Photos and story by George Mazzeo |
RUMSON – Under the setting sun on the banks of the Navesink River, the cheers of excited parents and basketball fans can be heard emanating from Victory Park. The “D” League, for seventh-to 10th- grade Rumson and Fair Haven boys, is in full swing and the competition is heated. With slick passes, smooth shooting and some turnovers too, the boys hone their skills, learn the game and wow the fans.
The vision of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Bulldogs head basketball coach Chris Champeau, the league has been a staple on summer Friday nights in Rumson for several years. Champeau, who serves as league commissioner and game announcer, encourages the players, chides the referee and generally provides fun to the festivities with his commentary. “Shempy,” as Champeau is affectionately known, refers to Victory Park as “the most beautiful basketball venue in the United States.” It may be, with striking sunsets and moonlit skies providing a backdrop for arcing jump shots.
The teams, sponsored by local businesses, are coached by RFH high school varsity basketball players. All the kids who sign up get a chance to play and the third quarter is always the “futures quarter,” featuring the youngest players. The season ends Friday night Aug. 24.
This article was first published in the August 23-30, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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