Don’t assume DeWalts, Wallaces are NASCAR fans

June 28, 2013
The DeWalt/Wallace clan runs a race as a birthday present. BY DAVE FREDERICK

NASCAR assumption - I see a family on Sunday morning at the beach, all of them ready to run the Bill Degnan 5K, all dressed in the same tie-dyed shirts with names like DeWalt and Wallace on the back and right away I’m thinking NASCAR fans. But as usual my keen powers of observation and conclusion were totally off base like Lonnie Smith in the 1980 World Series rounding third and heading for home before slipping and being tagged out. This was a family all running to celebrate the 27th birthday of Shannon Wallace, who lives in Catonsville, Md.

Here we have baby Addy Lynn DeWalt, Jeanann DeWalt, Dave DeWalt, Kelli DeWalt, Kyle Latham, Shannon Wallace, Linda Wallace, Katie Wallace, Jim Wallace, Jeff Zankowitz and Patrick Wallace. Bailey the dog is in the four-legged ground.

Who’s he think he is? -  There is something about the name Worcester Country Day School Mallards - now Worcester Prep - that has never struck fear in the hearts of Cape lacrosse players even though the Mallards have taken many a bite out of the Vikings, and if you’ve ever been bitten by an angry duck, it is weirdly frightening. The Mallard men were at Cape circa 1990 leading Cape at halftime with their ripped, fit 50-year-old coach going off not in a bad way, but still he was a pretty aggressive, non-stop Pop Pop. I asked two Worcester girls at the scoring table, “That coach of yours, who does he think he is?" "Oh, coach Jerry Schmidt. He was a three-time All-American attackman at Hopkins, won three national titles as head coach at Hobart and coached at the Naval Academy, Cornell and Princeton and also coaches the U.S. national team.” “Oh, is that all?” I said. “No, he is also the only lacrosse player ever on the cover of Sports Illustrated [1962].” “Yeah, well, besides all that, who does he think he is?” Schmidt lived in Ocean Pines, Md., in retirement. Coach Jerry Schmidt died in 2004 from complications of diabetes; he was 64 years old. He is survived by six children and 15 grandchildren. I was only joking when I asked, “Who does your coach think he is?” but it was the greatest and most unexpected answer ever.

Beach Blast lax tournament - The Cape Henlopen High School campus will be the site of the second Beach Blast girls' lacrosse tournament Friday to Sunday, June 28 to 30. The event is sponsored by Under Armour. There are 40 clubs registered to play, but some clubs have as many as four age-group teams. These types of tournaments have become the major venues where college coaches come to watch and evaluate emerging talent. The sport of women’s lacrosse has exploded in popularity, not just regionally but nationally, as more and more colleges are mining these tournaments for talented players. Academic grades are seldom a problem with lacrosse girls; not sure why that is (I'm lying), but recruiting kids is so much easier when the athletes have good grades and test scores.

Snippets - Fame and fortune don’t change the underlying person who achieves both, and here comes Aaron Hernandez, a famous and wealthy, clinically paranoid sociopathic thug to teach us all that lesson once again. I have been in the company of big and strong drunk or drugged-out slightly paranoid muscled males who have achieved sports prominence, and many are hypersensitive to respect they think they are entitled to, but money and muscles can’t erase stupid. The debate rages on - maybe rages is too strong a word, lingers may be better - should a high school athlete play more than one sport if  he or she can only earn a scholarship in one? Do colleges really care if a kid is well-rounded? We’ll never know because it is impossible to extract the candid truth from coaches encumbered by so many rules of contact they are afraid to talk to anyone about anything of substance.

The Phillies are just mediocre enough to lure me into watching them once in a while. But how about the Pirates, 48-30 in the National League Central tied with the Cardinals and the Reds chasing them at 45-34. Does Elroy Face still close for them? Face was 18-1 in 1959 as a closer, invented the fork ball and saved three games in the 1960 World Series win over the Yankees. Here's the best part: he retired and became a carpenter. Amazing lives we all live. Go on now, git!

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