Mirage Residents, High Schoolers Battle in ‘Fun Bowl’

By Eric Englund | Jan 15, 2020
Supplied Photo

Barnegat, NJ — When Superstorm Sandy severely damaged the St. Francis Community Center and its aquatic center in Brant Beach in 2012, competitive swimming teams had to look for another facility. The boys and girls swim teams at Barnegat High School were offered the use of the swimming pool at the Four Seasons at Mirage adult community in Barnegat Township. Out of that arrangement came the “fun bowl,” where the men’s water volleyball team played exhibition matches against the school swim teams in the Mirage clubhouse. This year’s event was held on Dec. 20.

“The idea of having them join us for an afternoon of fun and enjoyment in playing the game of volleyball has now become something special around the holiday season,” said former Mayor Frank Caputo, event co-coordinator. “When all was said and done, it showed how the young and old can learn from each other.”

Caputo said the games featured water volleyball teams playing each other and then having mixed teams with men’s group members and the students. Later, the students played several games against the Mirage teams.

“They (the high school) came prepared with a determined group of their 20 best junior and senior players, but much to their surprise, they ran up against some mighty tough Mirage players who still have some octane left in their aging fuel tanks,” said Caputo. “It was a bitter sweet afternoon as both groups displayed their best performance in seeking to be called “Champs.” One must never say youth doesn’t have the strength, ability; however, at the end the well-experienced, vintage team prevailed in what must be called nothing less than a great afternoon.”

He said the afternoon was completed with the group having pizza and refreshments and taking pictures around the Christmas tree.

“Every year, they bring fun and enjoyment to our group,” said Mirage player Bill Reichert, who at 6-foot-8 can be an imposing figure. “What’s most important is the camaraderie. We  all compete hard, but it’s mostly about having fun. These are very nice young people, and it is a pleasure to see them when they come through the door.”

Reichert, who helps coordinate the Fun Bowl, said that during the winter, the Mirage team plays three days a week.

“The games are a great way to keep in shape,” he said.

— Eric Englund


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