2010 NWBP reunion will be at Westy's Aug 7, 6.30 PM.
On Sunday, October 19, 2008, City of Hollywood Marine Safety Lieutenant Michael "Michael Mac" McManus and Assistant Captain Joe Taylor volunteered to provide ocean safety protection and surfing instruction for Broward County's Surfers with Autism Program. I've attached the photo. Michael Mac is on the right hand side. I'm center right with the sunglasses. Joe had to attend to other business when the photo was taken. Michael Mac arrived at the beach at 8:20 AM on his day off (after a Saturday night!) to bring a trailer full of boards down for the kids. Those of us who really look forward to our night before our day off know this is no easy task! After a quick safety orientation by Joe, the kids hit the ocean. Surf conditions were really big by Florida standards. Waves were beyond overhead high. The wind blew NE at 15 to 20 mph and got quite rough. Michael Mac took to the ocean and helped the kids paddle out and gave them a push in for 2 straight hours. There were numerous gully snatches. He was brilliant! Truely in the zone! What a workout! Of course the kids loved Mike and Joe!
Mike Coogan reports that Paul Westhead who was a NWBP guard from 1957-1965, is the head basketball coach of the WNBA Phoenix Mercury. They just won the WNBA championship for 2007. Paul also was the head coach for the LA Lakers in 1980 when they beat the 76er's for the the NBA championship. This makes him the only coach to have won both men's and women's championships. He played his college ball at St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia.
Another NWBP connection reported by Tom Palmer: Mike D'Antoni the Phoenix Suns coach who was a Marshall University graduate contacted Richie Phillips ( NWBP Lt.), a Philadelphia sports attorney, to help him negotiate a contract with the ABA team Kansas City-Omaha. So NWBP has connections to both the Phoenix teams.
Happy 71st Birthday to Doug Leaman--the Captain of the Abberdash. The Abberdash was a private society of guards who were not in the "tent crew".
A Time Remembered
The Summer of ‘56
It was mid-May of 1956-showtime for future lifeguards who gathered at the water’s edge in North Wildwood, for that long swim and rescue mission to earn their “rite of passage” for a place in the sun.
The newcomers were composed of high school seniors, college jocks, several intellectuals and Korean War Vets on the G. I. Bill.
The mayor would swear in those 12 or 15 candidates, who passed the tests, as deputy cops, and join the thirty-some veteran lifeguards returning before and after Memorial Day.
Life guarding during the late Fifties was no cinch. We earned every bit of the $55 a week: working out in the mornings like Marines in boot camp, watching the water like hawks-especially on weekends-when there were bodies galore, dashing into the gullies many, many times to rescue tots because of rip tides and hurdling through the, with our torpedoes lassoed over our shoulders, when the cry for help sounded in the deep.
Once you’ve become a lifeguard at the Jersey Shore, all those daytime and nighttime adventure stories haunt you up until the day you die.
There’s something about the sun, sea, and sand that transforms ordinary young men into blond, bronze, muscular superstars during the summer months at the shore.
And on any given night, there’s always a beach party at a secluded spot with a roaring fire, beer cans to pop, rock and roll on the radio and giggling girls searching for romance.
During my college years, summers at the shore were a godsend. Being a guard on one block of Wildwood’s smooth sand and calm ocean opened up the doors for responsibility, leadership, maturity and even heroism.
It was as close as a young man could get to playing out a movie star’s role in the action packed adventures of saving lives, sweet-talking to chick, patrolling the beach for horseplay and sitting on the lifeguard stand like a modern utopian god.
And when the 5 o’clock off-duty whistles sounded from North Wildwood to Wildwood Crest, nightlife preparations were underway for that cast of thousands who would soon be participating in the historic versions of “WILDWOOD DAYS”, twilight jam sessions, walking the boardwalk, bar-hopping and rock and roll in the nightclubs; and the friendly persuasion for romance until the wee hours of the morn.
However, out of all my four seasons on the beach patrol, the summer of ‘56(50 years ago this May) was the greatest eye opener.
I learned the ins and outs of lifeguarding by a “few good men”; the art of sweet-talking and romance from gifted ladies’ men; the acquired taste and consumption of cheap beer (3 quarts for a dollar) prior to a night on the town; the awesome stick-to-itiveness it took to hang in there during early morning workouts with a hangover; those few rest and relaxation nights reading CATCHER IN THE RYE, THE GREAT GATSBY, LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL, and THE SEVEN STORY MOUTNAIN; the sales pitch required to earn a few bucks by selling tickets to the Lifeguard’s Ball; and those nightly practice sessions and games required to keep in top notch shape upon receiving a college basketball scholarship.
Times were different then. It took us a longer time to grow up. But when we hit the lifeguard scene, everything happened in a few short months.
The majority of lifeguards could handle the “summer wildness” and went on to make their mark in the world. Others “straddled the fence” and wasted several years before settling down to live the good life.
But the few became victims of “loose living” and made a mess out of their lives.
Those were the days and we were the guars who lived on the precipice of martyrdom. Everyday we gave our lives for a cause. Every night we entertained damsels in distress and every time we shot a basket, drank a beer or swam a mile; it was all for the glory and grandeur of dear old Wildwood.
by Doug Leaman - Doug is planning a reunion of all guards at Westy's Pub in North Wildwood on July 6th starting at five pm.
Newest Members of the N.W.B.P.
Former N.W.B.P Member Rob Haynie, and his wife Lauren, gave birth to Twin Girls (Skylar Lynne and Brooke Ryan) on February 17, 2006.
1905 Torn Down
Tom Palmer would like everyone to know: "On Tuesday this week (January 11, 2005), 1905 New York Ave was bulldozed to the ground in the name of progress. 1905 was an apt building owned by "Raz" D'Amico our beach director. So many of the alumni guards lived in the building and so many great memories of parties and fun were associated with that place. I believe it was the one house in town where you didn't even have to say the street name just "1905" and everyone knew where you meant."
Once a Lifeguard Always a Lifeguard
A story from Mike and Amy Kane: "Just wanted to pass along a little story from vacation: 2nd day we had just sat down on the beach around 10:00, Mike goes in the water right away as always, it was warm but really bad riptides and killer waves! He dried off, sat down and said he wondered how many people drown here each year! I was just watching the waves when I spotted 2 people out there pretty far and getting pulled north. Watched them for a few minutes and then heard them yelling for help! Saw one of them kept going under, showed Mike and told him and our friends 2 sons (both swimmers) that they needed to go help them.
They went in and had a rough time trying to get the father and son (14) Mike couldn't get all the way out to them, but the boys we were with got out a little farther, got the dad to Mike and they finally got them in. I had called 911 (no lifeguards!) When they were pulling the Dad out I really thought he was dead. They were both so exhausted from fighting, Mike said they were the closest to being dead he has ever seen in his 8 1/2 years of guarding! We got them onto the beach, it took EMS 15 min to get there! The Dad was hurling sea water by the bucketfuls! The son was going into shock, never saw anyone so pale that wasn't already dead! They took them to the nearest hospital (1hr)@Nagg's Head, and kept them for about 8 hours.
Thank God they are ok, came by all the rest of the week to introduce us to family and thank us over & over! The Dad said he knew nobody else had seen them and that he knew he was going to die! He said it was very peaceful!!! I still get goose bumps every time we talk about it! But Mike, Pat & Bryan really did save their lives, very exciting stuff! Just goes to show, you can take the Guard off the stand but you can't take the stand out of the guard! So I have my very own Hero here!
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