Football all-stars back on the pitch 50 years later

June 25, 2013
Joe Lobiondo, a Blue Team all-star in 1963, played for Archmere. BY DAVE FREDERICK

Dogs barking - Two minutes left in the first half of the Blue Gold All-Star game played inside the Tub rimmed by Delaware Stadium. I dropped onto the bench and said to the stranger next to me, “I’m not getting up, I don’t care what happens out there.” The man looked at me like I was about to go Tony Soprano, saying with concern in his voice, “Oh, you're going to be OK, maybe you just need a moment.” “I need a foot masseuse but I’m not sure they make them," I said. “My dogs are barking, so please don’t paddle me, I’ll be fine.”

Fifty-year reunion - Guys who played in the 1963 Blue Gold All-Star game were invited guests for the 2013 Blue Gold game. The announcer called them to the center of the field but no individual names or bios. Many were wearing their all-star jerseys. It was cool - average age about 68, most of them grandfathers and then some. But c’mon, man, find out who's there and read their names; otherwise they are just some old guys in the middle of the field like me, the oldest photojournalist still standing. Joe Lobiondo of Lewes was there with his 1963 jersey. Joe played his high school football at Archmere. Those guys were beaming with pride, and many looked like they could still hurt you.

Tall drink of water - Each school in Delaware gets an ambassador to the game but not all send one. I met the tallest ambassador in the history of the game, a 6-foot-9 basketball player, Nate Foggy of Wilmington Christian. I mentioned to Nate that I knew his athletic director, Joe Thomson, and Nate said, "Oh man, he’s a great guy. I really like him.” Nate is headed to Biola University, a private Christian college in southern Los Angeles.

Buddies for life - Blue team head coach Joe Aviola played in the all-star game when he was a senior in high school in 1982,  and his buddy was Michael McNesby. Michael, who has been a buddy a lot of years, was at the game Saturday night and accompanied coach Aviola through the tunnel but showed no inclination to walk all the way to the 50-yard line, breaking off at the 20. Michael is a true character.

Snippets - Madi Smith, a Cape basketball player entering 10th grade, is the undisputed best player in the building. Last week in summer league she sustained a serious knee injury and unofficial reports are using those ugly words like ACL and MCL and meniscus. Hoping for the best for this great kid and player.

The official starter for the 18th Bill Degnan 5K on June 23 was Shanel Dickens, the daughter of Mikey and Priscilla Saez, tragically taken from all of us June 5 in a car accident. Shanel, a middle distance track star entering her sophomore year at Delaware, was a 2012 winner of the Bill Degnan Faith In Human Spirit Award. “I’m doing OK," Shanel said. "It was just so sudden and so sad.” I was friends with Bill Degnan and Mikey Saez, two guys who could make people smile on the grayest of days.

The Beach Blast girls' lacrosse tournament at Cape Henlopen sponsored by Under Armour will be held over three days, June 28, 29 and 30. Last year, 62 teams participated in the inaugural tournament. Coaches Courtney Vaughn and Sue Murphy return again to run the tournament. The Eastern Shore Lacrosse Club with four age-group teams has participated in three tournaments since the close of the high school season.

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