The blurred line between a cheap shot and legal hit

Queen Anne's players all shook the hand of Grant Gillan after he was rocked by a hit he never saw coming in the final 15 seconds of the game. BY DAVE FREDERICK
May 2, 2014

Cheap shot - The NFL instituted a rule to protect a defenseless receiver from a flying missile hit, because although half the crowd likes seeing a player separated from his cleats and helmet, an athlete can be permanently injured, and no one wants to see that except the sicko segment of society with end-zone seats. Men’s lacrosse has those in-between spaces - what players call “a buddy pass” when you know you're going to get lined up and lit up. You just hope you get up afterward. A visiting player from Wilmington Friends got rocked at Cape on a Friday night a few years ago and had to leave the game. I described the hit in all its electric ferociousness, no doubt trying to impress myself and never considering the compassionate other side of the story. I did later when the player’s mother called me on the phone to explain the seriousness of the injury and how insulting it was that Cape crowd was so whipped up into a frenzy. Last Monday at Queen Anne’s when Grant Gillan got lined up and steamrolled with 15 seconds left, I waited for him to get up and be OK. It was also a big moment for the kid who hit him. I hope he learned something from it.

The Millionaires' Club - An 80-year-old NBA owner going racial and recorded on a clandestine device in the cleavage of his 29-year-old mistress who sells it to a website lost me before the audio hit the airways. I’m sorry, but I don’t care, and I honestly can’t keep straight Sterling, Silver and Stern; when rich people squabble, I squelch the volume. This is not a national discussion on race and racism. The rest of us in our diverse society have to buy a ticket to get into the arena, but we are never part of the discussion. What if the NBA locker rooms were bugged and we got to hear what players really said about owner Sterling’s comments? Now that would be fair.

The gladiator - I will be at the funeral of a lifelong friend this weekend. His name is Chuck Leahan - like me, a father and grandfather and a teacher/coach type guy. Chuck was drafted during Vietnam and became a gunner on a helicopter. Most recently, he was a Spanish teacher at Bishop Shanahan in West Chester, Pa. His students loved him because he was real and funny and compassionate - did I mention funny? Chuck was two years ahead of me in high school, and when I came out for football as a freshman I was issued a leather helmet - I must be old - that was weathered and misshapen and Chuck always called me the Gladiator. He was also a fan of the Cape Gazette and my Facebook page because somehow without knowing the people around here, he knew me and that was close enough.

Stressful to joyful - From parents of high school athletes to fans of professional sports, I look into the faces of the fiercely partisan for what I call the Stress to Joy Continuum. I’d have to say I see way more stress than joy, because it’s all about the result for too many people, and the joy of playing has degenerated to “my dog is better than your dog.”

Working out and training - Grand Mom Rose: “You can always be outworked; there is always someone crazier, but you cannot be out-cooled, because it is the essence of who you are.” Fitness is more about what you don’t do, beginning with diet and avoiding steroids and drugs and cigarettes and excess drinking. Take care of those things, and you can follow any workout program you want, which is why I prefer machines where I can sit down.

Snippets - I’m watching NBA playoffs wondering who can win the championship other than Miami. I’m thinking the Spurs, just so smart and solid, and this is their last run.

Bishop Ireton girls' lacrosse is at Cape Friday, May 2,  for Senior Night. They are the toughest team on Cape’s schedule as the rugged journey of 2014 continues. The Vikings have won 65 in a row against Delaware opponents.

Cape has still not named a boys' soccer coach to replace Gary Montalto, who retired and moved from his home state of New York, moved to the beach, signed on for the Cape job and took the team to levels never dreamed of.  He retired once more to spend more time with his wife, Sue, and to organize his practice binders. Catch you all on the windblown fields, tracks and pitches. Go on now, git!

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