Turn and run, and even the lap dogs will give chase

July 20, 2012
Jackie Gleason left center stage with "a little traveling music."

A little traveling music - Comedian Jackie Gleason back in the days of black-and-white television always cued the band “A little traveling music, please” before exiting the stage, his arms and palms extended like he was flying. Funny fat guys are hilarious when their feet get happy. The much-discussed Cape softball major league travel ball versus town ball conflict - you can’t be two places at once - was won by travel because the tournament is closer, in Salisbury, Md., and more games are guaranteed.  You just can’t move on to Little League Eastern Regionals - they're in Bristol, Conn. this year - with six players. Democratic families caucus and make decisions, although most families are more like benevolent dictatorships when pushing comes to shoving. I will say that as travel softball has gotten bigger, the overall depth of quality of high school softball has gotten worse. I find that strange and hard to explain.

Children at work - Watching young athletes, boys and girls 14 and under, playing team or individual sports, I hear a common refrain, which I don’t accept: They have worked so hard; they deserve something. I absolutely never thought in my athletic career leading into eighth grade that “I worked so hard.” Rather, I was just out there playing, sometimes under the direction of a relentless and sadistic coach who wouldn’t let me drink water during a 90-degree practice because that was a sign of weakness.  I question the idea that any child short of a driver’s license deserves recognition because he or she has “worked so hard.” Hey, go mow the lawn and wash the family cars and clean up the dog vomit on the kitchen floor if you wan t recognition! I’m the sports editor of a great community newspaper, and I can honestly say that Cape community kids get more coverage and recognition than kids in other places who work so hard or hardly work at all. Kids playing sports inspire a community; they are a joy to cover and report about, but it's not because they work so hard and deserve to be recognized. Their job is to play. If it becomes work, they should wear a neon vest.

Sectarian to subliminal - Looks like granddaughter Anna will be playing lacrosse for the Owls and coach Bonnie Rosen. Cape coach P.J. Kesmodel with me standing nearby anchored by a walker asked Anna, "Did the fact Fredman went there influence your decision?” Anna replied, “Maybe subliminally?” I reflected back to a campus visit in spring 1964 walking with basketball coach Harry Litwack and trainer Teddy Quedenfeld. “Good thing about Temple is it's nonsectarian,” Teddy said. “That is a good thing,” I said. “Do you know what that means?” Teddy said. “Yes, it means if you get hurt they can’t take your scholarship.” Both men thought I was so funny; little did they realize I was dead serious. Nonsectarian means not affiliated or restricted to any religion, although many people are fooled by the name Temple and the 20,000 Jewish students.

Prince of Pot-Nets - A long time ago I had nicknamed Dan Gaffney of WGMD the Prince of Pot-Nets and once referenced his show as the Morning Metamucil program. That provoked an agitated person to call and complain “What's wrong with Metamucil? I take it every day.” On a few occasions I was lined up in the crosshairs on the program, with nameless people angrily calling in at 6 a.m. saying I should be fired, who did I think I was and what the heck was I talking about, anyway? Dan would call me at home. I didn’t hesitate to come on the air live and unprepared - just like my first-period class - and say “I stand behind nothing I write, but stand in front of it." Grandmom Rose: "Turn and run, and even the lap dogs will chase you, nipping at your heels and ankles. Stand and face your adversaries and be the first one to move in, kick them in the head and shout, 'What’s my name?’”

Snippets - Aug. 2 is a magical date when all head high school coaches must stop coaching their kids beyond two at a time. These rules are so strange and so easy to end run, I just wish all restrictions would be lifted. I also wish the “You can always return to the mother ship” transfer rule would go into effect so that Cape kids could always come home without dragging their grandmoms into some waiver hearing. The No. 1 women’s sport in the United States in terms of participation is soccer. College field hockey and women’s lacrosse are played in the fall and spring respectively, with lacrosse exploding with new programs while field hockey is static, or so I’ve read in nonscientific studies. A ruptured quadriceps tendon has me on the operating table July 20; I just hope when I come out of anesthesia I don’t call people names like I’ve done in the past. Go on now, git!

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