reserving a slot for their unborn child.

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