Category Archives: Sports

Jeremy Dreyfuss, Clement Mubungirwa And Refugees

As countless hopeful refugees feel whipsawed by events that seem to change hourly, individual stories are providing human faces for a crisis that can seem far away and difficult to grasp.

Jeremy Dreyfuss knows one of those stories well. And he told it even before the current refugee crisis seized America’s imagination.

He’s a 2011 Staples grad. In high school he discovered a passion for film and TV production in the Media Lab. Instructors Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito encouraged creativity, and provided a welcoming space for free expression.

Jeremy Dreyfuss

Jeremy Dreyfuss

Jeremy went on to study film and TV at Boston University. Today he works at Business Insider in New York, helping lead a Facebook-based lifestyle publication for millennials. It’s fun, creative work.

But there’s another part of his resume that’s worth noting. “Seeking Refuge: The Story of Clement Mubungirwa” is a video that shows — simply and powerfully — the effect America has on refugees.

And the impact one refugee can have on America.

In his junior year at BU, Jeremy wanted to tell a multi-layered story. He’d always loved sports, so he searched for something more than just “an athlete doing something impressive.”

He stumbled on an article in a Louisiana paper about a boy from the Congo. Clement had escaped from brutal war, wound up in Baton Rouge, overcome adversity, found football and was propelled into a new life. About to begin his senior year of high school — with a possible college scholarship ahead — he suddenly was denied the chance to play. He’d repeated a grade because his reading level was low. Now — too old — he was ruled ineligible for sports.

Jeremy reached Clement by phone, and was taken by what he heard. The filmmaker flew to Baton Rouge. He met Clement, the family that took him in, and others. He returned one weekend in October, with his camera.

Clement Mubungira with the family that welcomed him into their Louisiana home.

Clement Mubungirwa with the James family, who welcomed him into their Louisiana home. Clement’s mother, Masika, is next to him in the front row.

“I thought the story would be about a kid from a war-torn nation who used sports to find a community,” Jeremy says. Clement was cheering for his team from the sidelines, and that’s what the filmmaker expected to focus on.

But it was Homecoming weekend. Clement had been nominated for king. That became the magic moment of Jeremy’s video.

“When Clement’s name was announced as the winner, the crowd erupted,” Jeremy says. “All the other candidates embraced him. It was a joyful moment.

Clement Mubungira is crowned Homecoming King.

Clement Mubungirwa is crowned Homecoming King.

“He’d been robbed of the opportunity to play his senior year, but he was not robbed of an amazing community. He’d found a home, and they were touched by his special character.”

While studying abroad in London that winter, Jeremy spent nights and weekends editing his film. He entered 5 festivals, winning first place in Oklahoma for documentary, and 2nd in a student contest in Los Angeles.

As for Clement: He enrolled in a school in Texas, but returned to Baton Rouge. He’s working now, trying to go back to college. Pro football is no longer an option. But, Jeremy says, the joy Clement found leading his team from the sidelines may spur a career in coaching.

Though Jeremy made his video before the current immigrant controversy, he believes its message resonates strongly today.

On one level it’s about “the transformative power of sports: making bridges and breaking language barriers,” he says.

But it’s also about how by embracing a refugee like Clement, the citizens of Baton Rouge helped him reach his potential — and grew in the process too.

Jeremy loves his job at Business Insider. But he hopes to keep exploring ways in which sports can unite people of diverse background, and open amazing new paths for refugees.

“There are a lot of stories like Clement’s out there,” Jeremy says. “It’s important for people to understand how great immigrants can make us all.”

Click here to view “Seeking Refuge: The Story of Clement Mubungirwa.”

(Hat tip: Jim Honeycutt)

Clement Mubungira

Clement Mubungirwa

Remembering “Wolfie”

Mike Connors — for 30 years one of Westport’s best-known bartenders, at the Black Duck, then at Bogey’s and most recently at Partner’s Cafe, both in Norwalk — died this morning.

Connors — universally called “Wolfie” — apparently suffered a heart attack.

mike-connors-2

It took a lot to take down Wolfie. He graduated from Staples High School in 1978, where he had a storied football career. He went on to play at Syracuse University, then returned home and served as an assistant coach at his alma mater.

Wolfie was the perfect bartender. He knew everyone, welcomed everyone, talked to everyone. Though he worked for the past couple of years one town over, and lived in Stratford, his big heart was always in Westport.

Details on services have not yet been announced.

Mike "Wolfie" Connors

Mike “Wolfie” Connors

Kyle Mendelson Drives Cross Country, For America

Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell say it. Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama say it too: In these polarized times, Americans should think not about what divides us, but what unites us.

Kyle Mendelson is actually doing something about it.

The 2010 Staples High School graduate is not a politician. He’s not a pundit, or a preacher. He’s just an ordinary guy, wanting to make a difference one day at a time.

Okay, maybe not so ordinary.

At Staples he was known for lacrosse. He played a year of D-I at Manhattan College, then transferred to Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. He studied political science and social urban policy, focusing on the social causes and psychology of urban gangs. Each summer, he worked as a Compo Beach lifeguard.

Kyle Mendelson and his family, during his Staples High School lacrosse days.

Kyle Mendelson and his family, during his Staples High School lacrosse days.

In 2014 Kyle moved to New York City. He got involved in education reform and after-school programs, through New York Cares and the New York Urban Debate League. He’s now completing a post-bacc year, researching education policy.

Recently, on a run, he heard an interview with Maya Angelou. Her words inspired him to “help, understand and fall in love with the humans who make up this country again.”

He’d already been thinking about ways to become more socially active — without being overly political.

“Ever since this past election cycle began, I think — regardless of political preference — there was a trend to abandon our humanity and citizenry, and separate ourselves into categories.

“It seems like our culture has decided to tick boxes on what applies to them — socioeconomic standing, gender, ethnicity, religion, level of education, etc.”

Kyle hopes to find a way to address Americans as humans, not “divided individuals.”

Which is why this May, he’ll drive across the country. His route will take him through many red states. Along the way — stopping in Phoenix, El Paso, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Montgomer, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, Baltimore and New York, ending in Bridgeport — he’ll meet with religious leaders, elected officials, non-profit executives and community organizers.

More importantly, Kyle will devote a full day in each city to volunteer work. That way, he says, he can “better understand and work, as an American, to help each community improve where it most needs.”

Kyle already has his route mapped out.

Kyle already has his route mapped out.

This won’t be his first cross country trip. In fact, driving across America is one of his passions.

He believes that seeing the nation by car allows each person to “truly understand the complexity of this country. It’s not often displayed in the media or pop culture,” which is dominated by urban hubs of social influence.

It’s one thing to see the broad expanse of America first hand. It’s another to “sit down, speak, meet and work with the human beings in each community to realize we’re all the same — just with different stories.”

He hopes to realize that “we all have our struggles, concerns and stresses. But we are all far more similar than dissimilar. And at the core of our division right now, we are all (for the most part) trying to do what is right and decent for us and our loved ones.”

Unfortunately, Kyle says, “we often forget that we’re part of something greater.” He hopes to help people realize that we can come together by “just loving, and helping one another through empathy.”

As he drives across the land, Kyle will carry some of Westport with him. Growing up here “110% shaped me into the person I am,” he says.

However, moving here from L.A. the summer before 7th grade was a shock. As his parents drove him around his new town, he looked for homeless people. He was shocked to realize he would not continue to see poverty.

As he got older, Kyle says, “I gained such an appreciation for the fact that I was from a place that was so highly educated and well read, and had a group of people who had powerful influence on the world around us.”

Seeing the economic and social dichotomy between Westport and Bridgeport sparked his interest in political science. Research in his major led him to education policy. Kyle says that “education is the all-powerful tool by which we can empower a community, and help it to reform from the inside out.”

Kyle Mendelson today.

Kyle Mendelson today.

Half of his cross country trip is selfless. The other half is “totally selfish.”

Personally, he hopes to “walk away with a renewed sense of patriotism and love for humans, who just want to love and be loved.”

He also wants to inspire each person he speaks or volunteers with to go and help others, talk to someone with a different background, or better understand that “our divisions don’t make us any less human.”

Even inspiring just one person to do that, he says, may create a ripple effect that “makes the world just a teeny tiny bit better.”

(Want to help Kyle Mendelson help others? He’s raising money for expenses; click here to help. Excess funds will be donated to organizations he partners with along the way. To suggest a community organization or leader for Kyle to partner with — or to join him for a leg — email BeKindDoGood.KTM@gmail.com)

Super Bowl’s Most Controversial Ad: The Westport Roots

On December 8, the script for a Super Bowl ad landed on John Noble’s desk.

The executive director for FIXER Partners — a 1981 Staples High School graduate — says, “It spoke to my core beliefs. That’s incredibly rare in advertising.”

He had just 7 weeks to help produce the spot. That would be a daunting challenge — let alone doing it over the holidays, knowing the audience would be yuuuuuge.

But Noble rose to the challenge. And the ad — for 84 Lumber — became one of the most talked-about in an already-crowded Super Bowl ad environment.

John Noble

John Noble

Fox deemed the ad — depicting a migrant mother and daughter’s long, treacherous journey to America (including a massive wall) too controversial to show.

So Noble and the company — a Pennsylvania-based supplier of building materials —  aired an edited 1:30 version. At the end, viewers were invited to “See the conclusion” at 84 Lumber’s website.

At the end of that 5:44 video, the words “The will to succeed is always welcome here” spoke to both the American spirit, and 84 Lumber’s desire to attract the best employees, wherever they are.

It’s already been viewed nearly 10 million times.

The moment the spot was shown Sunday night, Noble’s Facebook page blew up. Included were “some pretty negative right wing responses,” he tells “06880.”

Patiently, he posted that the spot was not about wide open borders, which “nobody wants.” Instead it’s about “good, honest, hard-working people.”

The big door at the end of the ad is “a visual metaphor for opening our country to those people. We want and need good moral people of all races, creeds and colors in this great country of ours.”

To Noble’s surprise, he engaged in “fairly positive and open dialogue” with some of the naysayers. “It felt good,” he adds.

Noble — whose father was a noted advertising executive — has been producing big commercials for many years. But this was the initial one for the company he recently launched, FIXER.

“It was a heck of a first project,” he laughs.

Building the wall, on the dusty Mexican set.

Building the wall, on the dusty Mexican set.

The University of Maryland and School of Visual Arts graduate cites Bedford Junior High School teachers Ed Hall, Sal Cassano and Barbara Candee as early influences.

“I wasn’t a particularly good student,” he notes. “In their own respective ways, each of those people coached or taught me that I would develop on my own schedule, and my own time. They were right.”

Noble’s mother recently celebrated a half century in the home she raised him in. Whenever he’s back east, working in New York, he stays here.

“Early evenings at the beach with a cold beer, chowing down an Art’s deli combo or a slice of Jordan’s garlic and onion pizza — life gets no better!” he says.

John Noble appreciates Westport — and America.

And he’s glad that he helped bring 84 Lumber’s message that this is the land of opportunity to a larger audience than even he imagined, 2 months ago.

(Hat tips: Ted Gangi, Brian Pettee, Chris Strausser, Russell Sherman and Suzanne Sherman Propp)

 

Remembering Jon Walker

Jon Walker died last week, of complications from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and frontotemporal degeneration, a rare brain disease. He was 46 years old.

Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jon was part of the very tight-knit Staples High School Class of 1988 — a group that’s remained loyal and true ever since graduation.

Jon was a 3-sport athlete, with a sly wit and tremendous “people skills.” I was fortunate to coach him in youth soccer, and was overwhelmed to see how many friends, teammates and admirers attended his memorial service on Sunday. 

Jem Sollinger was among those who delivered warm, eloquent eulogies. He said:

Westport in the 1970s was classic suburbia. On any given weekend the fields and courts at Coleytown, Long Lots, Rogers, Kowalsky, Gault and Bedford buzzed with activity. We competed in Little League baseball, rec and travel soccer, and YMCA basketball.

In a town filled with many outstanding adolescent athletes, it was Jonathan Walker who truly stood out.

His uncanny athleticism bordered on artistry. To watch Jon swing a baseball bat was an experience. It was effortless, and so smooth. He had unrivaled hand-eye coordination.

Jon was also a master strategist. He understood and executed gamesmanship before it was even part of athletic nomenclature. If his brother Sam was (and still is) the Luke Skywalker of “gamesmanship,” Jon was Obi Wan. He knew how to exploit others’ weaknesses, and maximize his strengths.

Jon was as clutch as they came. His heroics under pressure cooker atmospheres are still talked about with great admiration and awe.

Slotting the deciding penalty kick side panel in the U-16 state cup soccer quarterfinal against Wallingford; draining a fadeaway buzzer-beater for Staples basketball his senior year, or scoring the winning goal in sudden death overtime in the 1987 FCIAC soccer championship before 2,000 fans under the lights at Wilton High School — Jon was clutch. With the game on the line, he was your man.

Jon Walker (raised hand) celebrates with Staples High School teammates, after scoring an overtime goal to win the 1987 FCIAC championship.

Jon Walker (raised hand) celebrates with Staples High School teammates, after scoring an overtime goal to win the 1987 FCIAC championship.

He played 3 years of varsity basketball and 2 years of varsity soccer at Staples. Late winter of his senior year, sitting at lunch, Jon and Rob Capria got into heated banter about baseball. Rob was adamant that Jon did not have the ability to make the team — especially after 4 years away from the sport.

On a dare — having not picked up a bat or glove for that long — Jon went out for the team. Five games into the season, he was the starting 3rd baseman. He was a natural.

After high school Jon ventured to George Washington University for a year, before transferring. At Skidmore he played varsity basketball for 1 year, and varsity soccer his junior and senior years.

Coupled with his athleticism was Jon’s love of competition. This past October, we played 9 holes of golf at Longshore. His ALS limited his mobility to the point where it took him 45 seconds to tee up the ball at each hole. He had no ability to speak.

His longtime friend Andrew Udell — whose support and commitment to Jon over the past year has known no bounds — shot a 46. I shot a 57.

Jon shot a 43.

Last fall, Jon Walker was a popular presence at Staples High School soccer games. He'd lost the ability to speak, but he was embraced by the team, and responded with thumb's-up signs of encouragement. Here he is flanked by captains Josh Berman, Spencer Daniels and Daniel Reid.

Last fall, Jon Walker was a popular presence at Staples High School soccer games. He had lost the ability to speak, but he was embraced by the team, and responded with thumb’s-up signs of encouragement. Here he is flanked by captains Josh Berman, Spencer Daniels and Daniel Reid.

Jon held those closest to him to very high standards. The closer you were to him, the tougher he was on you. He loved his mother Sandra, his father Howard, and his brother Sam very much. But as the first-born he could push boundaries. He was tough on Sam and would sometimes lose his patience. It was Howard, who Jon resembled on so many levels, who often reeled him in. “Jonathan: You keep talking to Samuel that way, you won’t be sleeping under this roof tonight.”

Usually at this point Jon would say, “Lets go to your house and get a BSIT” — an acronym he made up for the “Best Sandwiches in Town.” Off we would go to 102 Bayberry, where we plowed through Gold’s cold cuts, and he would play with my parents’ dog Willy.

With a tight circle of friends — many of whom rarely shied away from the spotlight — Jon kept a lower profile. But he was always present. A quiet leader, he knew how to motivate and push buttons.

Jon was a dichotomy. In many ways he was very simple. He didn’t embrace the urban setting of DC his first year in college. But he flourished in the intimate community setting of Saratoga and Skidmore. He never had the desire to move to New York or any other city. He loved Fairfield County.

He didn’t like change. He worked for the same company for over 20 years. (He did leave for a brief stint as a trader. His New York commute lasted 3 weeks.) Jon could have thrived in that scene, but it wasn’t for him. He loved the simplicity of the suburbs, and playing basketball, soccer, and softball through his 40s.

As much of a “country boy” as he was, Jon’s street smarts were off the charts. When we were 16 Jon, George Llorens, Ryan Burke and I took a trip to New York to see a Knicks game.

As we exited the Garden, a hustler looking to capitalize on 4 sheltered suburbanites said, “I get you a cab.” Unbeknownst to us, this wasn’t a free service.

After hailing a taxi, the man looked at us and said “1 dollar each.” I handed him a dollar and got in the cab. George and Ryan did the same. Jon looked the guy in the eye, shook his hand and said, “Thank you very much.”

That was JW. He was street savvy, skeptical, and took great pride in not being manipulated or taken advantage of.

The 1986 Connecticut state soccer champion Westport Warriors team. Jon Walker is in the back row, 2nd from left.

The 1986 Connecticut state soccer champion Westport Warriors team. Jon Walker is in the back row, 2nd from left.

Jon’s competitive drive and relentlessness served him well when he met Bridget. He pursued her with abandon, and knew he had found his soulmate. Wildly loyal to each other, they navigated the challenges that can come with marriage with sensitivity, fearlessness and passion. They were true college sweethearts.

Jon loved being a dad. If there was anyone he loved as much as Bridget, it was Ellery. She lit up his face. And his adoration for William knew no bounds. He loved sending video clips of William playing indoor soccer. He was a proud soccer dad.

Jon battled his ALS and FTP with courage and a smile. As his neurological diseases progressed, he became much simpler. He smiled more. He said “I love you” often. The grace he displayed as an athlete came to the forefront of his persona at the end.

How lucky we all were to have had him as a friend, and to have been on his “team.”

 

Longshore Golf Pro Situation Still Rough

The Longshore golf course opens in about 6 weeks.

There are still no carts or balls in the pro shop. A new pro has not yet been hired.

Now there’s no greenskeeper either.

Michael Golden — who earned raves as head golf course superintendent at Longshore, turning the facility into Golfweek’s #8 public place to play in 2016 — has moved on to Sterling Farms in Stamford.

A number of Longshore golfers have expressed concern about the unsettled situation. As reported in December on “06880,” longtime pro John Cooper felt that the terms offered for renewal of his contract were untenable.

The town has reworked its RFP, but so far has not reached an agreement with a new pro.

Time for a  mulligan?

The Longshore golf course reopens in just a few weeks.

The Longshore golf course reopens in just a few weeks.

The Y’s Very Special Swimmers

Special Olympics is a special program. Since its founding in 1968, the non-profit has transformed countless lives through sports. Nearly 5 million athletes in 169 countries — and over a million volunteers — participate each year.

But the Westport Weston Family YMCA‘s Special Olympics program is extra special.

It began just over a year ago, as a dream of Westporters Marshall and Johanna Kiev. Working with Y officials and members, it quickly grew to include a basketball program (13 special needs athletes and 13 partners practiced weekly, and competed at a Holiday Sports Classic). A track and field team will be added soon.

But it’s the swim program that’s really made waves.

Having fun with the Westport Y's Special Olympics swim program.

Having fun with the Westport Y’s Special Olympics swim program.

Two dozen youngsters, of varying physical and intellectual abilities, practice every Sunday — under the guidance of real, professional swim coaches. They’re one of the few Special Olympics teams anywhere that does that.

Barbara Bachuretz has spent 30 years training swimmers. Erin Ritz is a Westport Y Water Rat coach.

They’re backed by a corps of dedicated volunteers. The group includes former Amherst swimmer and water polo player Peter Nussbaum, and Hopkins School freshman Henry Fisher. Both live in Westport.

In June — proudly bearing the name Water Rats — 24 swimmers traveled to the Summer Special Olympics Games at Southern Connecticut State University. They were the only team there whose special needs youngsters swam all 4 laps of the relay. All other relay teams included unified partners.

The Water Rats Special Olympics team amassed over 30 medals. It was a great event for the entire group.

The Westport Weston Family YMCA Water Rat Special Olympics team (with coaches) (and friends!).

The Westport Weston Family YMCA Water Rat Special Olympics team (with coaches) (and friends!).

But individual stories stand out too.

Y senior program coordinator Jay Jaronko remembers a 14-year-old who was very nervous. Jay and his coaches assured him he could watch other swimmers before his race, to feel comfortable about the event.

But when they got to the meet, the boy was scheduled to race first. Casting aside his fears, he focused directly on his lane. He got in the water, stared straight ahead — and finished first by an astonishing half pool length.

Then he headed off with teammates to the concession stand. His amazed parents told Jaronko, “he’s never done that in his life.”

“I was hooked on Special Olympics before that,” Jaronko says. “But that was the point when I really, truly got it.”

Smiles all around on the Y's Special Olympics swim team.

Smiles all around at the Special Olympics swim meet.

Another story: After the Summer Games, a father told Jaronko that teammates would be at his son’s upcoming birthday party. That too was a first.

This year, Jaronko reports, that boy is swimming and playing water polo for his high school.

“We’re doing a lot more than just teaching kids to swim,” the program director says proudly.

Here’s something even more special: The entire Y Special Olympics program is free.

There’s no registration free, no charge for apparel — nothing. Even meals are covered.

The Y covers all the funds. The Kiev family has been great, throwing fundraising parties to help.

This year’s budget is $46,000.

The program is worth every penny.

(For more information on the Westport Y’s Special Olympics swim program, click here; call Jay Jaronko at 203-226-8983, or email jjaronko@westporty.org.  To read more about the Kievs and their daughter Chloe, click here.)

This is what the Westport Y's Special Olympics Water Rats program is all about. (Photos courtesy of Westport Weston Family YMCA)

This is what the Westport Y’s Special Olympics Water Rats program is all about. (Photos courtesy of Westport Weston Family YMCA)

 

Julia Marino: X Marks The Spot

On Thursday night, Julia Marino — the greatest snowboarder in Westport history — earned a medal at her 1st-ever X Games, in Aspen.

She finished 3rd in big air (going over one super-huge jump — duh).

Julia Marino

Julia Marino

Today, she competes in slopestyle. (Racing down a course with a variety of obstacles — rails, jumps, that sort of stuff. Points are scored for amplitude, originality and quality of tricks. But you knew that.)

The competition is televised live on ABC. The fun begins at 3:15 p.m. EST.

(Click here for a video of Julia’s bronze medal performance on Thursday.)

All’s Well With Staples Midterms

Midterm exams are stressful for high school students. In recent years, as the importance of grades — both real and imagined — has risen, so have student stress levels.

Last week at Staples, staff and administrators — prompted by Student Assembly, and supported by the Collaborative Team — addressed midterms directly. In fact, proponents noted, reducing stress can actually raise test-takers’ scores.

Guidance counselors Leslie Hammer and Bill Plunkett, physical education department chair Dave Gusitsch and others created a broad menu of “Midterm Wellness and Enrichment Activities.” Students could choose any (or none) of them during last week’s midterms.

And — tweaking the no-room-to-breathe schedule that had been in place for decades — those activities took place during a 50-minute period between each day’s 2 exams. Previously, the break was just 30 minutes.

Organizers learned that high schools and universities around the country have brought in “therapy dogs,” for students to pets. Research shows that playing with animals is a great way to relax and clear the mind.

Petting dogs has been shown to release endorphins in the brain, leading to relaxed feelings.

Petting dogs has been shown to release endorphins in the brain, leading to relaxed feelings.

The dogs were a smash. Students lined up to chill with the friendly, tail-wagging pooches. One student — whose stress sometimes caused her to have tics — said she’d never felt better in a school environment.

Some activities were physical. There was basketball and track walking in the fieldhouse; badminton and “pound fitness” (drumming) in the gym; free swim in the pool, dance in the pool lobby, and ping pong near the cafeteria. The fitness center was open for cardio, free weights and machine exercise; yoga was in a library classroom, and principal James D’Amico offered “walk and talk” sessions around the school.

Emerson Anvari chose ping pong as a way to reduce midterm stress.

Emerson Anvari chose ping pong as a way to reduce midterm stress.

Some options — liked “guided meditation” — were more mindful.

Other activities appealed to special passions. String players were invited to the orchestra room to play Mozart; Players director David Roth directed theater games, while some students played board games.

David Roth got students up and moving with theater games.

David Roth got students up and moving with theater games.

In addition, guidance counselors offered free snacks. Healthy food was on sale in the cafeteria. That was a first for midterms — and sales were brisk.

Guidance counselors provided snacks -- and positive messages from a bowl.

Guidance counselor Deb Slocum (left) and colleagues provided snacks — and positive messages from a bowl.

No one was forced to choose an activity. Some students studied in the library, or chatted with friends in the hall.

Fifty minutes between exams allowed students time to study in the library -- and relax, eat healthily and participate in activities too.

Fifty minutes between exams allowed students time to study in the library — and relax, eat healthily and participate in activities too.

Everyone seemed influenced by the environment. Early skepticism was replaced by increasing enthusiasm to try something new, day by day.

Guidance counselor Deb Slocum noted, “The entire mood of the school shifted. It was a great vibe.”

Colleague Bill Plunkett added, “There was a lot of positive energy — and plenty of smiles. Even the kids just sitting around felt relaxed.”

Not every kid got an A+ on every test.

But Staples’ newest midterm tradition passed with flying colors.

“Pound fitness” is a full-body cardio jam session, perfect for de-stressing between exams.

(Photos courtesy of Victoria Capozzi and Dave Gusitsch)

Photo Challenge #108

Hey, “06880” readers: You guys really know your waterfalls. You know your church windows, and your light fixtures outside your restaurants.

Plus, you know your side doors of indoor tennis clubs.

Last week’s photo challenge was an overhead smash for Jeff Giannone, Seth Braunstein, Linda Durakis, Peter Hirst, Ed Hulina, Beth Orlan Berkowitz, Tammy Barry, Andrew Colabella and Bob Twiss.

All of you ob”served” that Lynn U. Miller’s “shot” of an obscure door was actually the exit from the old Westport Tennis Club (now Sylvan Tennis), on South Sylvan Road. During its long heyday it was also called “Erwin’s,” in honor of Erwin Mach (former Longshore pro), who with his wife Barbara owned it. To see the less than glamorous — but apparently well known — image, click here.

Now here’s this week’s photo challenge. Many of us pass it every single day. But do we ever really notice it?

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

If you think you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.