And the winner is… the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.
After months of “smack-talking” two local surgeons let their bodies do the communicating in a Brazilian-style, Jiu Jitsu submission match for charity on Saturday at the Stone Pony.
It began innocently enough a year ago when Drs. Sean Houston and Josef Shargorodsky of Coastal Ear Nose and Throat in Neptune began discussing their new hobbies of Jiu Jitsu training at different academies.
“During lunch, we talked about our bruises, training and the different techniques of the sport,” said Dr. Houston, smiling. “Then, our colleagues started joking with us about who was better and would win in a one-on-one match. They started stoking the fires – fanning the flames of our competitive sides – and we decided a match would be a fun thing to do. I’m 50 and Josef is 35 so there was lots of sharp comments and talk that I can’t repeat. It became a fun distraction and the match was the culmination of all the talk.”
Team Sean or Team Joe – sides were being taken, lines were being drawn. A decision had to be made; who would be named the winner? The colleagues decided to take it to the mat in a gentlemanly aggressive way that would benefit the community. They decided on a three, five-minute round match-up and the buzz around the hospital and office kicked into high-gear.
We’re talking tear-away scrubs, major temporary tattoos and the theme song to the Terminator.
“This was a friendly competition that we talked-up dramatically like you see on wrestling matches but we took it really seriously,” said Dr. Houston. “We’ve had a 20-year relationship with Jersey Shore (University Medical Center), working with adults and children. Our practice is the sole provider of ear nose and throat surgery for the children’s hospital and we thought our match would be a positive way to raise funds as well as bring attention to the state-of-the-art resources available to our area.”
More than 300 people came to the Stone Pony, crowding around the 18” by 18” mat, to watch the surgeons “battle,” raising more than $15,000 in mission-critical funding for the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune.
Ultimately, the physicians went the full rounds and the incredibly tough submission-only match was a draw.
Do you hear “rematch?”
“It turned out to be a great event for an excellent cause,” said Dr. Shargorodsky. “We were all extremely, extremely heartened to see our colleagues, friends and strangers rally and come support the fundraiser.”
The Stone Pony donated the space Saturday afternoon and Dead Serious Entertainment donated the mats for the event.
“In our professional lives we are driven by precision; I don’t feel good with anything less than perfection,” said Dr. Houston. “On the mats, we can screw up. Not being perfect means learning and ending the day with a handshake. This was our version of the movie Fight Club, minus Brad Pitt and for a great cause.”
Coastal Ear Nose and Throat recently launched, in conjunction with Meridian Health, New Jersey’s first cochlear implant program for the hearing challenged, led by Dr. Seth McAfee.