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Slow Motion Football Game Held New Year's Day For 51st Time

Locals join in the goofy tradition.

There are some events that come only once a year, and with them comes a specific anticipation.

"For me, it's been reinvigorating because you have to wait an entire year for it," former Absecon Mayor Pete Elco said.

It wasn't the holidays, a birthday or significant anniversary that he spoke of this past New Year's Day.

Instead, he was referring to the annual Slow Motion Football game, now in its 51st year.

The game stems from when Elco, fellow Absecon resident Jerry Savell and John Glassey, of the West Atlantic City section of Egg Harbor Township, were all still in high school, along with Glassey's brother, Jake. The young men were caught goofing off by playing football in slow motion and were told to take it off the playing fields.

From there, it took off, becoming an annual thing for the past five decades with a number of changes occurring in these later years. One of the most noticeable, perhaps, is those who are now participating .

"(They're) more youthful," Elco noted.

Several players were under the age of 25 with the youngest being two, compared to, in years past, majority of the players, were 30 years of age or older. Very few were under the age of 25; and they were those who were were related to one or more of the original players.

Eleven year-old Jack Savell, is one of them. A third generation player, the Haddon Township youngster joined his dad, Paul, in playing in this year's game. His uncle, Chris, a past player, was unable to attend this year due to work.

"Honestly, I think it's hilarious," the 11-year-old said of participating in the game that he's been a part of his life since he was still in diapers. In one of those early days' games, Savell's granddad used him as a decoy in an attempt for a successful play.

Others felt grateful just to be at this year's game.

"It's good to be anywhere," Glassey said, recalling how the region survived Hurricane Sandy  this past October and a fluke storm—the derecho—on June 30.

That wasn't all Glassey had to endure this year.

"My house was hit by lightning in August," he said on Tuesday. 

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