Editor’s Note: June is always a big month around high schools. There is graduation and the end of the scholastic careers for seniors, plus Father’s Day, which is Sunday.
During previous Junes, Tom Williams has turned over his column to Stephanie Gaitley, Matt Woolley, Jeff Boyd, Allison Rinck, Erik Geisinger, Doug Colman, Allie Moreland, Tracey LeFever, the Degenhardt sisters, Chelsea Bruno, Danielle McNally, Dave & Casey Beyel, the Mensinger brothers, the Donahue sisters, the Impagliazzos, the Baruffis and Shaune McLaughlin, among others, to write about their fathers.
This week, two former Ocean City High School athletes – Bruce Beaver and Ashley Carman – write their feelings about their father, Bruce, a two-sport OCHS athlete, former youth baseball coach and dedicated fan.

A Father’s Day tribute to Bruce Beaver

By Bruce R. Beaver & Ashley Carman
Guest Sports Columnists

What can we say about our father that hasn't already be said to us at least a hundred times?

As children, no matter where we went, it was inevitable that we would hear “Hey Beav.” Then, we begrudgingly spent the next 15 minutes listening to a conversation about the local goings-on in the community, most likely pertaining to sports. Even now it seems every time we head back down to South Jersey, it's inevitable that we run into someone our dad knows: a childhood friend, a former player he coached or a grateful parent. After telling us some story and reminding us of his kindness, the conversation is always concluded with “make sure to tell your dad I said hi.”. We grew up with endless examples of the love our father has for his community. He tirelessly devoted himself to raising us to have a positive impact on others. He worked hard and gave selflessly. We are truly blessed to have his guiding force in our life.

We all have our trials and tribulations, but our hardships pale in comparison to what our father went through to give us the opportunities that he never had. He always showed his ability to have the patience and the will to take a hyperactive, rebellious boy and guide him with temperament, understanding and unyielding encouragement. That boy has grown to have a successful sales career in Brooklyn living life to the fullest with his beautiful wife Krista. We will also never forget him staying up many late nights to help his little girl who struggled with her homework. His endless encouragement led to seeing her make the Dean's List in college, earn her Master's degree in teaching, and pursue her passion to guide and educate children. Those children now extend to her raising her own three beautiful children. Our parents take every opportunity to visit them in Philly where she happily lives with her wonderful husband, Mike. The examples he set influenced us and gave us the desire to never settle for less than we deserve, to always be patient, fair, empathetic, and above all, to work hard and always believe in ourselves.

Our father got up every morning for work somewhere between 12:30 and 2:00 a.m., worked 10-12 hour days, then proceeded to complete roughly two hours of paperwork. Somehow our father never missed any of our events and activities. We are astonished when we look back and realize all that he sacrificed in his personal life so that we could always depend on him for his support. He never forced us to do anything, but we were always held accountable for our commitments. Our father was the king of sneaking in a nap whenever he had the opportunity (including in the middle of a Walt Tucker Super Bowl party). We are so glad he had that ability because if he didn't, we don't know if he ever would have been able to function. And believe us, we didn't make it easy on him!

Bruce Jr. (even though he’s not a Jr.: note to Joe Fenton) played every sport there was, sometimes for multiple teams of the same sport. Ashley loved to play sports also, not to mention dance class and zoo camp, and any manner of other activities. He was always there. Always! Knowing we had a dependable and trustworthy father, did not go unappreciated. It allowed us to take the strength of his presence and build strong character and self-esteem.

Imagine working a 12-hour day to come home and immediately drive two hours away to a wrestling match. Talk to any parent; it's torture! It's essentially a 12-hour day not including travel to watch your kid wrestle for maybe a total of 15 minutes, if you're lucky. Or the numerous camps that he sent us to for our own benefit both athletically and socially. Many mornings we can remember our father coming into one of our rooms only minutes after he got home from work to wake us up and get us ready to go to the next tournament or to the next camp or sometimes simply just down the street at the park to do a little bit of practice.

And while our father was constantly involved with us, he was never an authoritarian or over demanding; he never embarrassed us and he never ceased with his undying encouragement. He is a man that leads by example. He is a man of such tremendous empathy that he always looks through the world through our eyes. Whatever our passions may be, there was no sacrifice he was not willing to make to allow us to pursue them. We were never absent of his full support and encouragement. The voice we heard at every practice, every game, every tough homework assignment, is the same voice in our heads telling us to be positive, stay humble, and wholeheartedly strive for our dreams and goals.

One of the most inspiring aspects of our father is knowing not only the positive effect he had on us but the effect that he had on so many others. The positive influence on young kids in his years as a coach showed me you can be tough but compassionate, disciplined but fair. We have countless memories of seeing our father help the awkward kid, the kid who was being picked on, or the kid who just needed a ride because his parents forgot to pick him up. We also remember all the free time he gladly gave to any number of scholastic activities in the Ocean City/Upper Township Community. We both learned a sense of community and the importance of giving back.

Now, whenever we see someone who needs some support or encouragement, it's with the compassion and humility he instilled in us that we make sure the need never goes unanswered.

Our father is always quick with encouragement when we fail, but humble and proud when we triumph. He along with our Mom, his wife Gail, are the reason we are so proud of having loving families, and fulfilling careers.

There are not enough words for us to express what our father means to us. If there were, his beloved boxer Bucca would probably be the one to come up with them, but since he can't talk we will give it a try.

“The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not for himself, but for his family” - Reed Markham.

That is our dad!

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