Double helix of hope surrounds Race for the Ribbon in Rehoboth

Eric Roberts, left, and Jeff Trench play acoustic music before the Race for the Ribbon. BY DAVE FREDERICK
July 23, 2013

Village People - Here in the seaside village of coastal Sussex County we are all Muppets with multiple personality disorder knocking about bumping into each other, sometimes annoyingly, most times helpfully, playing the cards we are dealt. “Life is more a game of gin rummy than poker, ” Grand Mom Rose said.

“You can discard bad cards and pick up good ones; it’s fun but don’t get too cozy.” “Why not?” “Gin!”

Last Saturday at the Sixth Race for the Ribbon in Rehoboth, family stories of courage in the face of cancer were many, and a certain degree of sadness hovered over the shiny happy people but it was hard to see. That's because families rally around each other and the village circles them forming a double helix of hope.

Frankly, having lost a mother and sister to ovarian cancer I was overpowered by the backdrop, the ocean and kicking bright sun and energy of boardwalk Muppets standing up to the struggle together. Not long ago the individual fought alone, the C word was never spoken aloud, there were no 5Ks - “What’s a kilometer?” - no messages of hope and no reconstructive surgeries. Personally I never use the expression “lost the battle” because hope may yield to faith but never to loss.

Thanks to the families at Saturday’s Race for the Ribbon for reteaching me that lesson. It was better than church.

3cnorth - Acoustic music by the boardwalk gazebo on Wilmington Avenue at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, easy listening songs and voices clear as bells. My first thought was “no dissonance" - no drinkers talking over each other driving home points no one would pick up because in bars attention deficit is not a disorder but a way of life. A singer greeted me by name. “What’s up, Fredman?” Moments later I asked his partner, "Tell me who that is, then we’ll get around to who you are.” “Jeff Trench,” he said. Jeff the Cape lacrosse goalie '94-'95 married Kate “Cubby” Heal, one of the original Lewes Polar Bears. I attended her birthday party when she was 9 years old - a cameo appearance - and gave her a stuffed bear. Eric Roberts is Jeff’s fellow musician. They named their group 3cnorth, which is a wing at A.I. DuPont Hospital, where Eric took his son for treatment for leukemia over three years. The son is now 7 and doing great. Visit Trust me, Unplugged Freddogg, if you want clear music you don’t have to shout over, these are your guys. Tim is booking them for more races and we all know how cool he is.

Free agent fan - I’ve negotiated a clause in my baseball fan contract that I can only trade my allegiance to a contending team. Expect me to make a move before the July 31 deadline. In the American League I will go with the O’s even though I already owe enough. I like them even though Chris Davis is not on steroids like I’m not on fistfuls of Sugar Smacks. The National League is a tougher call, maybe the Pirates although I’m leaning toward the Dodgers because of Brooklyn and trolley cars in their history but if trolleys trip me out I might as well stay a Phillie.

Snippets - High school state championships are all I understand. I don’t know when youth teams started to win state championships in the summer. I have no frame of reference, don’t know what they mean. A generation ago it was Junior Olympics - never quite knew what to make of that either. Most of it is driven by the new sports economy. Some people are making big money off youth sports and that includes every sport. Jared Tootell won the YMCA 5 Miler last Sunday in 28:23. He is a real deal triathlete, didn’t run track in high school or college but played soccer. He was on the 1994 Caesar Rodney team that won a state championship, the only downstate team to win the tournament which began in 1970. He never mentioned select teams of travel ball. Jared told me in workout he does mile repeats - five of them - in 5:05 pace. I asked, “Why not lie and say 5 minutes?” Jared laughed. "Kevin Danahy is my trainer and he reads the Gazette.” Jared’s wife Kim, 35, also won her age group in 40:35. The baby's name is Cruz. I’ll let him explain it to you once he learns how to talk and once I learn how to stop. Go on now, git!

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