TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Dec. 3, 2006 — A pint for Jim

After the 22nd Annual Central Jersey Field Hockey Coaches’ Association banquet, a ritual took place.

Whether the event was at Angeloni’s Cedar Gardens in Hamilton; the Hyatt Regency in Princeton; Good Time Charlie’s in Franklin; or this year’s venue, Mercer Oaks at West Windsor; a small group of people has gotten together for a round of drinks after the festivities.

The alcohol is much less important than what the gathering symbolizes. For years, the core group consisted of Jim Davis, the field hockey beat writer for The Trentonian; Joyce Jones, the head coach at Princeton (N.J.); Barb Major, the head coach at Lawrence Notre Dame (N.J.); and Missy Bruvik, head coach at Princeton Stuart Country Day School (N.J.).

An open invitation was extended to the guest speaker, and some of the most free-ranging — and off-the-record — conversations would take place in the bar after the banquet. Opinions flowed freely and you really got to know the coaches and what made them tick. You also saw how their approach to the game changed over time. I eventually joined up with the group in the mid-1990s as the beat writer for The Trenton Times.

Notes were compared; Jones and Major are the deans of Mercer County field hockey coaching, two of the “Three Amigos” who helped write the history of the sport in the capital region from the 1970s onward. Davis knew Jones, Major, and third Amigo Barb Skiba (the head coach at Pennington Hopewell Valley Central) better than I’ll ever know them. And Bruvik played for Jones at Princeton before authoring a remarkable history at Stuart, one in which she has gotten more out of less than any coach in the United States.

Well, this year was one of the first times that much of that core group returned for a post-banquet round since Jim Davis’ death in 2004. And also joining us were a pair of relatively new faces on the county’s coaching scene: Julie Reisig of Hightstown (N.J.) and Judy Goldstein of Robbinsville (N.J.).

Reisig is a coach who has delved deep into the history of the Rams’ program even while creating new history. She has gotten to know alumnae, knows the school’s field hockey recordholders, and keeps in touch with former coaches.

Goldstein was the head coach at Point Pleasant Boro (N.J.) for two decades and once had a right wing named Christie Pearce. Now Christie Rampone, she is the starting right back for the U.S. women’s national soccer team, having amassed impressive credentials including a World Cup championship and an Olympic gold medal.

You might wonder what we talked about. Did I mention that our post-banquet conversations were off the record? Still are. Even in the blogosphere.

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