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Eagles logo and bingo card on graveyard tombstone

Annunciation Cemetery in Shenandoah, Pa.
August 11, 2017

Tombstone Blues - I had time to kill last Tuesday morning in Annunciation Cemetery in Shenandoah Heights, Pa., as Susan and I waited for the priest to show up and say prayers before we buried the urn of her late mother Helen. I walked around with much respect and interest in personal history and snapped photos of gravestones, all of which tell a story. Joe Selbi, 1932-2002, was just 70 when he died. A Philadelphia Eagles logo is on the upper right on his tombstone, and a bingo card is on the left. Bingo is almost a Catholic sacrament. My friend from running, Paul Montini, a Philly Catholic boy who went to Father Judge in Northeast Philadelphia, thinks the numbers on the card are not an accident but reflect the greatest Eagles of all time as of 2002. Directly sideways a few steps from the Eagles logo is the grave of "Young Larry" O'Rourke, my wife's cousin who worked for the Allentown Morning Call and died at age 46 from ALS. One word is written on Larry's stone under his name: "Sportswriter." Larry covered the Eagles, and Andy Reid was his friend. This all happened to me in the middle of a graveyard in the middle of nowhere.

Willie Geist - A year ago, I was the emcee of Punkin Chunkin out at Hudson Fields and was interviewed by Bill Geist of CBS News. Bill, an affable and nice guy with red hair, was the one who got all the offbeat assignments. His son is Willie Geist, 42 years old, described as a TV personality, journalist and humorist. Willie is a regular on "Morning Joe," he is measured and laid-back and smart, and I know if you like Trump you hate “Morning Joe,” but that’s not what this is about. I read that Willie attended Ridgewood High School in New Jersey and was captain of the football and basketball teams.

He went to Vanderbilt  and was editor of the student newspaper. Geist is also the great-grandson of Herbie Lewis, who captained the Detroit Red Wings to two Stanley Cups. Sports is all about connecting the dots. Bill Geist, roughly my age, was a combat photographer during the Vietnam War and was awarded a Bronze Star.

Losing friends - I recently made an online joke after the Senate Republicans couldn’t capture John McCain’s vote on healthcare, basically asking if Trump still liked heroes who weren’t captured. A friend of mine since high school suggested I stick to what I know, which I assume is sports, and stop acting like I’m Jared Kushner or The Mooch. Man, seriously, it is a tough climate, I don’t know how social studies teachers negotiate a world with so many sensitive souls.

Maybe they just talk about sports figures like Colin Kaepernick, an issue worthy of discussion in the classroom, but I’m not finding much dialogue on Kaepernick, just a lot of hard feelings by people who disagree.

Snippets - The saga of my blue chair took on an abandonment theme last Wednesday after I left my chair at Pop Warner practice while on assignment, but when I returned the following Tuesday, it was inside the concession stand.

I have left all kinds of things behind in my sports career and every time, from jackets to digital recorders to expensive cameras, someone picks it up and holds it for me. Sports people are pretty nice. Zach Dale was a stud football player last season at Cape, 6-feet-1, 210 pounds, he can catch it and play linebacker inside. He wore No. 10, and the lefty can keep his number if the trial to play him at quarterback is successful.

Zach is one of those instinctive players who understands pace by position. This should be interesting. Practice begins Tuesday, Aug. 15. Aaron Burton, son of the late Anthony Burton and Ella Floyd Burton, was second-team all-state in basketball at Concord in 2011 and a medalist in the state golf tournament.

Aaron golfed his four years at Adelphi University. Aaron was a collegiate All-Conference in golf and an academic all-conference selection. He made his professional debut in the Delaware Open at Bear Trap Dunes Golf course in Ocean View on Monday.

His cousin Aarin Burton served as his caddy. After a dismal Monday of heavy rain, Aaron fought his way back but missed the cut by one stroke. Aaron, with a degree in accounting from Adelphi, is the golf pro at the Baltimore Country Club. Go on now, git! 

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