To fully describe some people, words are not enough.
Their lives are so filled with sights and sounds, the dribble of a basketball or a kid’s shout of victory at making a goal, that no monument made of stone or steel can capture that person’s spirit.
Jeffrey T. Farley was like that.
And even though his friends and family inscribed his name on a plaque at Stephen Gregg County Park for people to see, Farley’s life is carried on in the memory of every child he had a chance to help during his years involved in local sports.
So in some ways, the setting up on sports clinics at the park on Sept. 15 – filled with the sights and sounds that had so consumed his life when he was alive – was a far greater and more significant tribute than any words spoken or carved in stone could have been. His was a legacy that will live on each time a ball swishes through a hoop, sneaks passed a diving goalie, or dribbles through the infield.
So if his spirit filled the park, it also came in the hundreds of children and their families who turned out to remember the countless hours to PAL, UNICO, and many other organizations to which Farley dedicated his time through his years. Before his untimely death in 2010, he was serving as the vice president of the Ray Greaves Association.
“We did this because of how involved he was in the community when he was alive,” said Councilman Ray Greaves.
“The association wanted to find a way to keep his memory alive after his passing.” – Ray Greaves
A lifelong resident of Bayonne, Farley worked as a graphic artist for J&J Printing and as the director of the city’s P.A.L. Basketball Program for 18 years before retiring. He was also a past president of UNICO in Bayonne.
“The association wanted to find a way to keep his memory alive after his passing,” Greaves said. “We won’t let his memory fade.”
Greaves said Farley was involved in various sports programs such as Little League and softball, so it was fitting to hold free sports clinics in his honor.
“This is the second year we’ve held a day for him,” Greaves said. “The Ray Greaves Association decided then that they were going to make sure that the legacy Jeff left behind would continue,” Greaves said. “That is why they chose to start the Sportsfest in Jeff’s name, so the children of Bayonne would go on receiving the kind of care and support Jeff always gave to them. The group is committed to see that it grows year after year.”
Last year, the event drew support from all over Bayonne and this year was no different.
“With over 187 children registering for the free clinics, well over 200 children attended this year and they were also treated with a surprise appearance from St. Anthony’s and Kansas star, now Brooklyn Nets point guard, Tyshawn Taylor. The kids received instruction from the NBA player and there were autographs for everyone,” Greaves said.
The association also provided free ice cream, hot dogs, watermelon and other refreshments, all donated.
The second annual Jeffrey T. Farley Kids’ Sportsfest started with the unveiling of a plaque paying tribute to Farley and then continued with basketball, soccer and volleyball clinics.
The soccer clinic included people such as Dominick Bucci; Pete Kay, Match Fit Chelsea staff coach; and Kari Bryngiersson, Bayonne High School boys’ assistant coach.
The basketball clinic included Jack Hladik, Matthew Hladik, J.J. Hladik, BHS boys’ head coach Mickell Taylor, and BHS boys’ assistant coach John Calloway.
For volleyball, legendary Pat Longo, head coach for the girls’ and boys’ teams, staff and former players gave instruction.