Young athletes cover multiple teams and age groups
Take me to your feeder - Travel team sports covers all the sports from baseball and softball to basketball, field hockey, soccer and lacrosse. Sometimes golf and tennis get into the discussion as top-tier players prefer playing in tournaments to being part of a high school schedule that doesn’t challenge them. There is an old joke, “How can you be two places at once when you’re nowhere at all?” Certainly Little League baseball has suffered because of the better competition offered by travel ball or what some jokingly call daddy ball. I didn’t realize until recently that Little League teams rarely schedule Saturday games; otherwise they would lose their travel kids. Atlantic Lacrosse and Delaware Shore Field Hockey, Cape Crusaders Basketball, Eastern Shore Lacrosse League, and Henlopen Soccer Select teams fall into the travel matrix. Then there is the George Jefferson factor, or what I call “moving on up.” That’s when a young player is pushed to an older and more skilled team because he is ready for it. ‘So proud of Brandon; he’s only 5 but got moved up to U7.” The managers of this sports stratification system are the parents, and it’s an important job deciding what is good for your child versus what is good for the parent. Hanging a state championship banner in your high school gym or winning a title for your hometown is the ultimate test and testimony in my book so hopefully all that other competition is developmental and works as a feeder program for somebody; otherwise, what’s the point? Oh, I forgot, having fun.
Bagel Bombers - Ironically, Cape baseball took the bagel last Saturday, losing 10-0 to Caravel in a five-inning mercy rule game. Cape gave up 7 runs in the first inning to the Bucs, who lost in the state finals last year, and it’s hard to come back from that deficit against pitchers who are throwing smoke. The Bagel Bombers, who play at Sports at the Beach, have 15 teams competing in age groups U8 to U15. All those players get to experience games by travelling no farther than Georgetown. It’s all good stuff, kids playing ball with supportive families outside the fences. Plenty to do around here; we have become a sports mecca.
Two connections - Franklin and Marshall women’s lacrosse team won 9-8 at Salisbury March 23 in a battle of the top two teams in Division III. Grace Saliba, a former Saint Andrew’s player and daughter of my friend Carl Saliba, is a sophomore who plays for the Diplomats. Shannon Carta of the Seagulls is the granddaughter of my neighbors Mike and Ellen Carta, and two nicer people you could never find without walking an extra block or two. The Salibas and Cartas are friends from way back across the Bay Bridge. Shannon Carta, a senior, had the winning goal with 2:10 remaining in the Salisbury victory. Sports produces happy results for at least half the people attending games.
Blue Hen women’s track - Paige Morris won the triple jump at the Navy Invitational March 22 with a jump of 40-feet-1-inch. That qualifies her for the ECAC championships later this spring. Paige is a former star at Sussex Tech. Shanel Dickens ran the 800 meters at the Navy Invitational in 2:22, good for 10th place overall. Lindsay Prettyman of Delaware and Saint Mark’s won the event in 2:12. Dickens also ran on the 4-by-400 relay that clocked a 4:06, good for fourth place. Delaware placed second in the meet won by the Naval Academy.
Go home be happy - This has been an NCAA basketball tournament where fans have become happy seeing coaching icons fronting major universities sent home. There is a reason for that rooted in the hypocrisy of the entire system. The blue chip players don’t stay to play beyond a year, so if they don’t support their university team, why should the rest of us? Image is everything, and the disservice to these young men is that we fans never get to know them as people; we just assume they are too dumb to get a degree and have no higher order sense of intellectual development, so why not get a neck tattoo and jump to the NBA.
Snippets - Virginia Tech defeated Coastal Carolina in women’s lacrosse as Megg Dogg Bartley scored 4 goals. Christopher Newport beat Wesley in men’s lacrosse 16-8 but Jack Redefer scored 3 goals and got off 12 shots for the Wolverines. The boy ain’t bashful. Trevor Mears, a sophomore baseball player at Wesley out of Sussex Central, leads the 9-6 Wolverines with a .426 batting average while starting every game as a right fielder. He is related to Pink, not the singer but the landscaper/basketball official, Pink Lloyd. Go on now, git.