Friday night: Frights and flights, tumblers and rumblers
Roll and tumble - Only an exuberant “yewt” would leave her cheerleader coven to execute a full-court series of cartwheels and back handsprings through a pair of bald-headed officials and not worry if they saw her coming. That’s what happened Jan. 10 at the Cape-Caesar Rodney boys' basketball game, and it was impressive bordering on comical and would have been all the way hilarious if she had wiped them out. I saw an image of myself taking photos on WBOC’s Final Score and thought, “There’s Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.” I’m almost too old to be let out at night. The public address announcer at CR stayed hyped all the time, swallowing the microphone and screaming into it. If I were AD, the buses wouldn’t run on time, but I'd have to walk up to him and say, “Dude? Stop! No, seriously. Stop! You’re killing people!” But I think the only way to stop that is to go up by 15 points; otherwise you're getting an overdose of unbridled hometown enthusiasm.
Sandwich seasons - The Cape, Sussex Tech and Polytech girls' basketball programs have a combined record from last season and halfway through this season of 33-52. What strikes me is, all three schools run top-shelf programs in field hockey and lacrosse, with the last five state titles in lacrosse going to Cape and the last five field hockey state titles going to Cape with three and Sussex Tech with two. Polytech has moved way up the power grid in both sports, and the Panthers are poised to bite somebody big during the next rotation. Is downstate basketball just overall inept compared to upstate? Not really; look at Sussex Central. They have no girls' lacrosse and last season were 0-14 in field hockey. But last season they were 16-4 in basketball, lost at Saint Mark’s in the second tournament round 37-34 and this year waxed Cape, Polytech and Sussex Tech by a combined margin of 120 points. Some solicited comments from Fredman Facebook fans suggest you can’t have a winning program if you have no program at all. We all know Cape and Polytech and Sussex Tech benefit from programs underneath, but Sussex Central girls’ basketball cancelled its JV schedule - just not enough players.
Them Shockleys - Before I moved to Sussex County, I didn’t know anyone named Shockley; now I can shake the giant willow tree of connected clans and have black ones and white ones and mixed-race Shockleys and blue-eyed soul Eddie Shockley and former Phillie Costen Shockley. It’s an all-day conversation. I remember standing at a Cape baseball game during a season watching left-hander Scott Shockley on the mound trying to tame his electric stuff. His father Joe, a Georgetown legend in football and baseball, and County Bank executive, was standing there. I had two things to say to him: “You could have choiced Scott to Sussex Central, and no one would have questioned that,” and “Can I borrow 25 thousand to pay off my credit cards?” “Scott lives here; he goes to school here so he can help Cape be better if he’s that good,” and “See Tammy tomorrow at the Lewes County Bank branch and she’ll take care of your loan.” Now that’s some down-home stuff. Note: I gave Scott the Sandy Koufax book, told him to look at the cover every day because he reminded me of Koufax. Scott became a starting center fielder for University of Delaware, and his Cape catcher Ryan Reed (let’s not get into that family) also became a starter for the Blue Hens.
Snippets - Andrew Merlo, former Cape point guard who took his share of heat from the clueless Cape crowd, scored 19 points in McDaniel College’s 65-51 win over Haverford College. The Green Terror are 9-4 on the season. Merlo is a junior college basketball player running the show, scoring 19 for a winning team, that’s all I’m saying, know what I’m saying?
Dead of winter an entire new crew of out-of-shape people is hitting the gyms. What happened to the old crew? Some success and many regress stories, I guess. I am like a stuck-in-neutral truck and that works for me. I’ve been incredibly fit, and man, it takes too much time and too much denial. Go on now, git!