Hallways to home: Tony and Bobby in the house

January 12, 2018

Byways and hallways - Proper professional decorum, along with no yelling, cheering or coaching, are the rules of the road for press boxes and scoring tables. Fans belong in the stands, but volunteers often have blood in the game and it’s hard to keep them quiet, and that includes media types like myself. The scoring table at home Beacon wrestling matches is run by the principal, my son Dave, with help from students. A broad-shouldered Selbyville dad was on Dave’s right keeping their book. Beacon won the meet 69-19, but each match is its own story. A few times Selbyville Dad went off, screaming, “Now pin him!” After the match, I asked Dave, “Who was the Selbyville guy doing their book and  going off?” “That was Tony Hall,” Dave said. They were his sons Hayden at 112 (defeated Carson Kammerer) and Dalton at 170 who defeated Kevin Leonard. “Tony warned me when he sat down, ‘I’m yelling when my kids wrestle,’” Dave said. Tony, now 54 years old, owns a gym in Fenwick. He was a player on Cape’s 1979 state championship football team. He has been coaching football and inside a gym every year since. He came up after the match to say hello and brought his dad, the legendary Bobby “The Barber” Hall, now deep into his 80s. Bobby, always a gruff and tough guy, said to me, “I am so sorry that you lost your son. I read what you wrote and it made me cry.” He added, “You’ve been a great leader and role model for your family.” And Tony is an energetic trip. I reflected and realized I’ve known Tony and Bobby 40 years, both tough guys with soft hearts. 

Big boys’ game - The Cape boys’ basketball team (7-2) will play a huge game at Smyrna Friday night against the 8-1 Eagles. The two teams met the first game of the season at Cape with Smyrna winning 64-55. The Eagles are the defending state champions. Cape last beat Smyrna in 2016 at Smyrna 47-46 behind sophomores Randy Rickards and Ian Robertson, who are now star seniors.  

Divisional weekend - It’s the best weekend of the NFL season, with four money games, two on Saturday and another doubleheader on Sunday. The Eagles host the Falcons Saturday afternoon. The smart money stays in your wallet, but the Las Vegas odds have the sixth-seeded Falcons as three-point favorites over the No. 1 overall seed Eagles. Eagles fans better see a better team than they did post Carson Wentz injury or the spread will be 10. I’m predicting a Broad Street Brawl with the Eagles winning the game. Remember back in the day when safety Andre Waters suggested naming the Eagles defense the South Philly Mobsters and management responded, “Are you crazy?” The mobsters need to show up in South Philly on Saturday. The Titans are 13-point dogs at New England Saturday night. The Titans can find their team on the internet under “the worst team left in the playoffs.” This would be the greatest upset since Jimmy Garoppolo was shipped to San Francisco. Jacksonville at Pittsburgh kicks off Sunday’s games. Bet the Ale House and a case of Iron City on the Steelers to cover a spread of seven, but not nine. The Saints are four-and-a-half-point underdogs at Minnesota. If I knew how to bet, I’d throw a hundred and a bag of dog food on the Saints. Bag of dog food? I’ll never forget one NFC Championship Sunday, when coach Bud Grant of Minnesota was buying dog food at 8 a.m. at the local hardware store. Just keeping it real. Grant is still living at 90. He played briefly for the Eagles and also played in the NBA for the Lakers. Grant’s Vikings lost in four Super Bowls. Back in 1969, the Vikings practiced how to stand during the national anthem, that is how regimented the Vikings approached game-day football. 

Snippets - People have asked me, “Who is going to be the new football coach at Cape?” And I usually respond, “Your guess is as good as mine.” But probably my guess is better, however. Riding a high-speed train down a track that bends left then right requires caution, dare I say prudence. It’s important to slow down and make the right decision. I’m hearing interviews in January. Cape wrestling got double-decker housed at Smyrna 62-9 Jan. 10. Cape’s Royuan Jones, 160, won by decision and Jonah Robertson won by pin at 285. Enjoy the slush and slop all day Friday, then kick back in the bonus room of your dreams for some weekend playoff football. Go on now, git!