By JESSICA HARDING
RED BANK — Men and women of all ages and athletic abilities came out the day after Thanksgiving to play for charity when the White Road Cup’s 15th anniversary game was held at the Count Basie turf field.
Residents of Shrewsbury and Little Silver competed in flag football games, which ran from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Nov. 25. Included were a children’s game for fifth and sixth graders, a senior game for men over 40 and a Powderpuff game for women 18 years and older.
Brothers Rick and Rob Brandt, also known as the Brandt Brothers, are responsible for the expansion of the White Road Cup. Rick explained how he has been contributing since 2002.
“So, in 2002 I was in seventh grade. Shrewsbury and Little Silver always had a rivalry. However, when we all got to high school, we had to be on the same sports teams as some of our rivals because we shared high schools. Then, as we started to become closer friends with some of them, we thought it would be fun to take a trip back to that rivalry. That is why we now have the White Road Cup.”
The name of the event came about because the game used to be played on White Road, which is the border of the two towns.
The event has come a long way in just 15 years. Men in their late teens and early 20s would get together to play a football game every year, and now it has expanded tremendously.
When Lunch Break, an organization that serves as a food pantry became involved six years ago, the location was moved to Red Bank, where the organization is based.
Today, men and women of all ages are invited to attend and play flag football, and more of the community is involved. The teams used to wear plain T-shirts, but now players have jerseys with their last names on the back (green for Shrewsbury, blue for Little Silver).
Upon entering the field, spectators were invited to purchase raffles, bid for novelties from the NFL, purchase snacks or donate food items, with all proceeds being donated to Lunch Break.
Declan and Lucie Brett, the two young children running the hot chocolate/snack stand, were helping to raise money for the organization.
“One year we did a lemonade stand,” Lucie said. “This year, we decided to do hot chocolate. We set up and offer drinks and snacks to people.”
Christopher Brett, father of the two children and a trustee for Lunch Break, was extremely proud of his children.
“Lucie even created the poster herself,” he said. “She gave it the 3-D effect by adding cutouts of pumpkin bread and hot chocolate.”
Other food vendors included Jimmy John’s, which just opened in Red Bank, and Sickles Market, located in Little Silver.
Along with the football games, spectators played games, such as Corn Hole and Kanjam.
One of the more popular football games of the day seemed to be the Powderpuff one, where women 18 years and over participated.
Little Silver Powderpuff Captain Jennifer Borenius spearheaded the idea for a Powderpuff game. She made a few phone calls and got her girlfriends together.
“My husband and son were asked if they wanted to play, and I asked, ‘What about me?'” she said. “That’s when I decided that I should get some girls together to play too.”
Shrewsbury Powderpuff Captain Kimberly Gittines organized the girls on her team after speaking with Borenius. Finally, they had enough women to play.
Shrewsbury team player, Mary Glauber, was anxious to play on her Powderpuff team.
“My son and husband are both playing today. I am excited to be part of something meaningful and fun, yet I am kind of nervous about my ability,” she said.
Proceeds to benefit Lunch Break totaled $10,000 at the end of the day.
The White Road Cup ultimately went to Little Silver after much effort by all teams. The record is now 11-4, with Shrewsbury in the lead.
Join these two towns next year to find out who will take the cup in 2017.