Delaware Special Olympics: A healthy dose of perspective
Subjective selective snubbing - Post-season awards and All Solar Team accolades but only Intergalactic Honorable Mention always leaves more people feeling bad than good because all that stuff is so subjective and somewhat political, but it’s impossible not to buy into it. Last fall I personally thought the all-state field hockey selections were so outrageously skewed with strange selections that I refused to even look at the team in print. The problem with Little League all-stars and high school all-conference and all-state selections starts with coaches pushing for their own best players and sometimes ends with parents rocking the “Can you believe who made it?” commentary, which is never admirable. I’d encourage all athletes and parents to attend the Delaware Special Olympics June 7 and 8 at the University of Delaware. I find it exhilarating and a good healthy dose of perspective - something about the joy of competition that sometimes gets lost in competitive athletics.
Relative perspective - Most relatives outside the fence of competition watching their blood play in a hotly contested sports contest are borderline personality out of their minds, but I can only speak for myself. I am the master of perspective when I have no skin in the game, but otherwise I’m just like everyone else. Coaches put themselves out there, and it certainly is not about the money or recognition; that is why I defend coaches if the post-game discourse gets chippy. There are so many back stories on a high school or youth sports team, just getting them to the field is sometimes its own miracle.
A full and two 20s - I mean really, how many time outs does a team need? The final minutes of NBA playoff games slow to a crawl. I find it so annoying, I have left games that were tied with two minutes remaining to see if there’s anything on the other 900 channels that is intellectually stimulating, and of course there is not. The Heat and the Spurs will play for the championship, so why not fast forward past these conference finals and let them get after each other?
Play year round - Ursuline lacrosse coach Lauren Berg said to me after her Raiders lost to Cape 20-7 in the semifinals of the state tournament, “Cape has so many highly skilled players, and they play 365 days a year. We don’t have that at our school.” Actually, 13 varsity players on the Cape lacrosse roster were also on the state championship field hockey team in the fall. College coaches prefer athletes who play multiple sports, so I’m told, and the majority of the best ones do just that.
Negative recruiting - I went to Temple on a basketball scholarship but in spring of freshman year was sold out to the football coach, who looked me in the eyes and said, “I’ve seen you play basketball, Frederick, and you ain’t no basketball player.” I have never told an athlete what they ain’t in order to steer them in my direction. But it still happens, and athletes never buy into it and really don’t like it. “I think you can excel and make a great contribution to our team, and we will certainly be better with you on the roster,” is a good place to start.
Whippet baby - I don’t care if a Rottweiler goes on a vegan diet and runs seven miles every morning, it will never be whippet fit. It will just look like a haggard German guard dog. Nutrition is the major component for fitness, way more important than any workout regimen, but you can’t change body type. I’m amazed when people lose like 15 pounds from their heads - what is that all about? OK, Trainer Fred is done for now.
Snippets - I go to most road races and take photos because running is the No. 1 participation sport in our community, and I like and admire the people who do it. As is the case with all adults in elective misery sports, people don’t know what is necessarily good for them to do, but what they compulsively need to do; it’s a reaffirmation of being alive.
Golfer Sergio Garcia dropped a “fried chicken” on Tiger Woods, then apologized, saying, “I’m not a racist” and I would add, “You ain’t funny, either.” Everyone from Popeye to Colonel Sanders had weighed in on this. I know I’ve fielded my share of sauerkraut jokes. There was the television commercial, “Germans don’t do comedy; Germans do beer,” which is insulting because back when I was a player, the more beer I drank the funnier I got, so I’m told. Go on now, git!