Mikey Saez was a natural at building up others

June 7, 2013
Mikey and Juan Saez. If you know them, this is funny. Just great family and community guys.

Mikey Magic - I hung with the Cape custodians on graduation night Tuesday outside the fence, asking them if I too could have a blue shirt with my name on the pocket. Mikey Saez said, "You don’t need a name tag, Fredman, everybody knows who you are.” Later I joked, "You know what you call a 67-year-old grandfather with a blue tooth? A poser.” Mikey said, "Fredman, you set the trend. The people who follow you, they are the posers.” Mikey could do that for people who are not fishing for compliments. He did it for Jack Redefer when he played quarterback for Mariner Middle, built the kid up to believe in himself. But it was no coaching tactic, that’s the way he was, just loved all the athletes that ran in his world, from teammates at Cape in football and lacrosse to kids he coached to his own children. I believe in continuance, not finality, the endurance of the spirit. Mikey and Priscilla have suddenly gone someplace else; there’s a hole straight through the heart of our community, but if you listen to all the stories about Mikey and Priscilla Saez, you just smile though your heart is breaking. The social network of Facebook is filled with tributes and remembrances to this couple who I’m sure had no idea how many people loved them for making us feel better about ourselves. Anyone at a loss for what to do just go out and help a kid and give yourself to the community.

Sports spelling bee - "The word is Anfernee.” "Could you use that in a sentence, please?” “Anfernee, who was drafted in the first round by Orlando, was better known as Penny.” “Origin?” “Anthony.” “Other information please.” “Raised by his grandmother who was hooked on phonics.” I think this has possibilities if you want to keep the National Spelling Bee on ESPN. I really don’t know why the competition is dominated by American school children with India as a country of ancestry; one person explained to me that Indian was the new Chinese (SAT joke book). I found a book “None in a Billion” about the lack of athletes in India. But wait! There is a 15-year-old in India named Balbir Singh Bhamara who is 7-2 and can play; some call him the Yao Ming of India. It gets worse. The NBA somehow owns all the rights to professional basketball in India. The Global Village is a strange place indeed. Just call Comcast for technical support.

Soccer is subtle - Soccer is pretty basic. You have this big old white ball and a gigantic net and only the goalie can use his hands. Each team tries to kick the ball into the goal while the other team tries to stop them. Teams stocked with fluid and graceful athletes rarely score. American fans not schooled in the beauty and intricacies of the game have a problem staying riveted to a 1-0 extra time soccer game, but not me.  I can watch good soccer all day long throwing in a few naps just like baseball. The Henlopen Soccer Club U12 Sharks won the First State Cup and are headed to a five-day regional competition in Rhode Island June 27. These young athletes can all really play. The five-day tournament will cost the club about $8,000. Donations are appreciated and can be mailed to Henlopen Soccer Club, P.O. Box 384, Nassau, DE 19969. Please note Team Sharks in the memo.

Tennis, anyone - Kicking back, watching French Open tennis on television at 7 a.m. on a weekday. My wife asked, “You’re watching women’s tennis?” then hears a few injured puppy whimpers and says, "Nevermind, Sharapova.”

Snippets - Grand Mom Rose: “Graduating from high school is only notable if you don’t.” But it’s so much more than that, Rose. It’s a passage point that represents 12 years of history and God knows what kinds of family struggles. Hope is high on graduation night and let’s face it, there are people who graduated last week that are already on self-destruct mode. I saw some on Tuesday night that looked toasted with that puff daddy face thing going on. Fredman’s prescription for success: “Keep things out of your body that don’t belong there and always tell the truth.” Go on now, git!

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