Money Ball: The travel and camp culture costs major jack

Annie Judge scores a goal for the Eastern Shore Lacrosse 2018 team on day one of the Beach Blast tournament. Each of the five ESLC teams in the tournament paid a $1,300 entry fee. BY DAVE FREDERICK
July 2, 2013

Decompression - I spent the greater part of three hot and humid weekend days walking among seven fields watching emerging power lassies play lacrosse. The Beach Blast Invitational had 104 teams organized by year of graduation from 2014 through 2018.  Each team had a minimum of four games, all games on the hour started and stopped by the same air horn. Adults should not be judged by what they scream out when their daughters are playing. I can say that some had voices so grating, the down on the seagulls' heads was standing straight up. I should not say out loud to no one in particular, “Shut up, you wounded rhino." Dads who obviously never played women’s lacrosse unless they were gender reassigned seemed to know every rule in the book. The only thing I ever knew about rules was how to bend them.

Money Ball - Just let it go! No one wants to hear how when you were a kid there was no travel ball and no video games, you just went out in the morning and came home in the afternoon hoping your parents hadn’t moved while you were gone. The entire structure of youth sports - except for school - is built around clubs that travel and pay entry fees and pay for lodging and meals. Some athletes snag plane tickets and go to festivals where college coaches knock about sitting in beach chairs pretending to write on clipboards before meeting each other in the hotel bar later to discuss the talent. It costs five grand at least to support a travel kid - OK, more - and it would be worth it if you didn’t have to travel with them.

Transformation - The Slam Dunk basketball tournament used to transform the look of the Cape Henlopen High School complex into the most user-friendly venue ever. A large part of that success is the people who live here who understand the hospitality industry; actually, most don’t, they just like talking to people and helping them out. The Beach Blast girls' lacrosse tournament was the same way. All visitors were saying, “What an amazing facility and such nice people.” The economic impact resulting from 104 teams each with 15 players and their families was estimated to be about $2 million.  I also noticed something over the weekend: Skinny people don’t eat much, and no one goes up to a skinny person, pats him on the shoulder and says, “How’s it going, big guy?"

Naked City - The best thing about watching the Phillies on the retro channel is after the game is over "The Naked City" comes on, which is way better than a Charlie Manuel interview. The naked truth about the Phillies is they are not only horrible but pretty much unlikable. Watching the Orioles is way more fun, and they are one of the best teams in baseball.

Snippets - If you saw a person wearing an Aaron Hernandez jersey in the grocery store, what would you say? Would you wear one yourself just to see how people reacted? The Patriots are allowing fans to exchange a Hernandez jersey for any player not suspected of murder. It’s all pretty strange if you ask me.

There will be a men’s open basketball tournament at Eagle's Nest Christian School on July 19 and 20 for ages 16 and above.  The tourney is run by Mark Engel, who formerly was the coach at Eagle's Nest, Delmarva Christian, Stephen Decatur and before that Woodbridge. Most importantly, Mark is the son-in-law of Lewes athletic legend Sammy Paynter. Call Mark at 302-228-4278 for roster forms. The purpose of the tournament is to benefit YWAM, Youth with a Mission Australia. The cost is $150 per team. Deadline to register is July 17. Eagle's Nest has a great gym, by the way.

The Cape Crusaders had a chicken barbecue June 28 along Route 1 with the Big Hurt  Ronald Brittingham running grills the size of a locomotive engine. The Crusaders is a great program run on chicken, but seriously, if you're looking to help a local sports program with a tax-deductible donation, I’d start with that group.

Next summer I’m touring the nation's major ghettos at night with the top down in a light blue Volkswagen Beetle convertible with flower decals blaring 1960s Motown music in my own version of "Survivor."  I have no interest in hiking or biking. Actually the gated communities with deputized citizens may be more dangerous. Go on now, git!

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