Fighting for perspective while fighting for a championship

The magic is in the moment while the memories never fade
November 17, 2017

Fighting for perspective - "The race doesn't always go to the fastest man, but sometimes goes to the man who thinks he can." The doubleheader at DE Turf Nov. 14 featured four hockey teams “running down a dream.” All great storylines. I am left with only dumb questions and commentaries. Loser is the wrong word to describe the teams that didn't win, as both Dover and Polytech had seasons of great achievement, solidifying bonds that last a lifetime. Sussex Tech barely made the tournament, then knocked off two higher seeds to reach the final, while Cape’s team has fought off their back from a slow start and is now flying around playing their best hockey. On Saturday, Nov. 18, both teams (ST and Cape) will bring their "insane games" to the final. It's a time to look around and take a deep breath, to etch the sights and sounds and friendships into lasting memories. I walked off the sidelines at Franklin Field in 1963 after Bishop Egan won the Philadelphia Catholic League Championship. An assistant coach grabbed my arm and said, “Stop and look around at the stadium, the fans and your teammates, and never forget that you were here." I'm there right now. It's not about championships, but championship moments.

Keep your heads up - “You guys have nothing to be ashamed of. Your team had a great season. We just want you to know we love you and are so proud of you and that the sun will come up tomorrow.” “Thanks, Mom, can we stop at Wawa on the way home? And can I go into school late tomorrow?” “Yes on the Wawa, and no on the late, you cute little slacker.” Getting caught inside someone else’s celebration is a tough place to be in sports, and getting rocked is an experience best avoided, but it happens. Athletes and parents often search for an explanation, “What was that all about?” I’ll never forget Cape’s Sarah May back in 2010, a senior straight off the swim team to starting goalie in Cape lacrosse. Sarah was ranked third in her class, a person who smiled without provocation. Her first scrimmage was versus the McDonough School, who threw 25 goals into her guarded cage. After each shot, Sarah retrieved the ball, rolled it back onto the field and stood ready to defend again. Later that spring, she made some monster saves as Cape won a second straight state championship. Telling a globally gifted person like Sarah to “keep your head up” was just “wasted words so absurd.” - Allman Brothers Band.  

The world wobbles - “Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name.” I was in the press box at the Vet when the Eagles lost the NFC championship game to the Tampa Bay Bucs. I was at the Linc when the Birds lost to the Carolina Panthers in the title game the following year. I learned to walk to my car employing the hangdog posture, eyes downcast, sloping shoulders, just too many drunks in bad moods. I have no expectations that the 8-1 Eagles are going to dominate the 5-4 Cowboys this Sunday during “Football Night in America.” I’m prepared for Dallas to get off the deck and bring the drama back to Philadelphia. The NFL is professional wrestling, except for the ball, chain gang and video replays – OK, it’s nothing like it – except the storylines are often dope – as in a serial soap opera. We fans will see Sunday night just how “The World Turns.”  

Snippets - I have always said there is more interest in who will be the football coach than who actually is the football coach. The amateurs with expert opinions aren’t at Tuesday practice on a cold afternoon; they aren’t in the school keeping 70 players on task in the classroom and free from conflict, all day every day, and a million other things. Cape will begin to look hard at who will replace Bill Collick as the school’s football coach, and suffice it to say, we are talking a public school, not a pro franchise or even major college job. The salary scale is locked in, and finding a vacancy in a particular teaching area can be problematic. The depth of field hockey and girls’ lacrosse talent at Cape does not push into basketball, and neither does volleyball. The Cape girls may not have enough players to field a junior varsity team. Upstate, it plays out differently, but mostly the volleyball and basketball powers can’t hang with Cape in field hockey and lacrosse, except for Tower Hill. Go on now, git!

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