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Magical realism runs through the Independence Day race

Maya and Mari born on Fourth of July two generations apart
July 7, 2017

Magical realism - Chilean-American author Isabel Allende, who wrote “The House of the Spirits,” reacted when gazing upon her granddaughter for the very first time, "Quickly, tell me where you come from before you forget." Maya Yngve, born on the Fourth of July just like her late grandmother Mari, turned 9 on Independence Day and celebrated by running the Red, White & Blue 5K with her mother. Mari Vehvilainen Phillips passed away Aug. 17,  2011, the same day Maya’s brother Jackson was born. There is no before and after in the House of the Spirits, there is only the interconnectedness of now. That is magical realism, and if there were ever a magical child, it is Maya. Thanks to Wendy Adams, Carla Yngve’s friend and my finish-line buddy, for connecting this story and knowing I would like it. 

Go for it or yield? - I sit on a blue chair platform snapping photos of road race finishes. I have seen a million runners cross over; most are cool, many are frantic. I once saw newlyweds, gorged on adrenaline, powering stride for stride in race mode, no lovey-dovey, sappy soulmate stuff. The Great Santini hubby got there first and seemed overjoyed with himself. I told him, “Buddy, when your heart rate stabilizes, come talk to me, you have some life lessons to learn, starting now.” Rick Poppleton, 64, is always spry and light-footed at the end of a race, but he always backs off and allows those near him to cross the finish line first. At the Red, White & Blue 5K July 4 at Rehoboth Beach Country Club, Chris Stanley, 48, a great guy who runs all the races, was striding while staring down the finish line. Chris was unaware that Moiber Rivera, 29, was on his left shoulder. Moiber just stayed there - cool and classy - it’s called sportsmanship - and Stanley crossed first, but the final computerized tabulations had Rivera just ahead of Chris because the computer chip reads the start and finish, so the tortoise and hare parable doesn’t work if they have chips on their ankles. And yes, turtles have ankles. I looked it up, which tells you something about my life.  

Who tracks travel ball - All sports have summer “travel teams,” although baseball and softball are most identified with the term “travel ball.” Little league all-stars and travel ball teams often have conflicts in schedules, and many players just don’t play all-stars or town ball, it’s just not where the action is; although, it is where the community interest lies. Everyone local was loving the two state championship hardball teams from Milton last summer who later played in the Eastern Regionals on ESPN. The Cape junior league all-stars opened tournament play July 5, losing to Nanticoke/Laurel 16-0. I admit that got my attention because I know there’s plenty of baseball talent coming up. I just don’t know where it’s ending up. 

Ravens get a good kid - Veteran coaches refer to those in their 20s as kids. Sussex Tech just hired Mia Paltrineri to teach physical education and coach field hockey and lacrosse. Mia is in her 20s and gets rave reviews from the coaches who know her. She most recently coached at Appoquinimink, where she was assistant field hockey coach and head lacrosse coach. Her college career started at CW Post, where she played hockey and lacrosse; then a year at Wesley, where she played lacrosse; and finished up at West Chester. I can certainly relate to changes on the fly. Sussex Tech was 9-6 in field hockey last year, then lost to Tower Hill in the tournament before Tower beat Cape to end the Vikings’ streak of 100 straight wins against Delaware teams. Sussex Tech needs those field hockey and lacrosse girls as part of their school profile, and the hiring of Paltrineri will help attract stellar student-athletes. 

Snippets - I watched the Under Armour high school girls’ lacrosse all-star game on ESPN last week because Cape’s Eddy Shoop was one of the 44 players chosen for the experience of a lifetime soon trumped by high school finally being over when the game ends. The announcers were over-the-top selling the game played at Towson’s Tiger Stadium in front of no one as, “such an honor they will remember forever.” I’ve watched more college women’s lacrosse than a little bit the last four years; some players are astoundingly good and all are pretty good, but most just want to be student-athletes who play a sport then graduate before getting on with their lives. “Just get along with it all where the people say y’all.” - John Prine. Go on now, git!

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