Friday, May 19, 2017

Bronxite Goes from Golden Gloves Boxer to Fire Safety

By Rich Mancuso

SPORTS- Glen Ghany at one time was destined to go far in the boxing ring. The 40-year old native and resident of the Bronx could punch with the best and took home six New York City Golden Gloves titles as a 112-pounder. His pro career was difficult and primarily getting opponents at super bantamweight was an issue.

However, Ghany was persistent and sought out his opponents. In other words, this was a fighter who became his own manager. With boxing, a sport known as a tough all-around business, this was a fighter who continued to make his own fights and then it suddenly ended. The last fight ended via TKO in September of 2004 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

“I had to make decisions with my life,” he said. And after a frustrating time in the ring as a professional fighter it was the adjustment of a career that was suddenly over with a 9-2-0 record and those coveted Golden Gloves titles.

Since then, Ghany has tried to find his way out of the ring. Different types of employment are on the resume as a personal trainer and in the security/protection field. To say this has been easy has been an understatement but Ghany has found ways to adjust and still thinks about taking and throwing another punch.

More so, Glen Ghany is now content with his well being and future and that is now in the security and fire safety industry. Earlier this year, and by word of mouth, he made the next step and walked into the Times Square area offices of Radiant Training & Consulting a training school that certifies those seeking full-time and part-time employment in the fields of fire safety and security that is growing in numbers.

Elvis Polanco, a Castle Hill area resident and native of the Dominican Republic has more than one walk in by word of mouth that visits his office and gives them the tour. Once they work out the particulars of course procedures and a reasonable financial way of payment, it is on to the classroom and for instruction of one day or sessions of four weeks.

Ghany has completed the Fire Safety course and passed his first exam. Polanco will eventually, as he does with all students, help with assistance to seek employment with is relationships in the fields and Ghany will continue with security procurement in an industry that is always looking to employ those that are properly certified.

“We provide them with a lead for an interview,” says the soft spoken Polanco in his small office space that is situated a door away from a classroom that can occupy 40 students. Textbooks and materials are provided and there is the visual instruction in both areas of certification.

What made Ghany and Polanco so compatible? It all begins with that first meeting and as is with so many of the students who have met Polanco, Ghany saw the same.

This is a businessman who works with clients and becomes a mentor. There is no fabrication about what is offered and financial flexibility is a priority. 

There is a success ratio of placing students in their respected areas of certification and demographics show more of a male oriented field. Age is not a limit as students range in age from 18 to the senior citizen seeking additional income and not content with retirement.

“We actually do change lives around,” Polanco said this past week after the latest cycle of students moved on and took exams for certification in fire safety and security. “We give people opportunities. We are a big believer of giving back by being honest and helping people. It’s not always about money. It’s a long lasting relationship.”

The school, he says, is a “microcosm of New York City” with the diversity of a population and those seeking a career that is rewarding and salaries ranging from minimum wage to a larger level that revolves around the certification and placement in the field. 

Polanco points out that his school, founded three years ago, also offers a monthly scholarship centered around Breast Cancer Awareness to a female student in memory of a school co-founder who passed away from the disease. Free classes are also offered in security to veterans and their sponsors, senior citizens over 70, breast cancer survivors, domestic violence victims and parents with autistic children if they meet criteria.

“Glen and many other people have been through here literally and it has changed their lives,” he says. “Getting a job and comfortable living. There are variables as to how much people will make depending on certification and the job itself. We work with financial flexibility. People have hardships, so I can understand it.”

Ghany has struggled as he did not have that ability to earn those lucrative purses in the boxing ring. Only a few become the Floyd Mayweather Jr. champions in the sport and in his weight class, promoters don’t offer large sums for taking punches and throwing them in the ring.

After Polanco made his pitch, Glen Ghany was back in the classroom. According to Polanco that first meeting was “Glen said, ‘I’m getting this and nobody is going to stop me.’ We want to see that in people, the determination.”

“He saw the hunger in me, I want it,” says Ghany. “I just kept pressing even though I had a hard time grasping at the beginning. He worked with me with an understanding, not everybody is born with a silver spoon in their mouth and he saw I wanted it.” Ghany will continue in the next few weeks and attempt securement to advance in the fire safety field and security industries.

Polanco says, “To make sure that people leave here with a sense of I like my experience here. I’m coming back and recommending people to us.” He says, “professionalism is everything.”

And for Glen Ghany, who still has ambitions of returning to the ring, professionalism is the last thing that occurs in the boxing business. He is the lone holder of six NYC Golden Gloves titles and that will always be a part of his life. A pro career that did not span to expectations may or may not be in the past.

However, as he says, “My future is here and I am thankful that I found Elvis and got the best from Radiant.”

Those interested in finding out more about Radiant Training & Consulting, LLC can log on to the website: located at 566 Seventh Avenue, Suite 702 in New York City. or email (212) 213-3434

Comment Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Derek Jeter Honored by Yankees, Fans

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX- The ballgame is over. The cheers that were heard throughout Yankee Stadium have been replaced by the beautiful sounds of the cleaning crew sweeping the night away. Up and down each aisle, from seat to seat… their night is only beginning.

While baseball is a simple sport, it’s the humanity behind it that makes it complicated. Despite the Yankees 10-7 loss to the Houston Astros in the nightcap of Sunday’s doubleheader this wasn’t necessarily about baseball. As painful as it was to witness the disappearance of Yanks RHP Masahiro Tanaka’s splitter and slider, Sunday’s doubleheader wasn’t about baseball.

Twelves months from today, maybe three, the viewers who watched the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader will remember two things. One, that it was Mother’s Day. Two, that it was Derek Jeter Night and the pre-game ceremony that took place in the house he and his teammates helped build. Now retired, the moments we see are precious.

Derek Jeter got his honor and moments. Later the Houston Astros got the second game of two off to a bang at Yankee Stadium. Back-to-Back home runs off Masahiro Tanaka and at that time, Jeter, who will always be a Yankees captain was addressing the media in a press conference room that is situated a few steps away from the home clubhouse.

This was another and vintage Derek Jeter moment in the Bronx. Probably the last time in a long time before we see five more numbers retired and plaques unveiled in Monument Park. Then again, these were the Joe Torre managed championship teammates and those were players who came to the ballpark to win.

Not that this current Yankees team and managed by Joe Girardi does not have the same mentality. The Yankees are always with that mindset to win and they won the first game 11-6, and Aaron Judge hit his Major League leading 14th home run in the fourth inning. They have come out of the gate with authority and are second best in the American League and similar to Jeter there is Judge.

And the other youngsters are beginning to make this an exciting season in the Bronx with Brett Gardner a Yankee who has the honor of having the longest tenure and knows something about the mindset that Jeter brought and meant to the Yankees.

However, Derek Jeter was one of a kind. He said about that responsibility of being a Yankees captain, “To the organization, fans, teammates and media you handle it the way you are, representing the New York Yankees.”

To Jeter, and to those who have had the same honor it means taking all of that seriously, and there is no denying the fact about Yankees baseball for 20-years played the way Derek Jeter wanted it to be played.

“It was always what we accomplished,” Jeter said. Five championship rings and four with Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte. And there was Bernie Williams and a whole cast of others that played a role with the Derek Jeter love fest in New York. 

Sunday afternoon, and on Mother’s Day. That was the day Derek Jeter wanted and appropriate to also honor the Mom and Dad that were instrumental for all of this representation of a class act on and off the field, and with no controversy. There was no presence of Alex Rodriguez in the Bronx and perhaps the Yankees will honor whatever legacy he had in pinstripes, but certainly A-Rod was never in that class with those fans, teammates, the media and perhaps the Yankees hierarchy.

You know the accounts and never a bad word about the Derek Jeter’s lifestyle off the field. No rumors about substance abuse or drugs to enhance his body and boost the statistics. We all know that Derek Jeter played the game fair and it has been written many times about that respect and how everyone wanted to be the next Jeter in New York or with another team.

This air was different from the other retirement ceremonies of numbers at Yankee Stadium. It has been done many times and Monument Park has that Hall of Fame look. That distinction is how that era of Yankees fans was symbolic of what Derek Jeter meant.

And that was winning and playing the game properly. It was another Derek Jeter moment in the Bronx and probably not the last when it comes to being that New York Yankee. He is one of the family and will return to Yankee Stadium for another Oldtimer’s Day, or maybe as part owner of the Miami Marlins. 

“I’ll be will eternally grateful to be a part of the Yankee family,” he said. The final words but not the last for this Yankees legend.

Comment Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Friday, April 14, 2017

Female wrestlers grapple with change

By Robert Cole

SPORTS NEWS- Those who espouse the benefits of high school sports - learn discipline, cooperation, teamwork, and self-control - would have been proud of the girls that gathered at The Bronx High School of Science gym last Saturday for the Wolverine Welcome Tournament, sponsored by the PSAL and Beat the Streets NYC Inc.

The event is one of a number of tournaments added to the PSAL Girl’s Wrestling Season, designed to provide opportunities for wrestlers to compete and implement the techniques they practiced all week.  Ted Cook, the head girl’s wrestling coach at Truman High School, mentioned how important these one-day events are to the long-term development of the wrestlers.

“Having these extra meets has a big impact, because normally in a dual meet season with five teams in your league, you will only get five meets,” Cook said. “The more you are on the mat, the more you are going to progress, and the more you are going to grow as a wrestler. The tournaments allow the girls to finish with up to 30 matches at the end of a season, which is a big help.”

A total of 19 high school teams from throughout the city gathered in the Bronx for this event. Schools from the Bronx included, Truman, Bronx Science, Bronx Studio, and Taft, with Truman capturing the top team spot with 160 points – 35 points ahead of second place Brooklyn Tech.  Bronx Studio finished in fifth place, accumulating 89.5 points. Bronx Science captured 27 points for an 11th place finish, and Taft completed action tied for 15th with 22 points.

With the PSAL adopting girls’ wrestling as a sanctioned sport only five year’s ago, many of the competitors have been in the sport for one to two years. However, you would never know how inexperienced they are on the by attending today’s tournament. The action was intense and the girls exhibited the skills of veteran wrestlers.

Credit for the rapid growth in the quality of the sport can be attributed to the partnership between the PSAL and Beat the Streets NYC Inc., a not-for-profit organization that services about 3,000 inner-city youth by providing free wrestling opportunities for youngsters in NYC.  The partnership insures that the athletes are provided the training and resources needed for growth and development in the sport.

Jackie Davis, head girl’s coach and head of girl’s programming at Beat the Streets NYC Inc., plays a big role in the partnership with the PSAL. Coach Davis, in addition to coaching many of the girls competing throughout the PSAL, provides much needed technical support to newly organized wrestling teams and wrestling beginners. PSAL coaches can also call on Coach Davis for coaching education, practice plans, and mentoring. 

When asked what the girls get from wrestling, Coach Davis’ immediate answer was “empowerment.”

“Wrestling allows them to realize what they are capable of and they do not need to be pressured by outside things,” Davis said.

One athlete who is an example of that empowerment is the tournament’s 112lb. winner and last season’s 107lb. PSAL Champion, Pearl Fletcher. The senior captain of Truman High School, Fletcher had a desire to play high school football, but quickly pushed that aside when she was introduced to wrestling. In addition to the efforts of her high school coach, Cook, her continued participation in the Beat the Street’s NYC program has lead to convince Cook - who has coached the boys team for 10 years to start a girls’ wrestling program at Truman. Fletcher stated that wrestling taught her two key lessons: “… to never give up in any situation, and that you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

The competition, cooperation, and camaraderie displayed today by teammates and opponents alike lets us know that something powerful is taking place with the PSAL girls’ wrestling program.  With girl’s wrestling growing at such a rapid rate, Coach Davis believes that the popularity that the sport has now is only the beginning.

“We’re not going anywhere.”

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lightning Doesn’t Strike Twice for Lehman

Maritime Powers Past Lehman
(Photos by Robert Cole)

By Robert Cole

SPORTS NEWS- The SUNY Maritime Privateers used back-to-back-to-back homeruns to pull away from the Lehman College Lightning, last night at Reinhart Baseball Field, on the campus of SUNY Maritime, in the Bronx.  

Falling behind early in the game 9-0, the Lightning would fight back, to cut the Privateer lead to 9-8 after 7 and ½ innings.  

Lehman’s starting pitcher, Christofer Rodriguez, had a rough three innings giving up nine runs on 10 hits.  While Maritime’s freshman, Luciano Besh, was able hold the Lightning scoreless on four hits, during his three innings stint. 

Lehman’s defense would slow down the offensive production of the Privateers behind the relief effort of freshman, Anthony Riley. Riley pitched four shutout innings, during which time; the Lightning scored eight runs behind Chris Lopez’s two-run homer in the fifth inning.  

Lehman, however, would squander a chance to take the lead and place the pressure on the Privateers.  

In the top half of the eighth inning Lehman would load the bases with no outs. However, the Lightning would only score one run. Maritime’s Matthew Buckshaw, who came into the game in relief for Sklar Graff, would strike out, Chris Lopez and Juan Arias, swinging before getting Jamie Maldonado to ground out to pitcher to end the half inning.  

Looking to score insurance runs to seal the game, Maritime would get more than expected.  

With two outs in the eighth, Joe Deddo hit a two-run homer over the right centerfield wall, scoring Matt Costleigh, who doubled earlier in the inning.  

The next batter, Joe Semier would send another ball over the right centerfield wall to increase the lead 12-8.

Lehman’s Emmanuel Velasquez would come into pitch to Brian McLaughlin, who also hit a homer over the right centerfield wall, for a 13-8 lead.

Brandon Castillo would give the Lightning hope when he hit a leadoff homerun in the ninth.  However, Buckshaw would close the game for the Privateers giving them the 13-8 win.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pineda is Perfection for Yankees

Could Right Hander be the Missing Piece for the Yankees?

By Rich Mancuso 

SPORTS- Michael Pineda was sharp and there is no other word to describe the New York Yankees right-hander and on Opening Day in the Bronx it was almost perfection. He was perfect through 6.2 innings before a two-out double that the Ray’s Evan Longoria hit sharply to left field.

But there was a moment, and at Yankee Stadium where this looked like to be another special day in the Bronx. And it also was the Michael Pineda the Yankees hope to get every fourth or fifth day on the mound. The fastball hit all cylinders, the slider had momentum and the changeup was effective against the left hand hitters.

When asked to describe what was going on in the Yankees dugout before Longoria became the first base runner for Tampa Bay, manager Joe Girardi said, “Thinking it’s going to be another special day at the stadium.”

And with 46,955 Opening Day fans riding every pitch, Pineda made them believers because the Yankees need this youngster to step up with a starting rotation that had a lot of questions coming into the season. They can depend on Masahiro Tanaka and don’t know what to expect from the veteran left hander CC Sabathia.

But a consistent and effective Michael Pineda, well, that makes this Yankees team a lot better and more optimistic in a season that is not supposed to go towards a championship route. You can say Pineda has the skeptics, and his reputation for losing focus on the mound does give him that bad rap but Monday afternoon on a day perfect for baseball. Michael Pineda got the skeptics going in another direction.

“It’s satisfying because he did pitch well,” Girardi said. The manager was pleased with the focus and mentality. More so it was the Michael Pineda the Yankees have come to expect and on this day it was more. At a point, there was talk that this was going to be a historic Opening Day in the Bronx.

And because Michael Pineda threw strikes, 67 of them on 93 pitches, he was special in the Yankees 8-1 home opening win over the Rays.

From the fourth inning on, Pineda had to notice something special was happening. The crowd was with him, his teammates in the dugout do as all ballplayers do when a special moment may be closing in. They ignored Pineda and he went back to work.

After the Longoria hit that spoiled the possible and historic moment, Pineda went back on the hill. He said about the moment, “Don’t lose focus ….be aggressive.” And that he was, attacking and continuing to throw strikes in becoming the first Yankees pitcher to be perfect through at least 6.2 innings since Andy Pettitte in August of 2009.

Girardi did not want to remove his starter, and this early in the season there was no need to keep Pineda in the game as his team with home runs from Aaron Judge, Chase Headley and Starlin Castro built a lead.

Yes, the 28-year old native of Yaguate Dominican Republic who also had 11 strikeouts for the second time in his career, may have finally arrived for manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees. And on Opening Day, and as they say, You can’t beat that.”

But will Pineda be consistent and come back strong in his next start? That is the question, but who cares because this was an Opening Day that was memorable and could prove to be beneficial for the Yankees in the long run.

Comment Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso   

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Right Chemistry For NYCFC Soccer

By Rich Mancuso

SPORTS- Patrick Vieira came with the resume when he was named head coach of New York City FC and last year took his team to the eastern conference semifinals of the MLS playoffs. There was optimism because there was David Villa the premiere player and Vieira used the proper mix to getting this right for his team

Consider that NYCFC has not lost their last 11 regular season home matches at Yankee Stadium after their 2-1 win over San Jose Saturday afternoon and how Vieira uses the proper strategy that goes with chemistry to make this season special. In any sport the chemistry is so important and it showed again as Jack Harrison and Thomas McNamara got their first goals of the season as NYCFC improved to 2-1-1 in their first four games.

At this juncture last season, Vieira was struggling with decisions and who would be on the field. And with Villa not having an impact in the scoring the right chemistry was on the field. More so, NYCFC was coming off a bye week and the mental aspect of staying focused was very evident.

“I see Tommy in the right place at the right time, and with his strength, he put it in the back of the net, but sometimes you have a plan and games go in a different way and you have to change your plan,” said Vieira about the late game and winning goal that was scored by McNamara. His midfielder came off the bench and those moves have described this chemistry.

The manager in baseball always plays percentages in late innings and sometimes they work, and at times they don’t. But it seems that Vieira has that same approach on the sidelines and his players respect the moves that are made. The percentages at this point have put NYCFC in the proper direction after these first four games.

“I made a decision to take off Andrea, not because he was having a bad game,” Vieira said about removing Andrea Pirlo, the other high profiled and international star who played a role with the Italy World Cup win of 2006. “I thought he was playing quite well. The way we were playing in the first half, we were managing to get on the board and dictate the game, it’s just I wanted something a little bit different and that’s why I changed Andrea.”

So in comes McNamara and the percentages worked again. As Vieira said, for McNamara the goal went in where it was supposed to. 

“But that’s just a coach making a decision,” said Vieira in his quiet and calm tone, “but it’s was a tough one to make because Andrea was having a good game.” If this was Joe Girardi making another move late in the game, where some work and some don’t, there would be more criticism. However this is the MLS and a team that competes in a market with fans who know their soccer. They are a robust group at Yankee Stadium and Vieira hears them cheer and wants to appease those loyal fans.

Often and more so last season, when NYCFC was not playing up to expectations, Vieira often said in his postgame meetings with the media that the fans deserved better from him and his players. He promised to had to get better and would get better. Two weeks ago after a  1-1 draw with Montreal  in the Bronx, Vieira was glad to get the points but not satisfied.

Said Vieira: “And defensively as well, we’ve conceded less this year, but there’s still parts of the game that we need to improve, but overall, I’m really pleased with our attitude when we’re on the field.” Those changes made also put pressure on San Jose from their opportunities to score and in their prior three games NYCFC had possession more than 56.6 of the time and that added to 62 percent for the season.

The team had some time off during the bye week, but the mentality of getting back on the field was a key and according to McNamara, and those in the NYCFC locker room that was the approach that carried to their latest win.

“He’s a player’s coach,” says McNamara about his coach. “He knows his players well. With the week off we focused all the time. Some players he does not need to talk to, some he needs to go after. He makes everyone believe it’s about the team”

The instructions to McNamara from his coach were go on the offense, push, and score. That goal sent everyone home happy as NYCFC prepares for a week and their second match of the young season with D.C. United on the road next Saturday.

“You know we want to get three points at home,” said McNamara. “That is what we need to do every game when we're playing at home and so that is what I was looking to do, to be solid with the the ball, to get myself forward trying to create things, and try to get myself into place where others are creating for me.”

And this time the chemistry worked again for Vieira. It seems that the coach is making the right moves and that can only help with the mentality.

Comment Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

NYCFC Comes From Behind to Win Big in Bronx

SPORTS- An earthquake rocked Yankee Stadium as NYCFC came from behind to beat San Jose in Saturday soccer.

San Jose had not beaten their hosts in two attempts but they had an excellent opportunity to strike an early blow in this third meeting when Chris Wondolowski raced onto a pass from Darwin Ceren into a one-on-one situation but Sean Johnson came up big with the block.

That proved to be just a warning shot for the Earthquakes as they took the lead a few minutes later through Marcos Urena who slotted calmly past Johnson at the near post following a fortuitous bounce off the knee of Alexander Callens.

However, the away side's lead would last just four minutes as NYCFC equalized with a goal of the highest quality.

Ronald Matarrita’s cross to the top of the box was flicked sublimely into the path of Harrison by David Villa and the Englishman’s shot on the turn was too hot for David Bingham to handle.

It was the perfect reaction from Patrick Vieira’s side and, following this tempestuous opening, things settled down a little, allowing the boys in blue began to dictate therhythm of the game, moving through the gears, piling on the pressure as the first half minutes ticked by.

This increased pressure almost earned its reward on 40’ but a brave piece of last-ditch defending by Victor Bernandez denied Rodney Wallace his third goal in as many starts on the Etihad Pitch.

It was a familiar Bronx tale for NYCFC at the halftime break as they boasted more than 70% of the possession and more than double the number of passes to San Jose but would they get the three points they deserved in the second period?

Hearts were in mouths 10 minutes after the restart when Urena went down in the box under a challenge from Andrea Pirlo but referee Jorge Gonzalez felt the Costa Rican went down cheaply and waved play on. 

That controversial moment aside, the pattern of the game had continued with Vieira's men bossing the game but unable to find a way through the Earthquakes defensive traffic.

Tommy McNamara was introduced on 62' and he only took four minutes to make his presence felt, finishing off a stunning team move to make it 2-1.

Another Villa backheel was involved in the silky smooth build-up play but it was Matarrita who produced the key pass, pulling it back for Tommy unselfishly when he might have gone for goal himself, laying it on a silver platter for his teammate.

San Jose's hopes of getting back into the game were dealt a huge blow when Bernandez was shown a straight red card for a nasty rake down McNamara's leg with his studs on 79'.

That man advantage certainly eased the nerves for NYCFC as they held on relatively comfortably for their second win of the season.


NYCFC earned six corners in the first half of the match. They finished with seven corners on the afternoon. They had only eight in their first two matches at Yankee Stadium this season following a 9 corner performance in the season opener. 
Jack Harrison and Thomas McNamara scored their first goals of the 2017 season. Both were set up by assists from David Villa and Ronald Matarrita, who each had a primary and a secondary assist today. It was also both Villa and Matarrita's first multi-assist performance in MLS. 

NYCFC drew their first red card of the 2017 season. A red card was issued to Victor Bernardez in the 80th minute. It was the first red card issued at Yankee Stadium since Bobby Shuttleworth of the New England Revolution on July 6, 2016. NYCFC has only drawn one red card in home matches at Yankee Stadium. 
Sean Johnson continued his strong start to the season. He put in his fourth straight performance of allowing one goal or less for NYCFC. He has an overall streak of five dating back to last season with the Chicago Fire. 
The win marked NYCFC's first come from behind victory of the season. It is also the first time since July 30, 2016 that NYCFC were victorious without a goal from David Villa. NYCFC were victorious in that match 5-1, thanks to a hat trick from Frank Lampard. 
John Stertzer was named in an NYCFC matchday squad for the first time.

NYCFC have had more possession than their opponents and completed more passes in every game so far in 2017. NYCFC finished with a 62.4% time of possession and 82% passing accuracy for the match. 
NYCFC remain undefeated against the San Jose Earthquakes, going 2-0-1 (W-L-D) 

NYCFC continues their regular season home match unbeaten streak, extending it to 11 matches. NYCFC are 9-0-2 (W-L-D) in that span, with a goal differential of +20 (31-11).