June 13, 2007

Father's day tribute to Tony Galante

Guest Sports Columnist

Editor's Note: June is always a big month for the senior athletes at area high schools. There is graduation and the end of their scholastic careers - plus Father's Day. During previous Junes, Tom Williams, to celebrate the day, has turned over his column to Stephanie Gaitley, Matt Woolley, Jeff Boyd, Allison Rinck, Tracey LeFever, Shaune McLaughlin, Erik Geisinger, the Degenhardt sisters and Doug Colman, among others, to write about their fathers.
This week, College of New Jersey senior Joey Galante - one of the top wrestlers in Ocean City High School history, who finished 2nd in the recent NCAA Tournament - writes about his father, Tony, who coached football and wrestling at OCHS and was a successful athlete himself for the Raiders.

As we live each day people influence our lives and help shape the direction in which we are headed. We take a piece of each of those people along with us. My father, Tony Galante, always left me with a little bit extra to take along.

He is a man that exemplifies what we want to be and lives his life practicing what he preaches. My pop is a man of great determination and passion in every avenue of life.

This Father's Day I would like to recognize my father as a leader of men and mankind. He is a teacher and colleague who instills energy in those that surround him. He is a father dedicated to his family and never fails to give back to the community in every capacity. If you wanted to know who was still helping move the Ocean City wrestling mats after school, it's my pop. He pushes himself through a rigorous summer work schedule in order to watch my brother and me wrestle throughout the winter. What more could you ask for in a dad that everyone looks up to from all walks of life?

The level of respect he has gained from those around him is unparalleled and evident through the way each person treats him. He is one who always puts his personal agenda aside for what matters to him most - his family. My pop has also been the epitome of support over the years, encouraging us in school and sports. He has always stressed, "Get what you deserve," which meant if you are going to work towards a goal you'll get out of it what you put in.

Since I was young, my pop has set forth numerous opportunities that he thought would help my brother, Michael, and me succeed in life. We chose to dedicate ourselves to the sport of wrestling, as well as our education. As our commitment grew, my father was able to teach us many things about ourselves through this great sport. He led us to opportunities such as competing all over the country at young ages, traveling to Slovakia to learn and compete, living at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs for a week and, of course, driving to Renegades wrestling practice two hours each way for five years. Throughout our lives he has stressed dedication, hard work, focus, sacrifice and sportsmanship, not only as a coach but as a father. Seeing his dedication and sacrifices to help us reach our goals and dreams means the world to me.

His reality is to do the right things, not just dream about them. No matter what the sacrifice, he never hesitates to achieve his ultimate goal. He excels as an understanding father, loving husband, energizing teacher, motivating coach and savvy businessman. As wrestlers, Michael and I needed guidance and encouragement from each of these qualities that my pop maintains. He goes about his business and sets a quiet example - a great example - that is sometimes un-rewarded. Every day he supports and provides for our family, he looks out for us long before himself. He is the true image of a father on Father's Day.

The basis for his greatness can only stem from his roots. My two grandfathers - Dick Galante and Joseph DiOrio - are men that guided my father into the man that he is today. As the son and grandson of such great men, I find it very challenging to live up to the Galante-DiOrio standard, which exemplifies what we as society want to be.

There are good dads and bad dads. I got all the good. My pop sets the example and then lives by it, never giving in to his own strict standards. Because of him I'm prepared for life and I'll know what to do when I am a dad. Pop you are a great man  one I try to emulate everyday. I am very proud to be your son and I wish you a Happy Father's Day. I love you.

Read more of Tom Williams' columns