Athletes just want to play and be good teammates

October 25, 2013

Heroic efforts - I have run two marathons and done a couple triathlons long ago in a galaxy far away, and given my genetic body type and addiction to happy foods, I had no business doing either. But I switched on the psycho center in my brain and persevered through the training and drank water after peach ice cream instead of Tahitian Treat, and the pounds just melted away, leaving a puddle of salt water on the sidewalk. I take thousands of running race photos every year and of course there are some people who look out of place in a foot race. They truck and trudge at the back of the pack and people sigh and say things like “God bless him.” Two years ago I ventured onto ice too thin and interviewed guys in races and gyms who were pushing 400 pounds, and I found them to be very receptive to my questions: “Does Superfresh or Dorman's have the best doughnuts?” But you have to be careful starting an interview with athletes who caught your attention because they looked out of place. Once after doing the Sea Colony Triathlon, John Schroeder, then a reporter for the Whale newspaper before he evolved into cool banker guy, asked me, “Is that a sleeve of Fig Newtons in your pocket?” “Yes, Nabisco,” I answered, "for the protein energy boost.” I was ahead of my time, and so was everyone else.

Mud men - I was a sophomore on a good football team. A Thanksgiving morning, a muddy field, 5,000 fans, we were clad in white helmets, shirts and pants and blue numbers. The clock wound to zero and the gridiron warriors were caked in brown mud, sweat and blood, but not me. I was so white I looked like an overexposed photograph and uncooked biscuit in a pressurized helmet. And so being 15 and a glaring loser who didn’t get into the game, I adjusted to the awkward moment by smearing mud on myself. Those with senior seniority laughed at me, but I just couldn’t do the sparkling white guy walk across the field. Therein lies the dilemma. Good athletes are good teammates, but standing on the sidelines or being on the bench always gave me a heightened sense of awkward awareness and ran against everything I believed about my own abilities. Show me an athlete who accepts a role on the bench, and I’ll show you an athlete who belongs there.

Bunch of bad teams - How many bad teams are in the NFL right now? The Kansas City Chiefs are ranked No. 1 by ESPN followed by the Colts, Broncos and Seahawks. But there are 18 teams of the 32 with records of .500 or worse. There are games played on Sunday you wouldn’t watch in person on a free club box ticket. Maybe sports America will rediscover the beauty of a fall Sunday afternoon without the Redzone channel and the Hopper. This Sunday I’ll be at Temple University for the Philly 5 women’s lacrosse fall ball festival checking my smartphone for NFL scores, and that is good enough for me.

Snippets - Mary Washington field hockey won at Wesley 4-2  Oct. 23, increasing its season record to 14-1, while Wesley dropped to 8-8. Former Cape player Jenna Steele plays for MW while Devon Price is a starting midfielder for Wesley. Steele, who played no offense at Cape, leads her team in points with 31, which includes 12 goals and 7 assists along with 77 shots on goal. Northeastern University field hockey with Caroline Judge and Kaci Coveleski in the lineup will host Delaware with Jacki Coveleski and Rebecca Pepper Sunday, Oct. 27. Dr. Kevin Bristowe will be on the sideline snapping photos with a Cape Gazette credential, which under the new Obamacare exchange of marketplace services entitles me to one free splinter extraction. Cape at Sussex Tech football on Friday night is a game that may be decided by who doesn’t play, as many frontline players have been either upgraded to questionable or downgraded to doubtful before kickoff. And Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Legends Stadium, the undefeated Cape JV football team will play the undefeated Ravens, and the place will be jumping. Both teams are 6-0. I suggest the boosters sell pizza and boiled hotdogs. Go on now, git!

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