A cast of community characters circled around Kevin LeMaire

At the 1985 Cape lacrosse banquet are (l-r) Cape librarian Judy Roberts, Kevin LeMaire and Brett Gardner.  LeMaire was team MVP. SOURCE THE WHALE
July 24, 2012

Olive branch - “You can judge the character of a man by the company he keeps.” - Euripides

Kevin LeMaire sure knew a lot of characters during his Delaware life of 44 years; in fact, he knew them all. The kookier the characters, the more Kevin liked them. A solid, stand-up teacher of world history, a storyteller who listened before speaking, he worked at Caesar Rodney then later at Cape, and students always spoke fondly of “Mr. LeMaire.”  He was liked and respected, knew his stuff and held kids accountable. I worked in the same department at Cape and never heard a kid say a bad word about him. They all seemed genuinely happy if through luck of the draw they landed Kevin as a teacher. And Kevin rarely said a discouraging word about anyone else, although he had a knack for setting a trap and getting you to say it for him. He spent 30 years as a shack rat on Olive Avenue. When times were slow, a friend could always go hang with Kevin at his shack. Small group therapy sessions occurred every day. Kevin just had that talent of bringing people out, laughing at their jokes, making their observations seem insightful, and he would always hang back and not make it about him. His lacrosse teammate of 1985, Brett Gardner, sent everyone a Whale article showing Kevin as MVP of the boys' lacrosse team. I had forgotten that, and I think I wrote it. He was all about his family: wife Kari; three children, Korrine, Karissa and Kaleb made the domicile a virtual Kmart. When Kaleb, who wrestled for Caesar Rodney, won the state wrestling championship at Cape last February, all the Cape students stayed to cheer him on, and I know that meant the world to Kevin.  A good man of 44, gone too soon for sure, but every summer day for the last 30 years he got to look at the ocean and “beach it” with his friends and family. The same tourists  came to his beach, some through two generations. No one employed on the beach scene was more gregarious and selfless. Great guy, great life, godspeed.

Dog talk - Yucking it up - how ironic - in same-day surgery staging area last Friday morning at Beebe, everyone wanted to weigh in on the “You slipped in dog vomit” midnight mishap that resulted in my severing my one and only right quadriceps tendon. I had Dr. Choy on surgery and Dr. Fanto on anesthesia, so I was supremely confident with absolutely no anxiety. There must have been a half dozen people around my gurney as the male nurse asked me a series of inane and bland questions, finishing with “When did you have your last bowel movement?” I thought everyone in the group should answer that but instead they all looked at me. Then he went on about his 17-year old mini-poodle that had died and how his dad constructed a casket, complete with dovetailing and a liner and that's when I interrupted. “The one word you don't say to a guy being wheeled into surgery is 'casket.'” Dr. Choy looked up from the medical chart in front of him and said, "Don't worry, you won't be left out. We can get his dad to make you one.” "Man," I thought. “Choy is funnier than me.” Got home the same day, Irish green full leg cast, and I'm guessing that nurse picked the color. Darby Dog has no remorse, just keeps following me around hoping for a ride in the pickup truck. That is far down the road, but I am thankful to all the imaging people, nurses and doctors who helped me out from a catastrophic injury under ridiculous circumstances.

Get in the hole! - You know you are a wanker when you scream “Get in the hole!” after a golf shot, hoping your voice goes around the world. You are a person that millions would like a chance to kill. I watched the British Open - all of it, being hobbled - and I'd say it's like watching the Weather Channel with a little white ball. That Saint Anne's course had 18 holes and 250 moon craters scattered about and all that annoying tall fescue and sandy, soggy soil. A teenager would call that course stupid, and so would I. It was part skill but more a challenge of who could get through four rounds without dropping multiple f-bombs. Ernie Els ate a sandwich and talked on his cell phone waiting for a possible playoff, but the lords of destiny had a different fate in store for Adam Scott. Sorry for your bad luck, mate.

Town versus travel - Little League baseball and softball are dying on the vine across the country in places where they care about it and travel ball is taking its place. There is just not enough quality competition in Little League, so if you have a 10-year-old with talent and the parents have sufficient discretionary funds, the kid goes to travel, providing he or she can make a team because travel is about quality and winning, not player development. I've known high school soccer players to miss a school game because of an intergalactic soccer tournament. Some coaches give permission; otherwise, they would lose some great players. The sports landscape is changing, like it or not. My bottom line is “Can you hang a state championship banner at your high school?” because the community of nonrelated people could not care less about travel, club, futures and national tournaments. Bring us a state championship if you want to hit the marquee at the Grand Slam.

Snippets - Milton defeated Lower Sussex 9-3 to win the Pat Knight 9- and 10-year-old tournament. The Cape Senior League, coached by Ukee Johnson, won the District 3 championship. I am nonambulatory, or else I would be out there. The Eastern Shore girls' lax team 2013-14 went 4-0 at last weekend's Richmond tournament, which is all about recruiting except coaches aren't allowed to talk to players. Yes, it sounds dumb because it is. Go on now, git!