Banish me to the bench; I'm coming for your job
Reserved and quiet - Put me on reserve and I will not be quiet. And I will not be a trouper on the bench. Back when I played football for Temple I was a starting sophomore guard and playing great, but we lost our first four games so the coach in his brilliance decided all seniors should start. And so I was replaced by a lesser player who was smaller, slower and more outwardly arrogant. I didn’t think I was capable of beating on a helmeted person with an inflated air shield, but I whaled on that kid every dummy drill and every chance I got. Finally the coach put me back in the starting lineup, saying it was preferable to sending me to prison.
I admire what I’m not - I see really good athletes and kids chilling and cheering on a varsity bench showing not the slightest hint that they are an undiscovered and under-appreciated talent. Saw Sam Young the last two soccer games. And when coach Gary Montalto spoke to the team after one-goal wins over Tatnall and Sussex Central, Sam was right up front like he had scored the winning goal. Sam is one of those “boneless cat “ athletes.
I saw that last year when he won the Henlopen Conference Indoor Pole Vault Championship, going up the dyslexic side of the bent pole, shoulders parallel to the floor, patiently waiting for the bend to straighten out and fling him over the bar 12 feet in the air. Older siblings Allison Young, John Young, Chris Young, and Sarah Young were all stellar, explosive athletes with killer instincts, so is there any chance that Sam is different?
Yes, we’re all different, but the kid is a winner, and I think his destiny is to stick the winning goal in a really important game. Immediately after the halftime onfield team meeting of a 1-1 tension-filled game at Sussex Central, Sam returned to the bench and said, ”Fredman, you took my spot.”
Reverse snobbery - I once joked that I don’t like wealthy people, famous people or people who call themselves public servants and have a million dollars in the bank. Sen. Tom Carper I’ve met 60 times over the last 30 years; he has no idea who I am and that here in Sesame Street by the Sea I am a major Muppet of some horizontal stature.
The bandstand press announcement that Slam Dunk to the Beach is returning to Cape in December 2014 had everyone giddy, but no one who rocked the microphone comprehended “The Slam” which was Bobby Jacobs all his waking hours and yours as well. Bobby who made everyone a VIP standing in line waiting for the Hospitality Room to open, who brought the best teams and biggest names in basketball to Cape’s Little Big House.
And where is Bobby? Hard rumor has him homeless, suffering from mental illness and living mostly out of his car. The state has no mechanism to help anyone with mental illness and so here I’m taking my shot. Find Bobby, give him the help he needs - you’ll have to send him to another state - or change the name of the basketball tournament to Basketball by the Broadkill or Mayhem on the Millpond. Note: There is a new website, www.slamdunktothebeach.com.
Gracious and loquacious - Post-game interviews with smart kids are getting tougher because no one talks to each other anymore; they would rather text. Reporters don’t interview athletes as much as they used to, but if it happens I’d advise athletes to stand tall, speak in complete sentences, maybe even string a couple together. And if you can call the reporter by name, that is real class.
Snippets - Cape volleyball girls are 4-0 to start the season having won 12 of 13 games played. This team is destined for fat record and state tournament berth. Players and coaches play them one game at a time while sportswriters go right to the end of the season. Indian River football is at Cape on Friday night for the first home game of the season. Both teams are 1-1. Coaches Ray Steele, Paul Kmetz and Mike Norton of IR plus Bill Collick, Herky Billings and John Parker of Cape add up to more than 200 years of coaching. But at least I’m older than all of them. Go on now, git!