Some coaches could use a little coaching up

January 10, 2014

Breaking bad - I was never an “Old Yeller” when coaching; it just never fit my style, nor was I a believer in breaking kids down to make them play better. And shouldn’t every coach be described as “a player’s coach?"  "I’m a real taskmaster" implies that there are fake taskmasters, so if you’re a disaster in your personal life but a taskmaster when coaching, you're probably closer to a "flask master." I am inspired to write this after listening to coaches - alright, one - question the heart of an athlete on an opposing team, a heroic athlete that the coach knows nothing about. Fans are mostly smart, and when they see behavior and hear stuff that seems over the top, they wonder, "Who is the captain of the ship?” because some coaches need to be coached up or have their contracts cancelled. "Coach" is a privileged title and brings respect. I actually stepped onto an elevator in Philly before a Monday night game and there was John Madden coming up from the field.  I looked at him and said, “What’s up, Coach?" Madden’s eyes lit up. Another time I was interviewing Al Levan of Delaware State in his office. I asked him a question and he rolled toward me, grabbed my hands and said ”Coach, let me tell you something.” I looked back and said, ”Why did you call me Coach?”  “It's pretty obvious you understand and love kids,” he said. I hang my hat on moments like those.

Notoriously big
- I see some young athletes who are way past big, not fit, not particularly strong, with a BMI over 40, and I see these young people putting themselves out there because they want to improve and to get better.  They hear the jokes, the muffled laughter, and they persevere. I just admire these kids. It’s not some weepy, sappy, reality television program; it’s real-life adolescence, a harsh environment under the best of circumstances.

Slacker tracker - I have been slack for track this winter, not for lack of enthusiasm for the sport. I’m a track person and love the track athletes who compete at the Worcester County Parks and Recreation indoor facility down by Snow Hill every Wednesday. You just find that weird Route 113 and head south for a long time and about 50 miles from Lewes you are there. Sam Young jumped 13-feet-6-inches again in the pole vault Jan. 8; Austin MacElrevey was second in the 1,600 in 4:47 and second in the 3,200 in 10:26.  Lucas Reis won the high jump with Jack Kyritsis second, and Reis also took second in the long jump. The boys placed third in the meet behind Caesar Rodney and Appoquinimink. The Cape girls came in ninth with Smyrna and Caesar Rodney taking the top two positions. Alyssa Mocci grabbed a fifth in the long jump; Megan Hart took second in the high jump and DeJonte Mackey placed second in the 55-meter hurdles.

Outta here! See you later! - Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews are gone as color analysts from Phillies broadcasts, and as a sports guy from their generation, it caught my attention that most fans were happy to indifferent to see them gone. I am prepared for the “maybe meeting” with Dennis Forney of the Cape Gazette. “Fredman, remember when you used to be funny, and readers got at least half of your jokes?” “Say no more; is there a severance package?” "You’re still funny; I’ll give you that much.”

Snippets - I see parents deal with sports schedule conflicts all the time when children are playing games on the same day. They split up, and if already split up, then I don’t know what. I’m coming up on a spring season being the sportswriting granddaddy with too many places to go at the same time.  And wherever I go, I’m having a credential and taking 500 photos. Coaches and some players at Temple lacrosse ask my freshman granddaughter, “Anna, how is Fredman doing?” That’s funny in a slightly annoying sort of way. I grew up in the Swampoodle section of North Philly where everyone had a nickname. There was actually a guy with polio; his nickname was “March O Dimes.” Downstate Delaware I know multiple “P” word people like Pluck, Poochie and Peanut; three Chicos - one was a dog; also a Shorty, a Fatty and a family that has a Big Mom and Little Mom.  Go on now, git!