Symmetry and synchronicity the secret of Smyrna basketball

Eagles fans swim in the angst tank of trepidation
December 29, 2017

Smyrna - Equals symmetry and synchronicity. Hovering above the Cape Big House court along the endline Dec. 27 watching Smyrna take Howard apart 86-53 in game one of the Slam Dunk to the Beach three-day carnival, I was certainly impressed by the talent, but more appreciative of the unselfish team play. And that is what makes the Eagles the team to beat in Delaware. Jaymeir Garnett and Caleb Matthews each had double-doubles in points and rebounds, while Matthews also added 10 assists. Smyrna had 21 assists as a team. Coach Andrew Mears has his team playing like a good lacrosse team, and the win over Howard was their 23rd in a row.

Angst, no thanks - A feeling of persistent worry about something trivial. The Philadelphia Eagles are 13-2, which earned them a bye and home-field advantage up to the Super Bowl in Minnesota. Based on the last three games, the Eagles have gone from sure shots to long shots. Young fans are anxious, while old-school fans are comfortably swimming in the angst tank of trepidation. Somebody good is showing up in three weeks. It will be either the Rams or the Saints. The more favorable matchup is the Rams only because Drew Brees of the Saints is likely to carve up the Eagles secondary then leave town singing “Crescent City” by Lucinda Williams. But playoff games never go according to the script, and that is the pathway for Philly, to win left-handed and win ugly.

Undercover exterminators - I have a nephew who now lives in Canada. I never see him, but some years back he worked at Purdue University with a group of sociologists who posed as roach exterminators going into apartments and houses to get rid of roaches, but all the while recording data on the people to see if there was a human pattern of behavior for people who attracted roaches. I was watching Purdue play Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl Dec. 27 – at least they told the players it was a bowl game – and I remember my nephew Brett was a certified roach researcher from Purdue and thought, “I can work this into a column item.”  

Lightweights - Wrestling coaches have a totally different perspective on what it means to be fat, especially on the far side of Christmas break when even the less than 10 percent body fat lightweights bump up a weight class after burying their heads inside a tin of chocolate chip cookies. “A lack of discipline,” perhaps, but most moms like to fatten up their boys; it’s just what they do – except at matches, when they can be found yelling, “Lock it up! Squeeze it! Chest to chest!”   

Anonymous at Wawa - All primetime athletes are a few years or one serious injury away from being anonymous at any Wawa up and down the highways, byways and flyways inside your migratory niche, you free-range chickens. Self-esteem cannot be tied only to sports, because all stars fade. Just try selling an “I was so great in high school” story at the Wawa coffee counter or at the Big Gulp machine. Substitute Royal Farms here if you like, but Wawa is always funnier in the middle of a sentence.

Snippets - Ceremonial Sen. Ernie Lopez poses for tipoff photo prior to first Slam Dunk game. Enough photographers gather to form a Unified team in the tournament, all that’s needed are some players who can make a basket. I look in the stands and there are stories waiting to be retold. I see John Roope, a member of Cape’s state championship  basketball teams (1974-75). John was a good player, came in off the bench, and 42 years later he’s the guy in the stands from that team watching basketball. I see George Parks, a stellar athlete from Jason High. George never lost a long jump in high school and was Division II state champion back before consolidation in the final years of segregation. The Seashore Striders Race into the New Year 5K starts at high noon Dec. 31 on the Rehoboth Boardwalk, just east of the Bandstand. The seventh annual Hair of the Dog 10K followed by 5K in Bethany Beach is set for Monday, Jan. 1, and the races are followed by the Eskimo Plunge at noon. The 10K starts at 8:45 a.m., followed by the 5K at 10 a.m., and, yes, some crazy runners do both followed by jumping in the ocean. You can’t trump total craziness, all politics aside. The Lewes Polar Bears will “jump” on New Year’s Day at 1 p.m. at Cape Henlopen State Park. The forecast for Sunday and Monday says highs of 25 with northwest winds blowing 20 for a wind chill factor of just plain stupid. Go on now, git!

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