The New York Jets, the New York Red Bulls and their corporate sponsors came together Monday night for Charity Bowl with Eric Mangini at the 300 New York at Chelsea Piers lanes. The event benefited Carmine and Frank Mangini Foundation, the Chelsea Piers Scholarship Fund and Play Smart, charities that are "committed to providing athletic and academic opportunities for underresourced children."
To raise money for the cause, there was a silent auction of mostly sports memorabilia and a live auction for a one-hour quarterback lesson with Chad Pennington, as well as trips to Denver and Orlando. A raffle was also conducted for various prizes donated by P.C. Richard and Chelsea Piers. Later in the evening, Curtis Martin conducted his own auction, soliciting teammates for donations after committing $10,000 himself.
The main event was the bowling competition. With the lights dimmed, creating a nightclub-like atmosphere, Jets players were able to kick back and relax after Monday's OTA, dispersing themselves amidst the corporate groups in each lane. With seven bowlers to a lane, some groups had more professional athletes than others.
Most impressive were David Bowens and Anthony Schlegel, who each rolled in with his own equipment. Bowens has three bowling balls, each individually packed, and Schlegel has his own ball and accessories as well.
Bowens said his father, Frank Williams, was a professional bowler who had taught him the proper bowling technique growing up.
During the hour allotted for practice, besides the two "professionals" on the Jets team, others seemed poised standout performances.
Jerricho Cotchery nailed three strikes in a row, shrugging to his group after hitting the third. Rookie Jesse Pellot-Rosa, after hitting only four pins on his first ball, turned to each member of his group from Frank and Crystal and Associates, pleading for some sort of reassurance, much to their amusement. Drawing the biggest crowd of all was Martin, who skipped practice in favor of signing autographs for a group of children.
Over in the "challenge the pro" lane, participants could put down $20 to take on assistant coach Bryan Cox or rookie center Andrew Wicker for a frame. Cox claimed during an interview with master of ceremonies Bob Wischusen that beating the pros "should be easy because we aren't bowlers."
Cox then proceeded to throw a strike against his first challenger, who had posted a spare.
It was Martin, however, who stole the show.
With members of Merrill Lynch giving him a standing ovation as he closed his tenth frame, Martin finished with the best score among Jets players, a 211.
When Bowens was made aware of this, he lamented that if he would be allowed to finish a second game he could improve upon his first score, a 179, and possibly top Martin's mark.
But the competition was limited to one game, and the winning group featured members of Golden Tree Asset Management, with the help of Victor Hobson, James Dearth and Jerome Henderson, director of player development and assistant secondary coach.