June 22, 2005
Jim, Phil & the Class of 2005 move on
By TOM WILLIAMS
At graduation ceremonies last week, thousands of onlookers were introduced to the Class of 2005. They
might also be called the Class of 9/11.
These kids were just a few days into their freshmen year when the attacks on America happened in 2001.
It changed the way they lived, the way they looked at the world – even the way their school was operated.
Security has become something that is second nature to them. They’ve learned they need to have
identification almost every place they go. And some of them might even be worried about the return of the
military draft, as a controversial war wages on in Iraq.
But, through it all, they have emerged as pretty typical American kids. And that is great. Because, if the
attacks nearly four years ago had changed the basic nature of our young people, the toll on this country
would have been even worse.
There are many talented individuals, in sports and elsewhere, who accepted diplomas last week. But lets
deal with two, in particular.
Jim Crowley was a three-sport athlete and Phil Schaffer a star in two sports. Both were named first team,
all-conference in two sports. On the surface, they couldn’t seem more different.
Crowley has a surfer look with a friendly smile that was pretty much there, no matter the situation.
Schaffer is a bundle of intensity, friendly enough but with a determined look in his eyes that never seemed
to go away.
“The greatest thing about Phil was his work ethic,” said OCHS boys soccer coach Mike Pellegrino. “He
never took a day off, whether it was practice or a game. And, because of his effort, he elevated everybody
“Jim is a fine young man, “said OCHS football coach Gary Degenhardt. “He is the kind of kid you like to be
associated with. He rarely came off the field and he led in his own way, by the way he played. He played
every play like he would never play again.”
Both were all stars in the fall but, in the winter, Schaffer was the driving force behind the basketball team
and Crowley generally watched from the bench.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever had a better practice player than Jimmy,” said OCHS basketball coach John Bruno.
“He was an extremely coachable kid who would do whatever it took to win. He always emphasized the role
of team player.
“Phil had a will to win unlike anybody I’ve ever coached,” said Bruno. “He just refused to lose, and he
proved it in a number of games this year. He led by example.”
In the spring, Crowley generally competed in four track events – the javelin, long jump, high jump and 110
hurdles. He was the best in the Cape-Atlantic League in the javelin and frequently won meets in the other
events. And he also convinced his friend, Dave Beyel, who became a successful thrower, to join the track
“He was a true leader,” said OCHS boys track coach Chris Armstrong. “Jimmy was always positive,
always encouraging. Despite all of his commitments at a track meet, he found a way to be at the finish
line to cheer on his teammates. It will be tough to replace him.”
Will Kleva, Allie Moreland, Rich Baker, Laura O’Shea, Paul Boardman, Krista Bordogna, Mike Long,
Kaitlin DuRoss – they are also among the graduates who left their marks on Ocean City High School and
sports in the CAL.
They all struggled with the limitations of an old building for three years. Then, after also weathering the
complications of construction across the street, finally got to break in a brand new school.
Jim, Phil and the Class of 2005 led the way. They faced a new world when they were freshmen and a new
school as seniors. But they maintained their focus and showed those who followed how to deal with the
Waiting in the wings are talented juniors like Beyel, Mike Hinsley, Brittany Sedberry, Graham Ginn, Renee
Tomlin, Pat Tolomeo, George Coccodrilli, Melissa and Rachel Hunter, John Oberg, Matt Cowhey, Julie
Treen, Ryan Skellenger and Jordan Torroni, among others, ready to assume the leadership positions.
High school is supposed to be about preparing for life. Like so many of their classmates, Jim Crowley and
Phil Schaffer definitely seem prepared.
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