COLUMN: Father’s Day tribute to Joe Fenton

Note: June is always a big month around high schools, though this is not the typical June. 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 Danielle and Andrew Donoghue, 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.

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Nicholl with A10 trophy

This week, a pair of Ocean City High School athletes – Nicholl and Abbey Fenton, two very successful sisters, offer their feelings about their father, Joe. Nicholl, an all star in field hockey and lacrosse at OCHS, is hoping to start her senior year playing field hockey at St. Joseph’s University. She has achieved athletic and academic success in her first three season.

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Abbey with South Jersey trophy

Abbey will officially graduate from OCHS next month after setting school records in soccer, basketball and lacrosse. She played in eight South Jersey finals during her high school career. Abbey will play lacrosse at Cabrini University.      

Their father, Joe, was an three-sport athlete in high school and played soccer in college..



It feels a little strange to be actually celebrating at home with our dad this year. After all, he has spent the past 10 Father’s Days at some sporting event. That is exactly what our father has done our entire lives though: be there for us.
We can both count on one hand how many of our games our dad has missed over the span of our athletic careers. The man does not stop. He will get up at four in the morning for work and then be on the sideline for a 3 o’clock field hockey game in Philly. And when there are conflicting schedules, he is on the sidelines of a soccer game while watching a field hockey game on his phone.
Our father instilled in us the will to go after the things we want in life. He allowed us to dream big and was always there when we failed. He is our support system; the man with the wisdom. We can thank him for some athletic ability, even though he is the worst athlete in our family.
(Note: Joe’s wife, Kristie – Nicholl and Abbey’s mom – was a Division I athlete at Rutgers and is a member of the Ocean City High School Sports Hall of Fame.)
Many forget that our father was a three-sport star at Ocean City. He rarely talks about that, though, because he would much rather talk about us instead.
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This is Joe, preparing to drive a fastball
It seems to be the year of the ‘girl dad’ and our dad truly exemplifies what that means.
Both of us girls are a part of the defense in our respective sports, meaning the only place you will be able to find our dad is hanging by the goal we are defending. And always by himself, too. You can never hear him, unless he truly does not like a given call. That’s the way we like it though; it is comforting to know exactly where he is.
Our father has spent the past seven years in the Ocean City High School stands watching us win nine South Jersey titles and three (almost four) state championships. We also lost a lot of games too and he was there for those with the same unwavering support. We think it is going to be strange to not see him in Ocean City red anymore, but we are so lucky to have him in crimson for one more year and blue for the next four.
Dad, we are so incredibly lucky to be your daughters. We hope we can keep making you proud.
Happy Father’s Day!

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