“You don’t cut nobody, you ain’t no doctor”
Zing go the strings - A Cape football lineman in 1987 grabbed the back of his leg before practice and said to me, “Coach Fred, I don’t think I can practice today. I think I pulled a groin or something.” “That’s fine, son, except that’s your hamstring; although I’m sure you’ve pulled a few groins in your day.” “Hey, what are you trying to say?” The human body is strapped together with tendons and ligaments and connective tissues, all attached to a bony base. It's beautiful and at the same time pretty disgusting, if you ask me; that’s why we’re all wrapped tightly in skin – nobody wants to see us with an inside-out rendering. We are a form-and-function masterpiece, and when athletes are hobbled, they stop by the trainer and may be referred next to a physical therapist operating under the general heading of sports medicine. Many bright students with athletic backgrounds choose physical therapy and sports medicine as a career path because it’s more fun than engineering, and more marketable than parks and recreation. Kirstin Lockwood (Sussex Tech) and Emily Farrell (Cape) earned doctorate degrees in physical therapy. Quinn Donohoe, a Cape baseball player class of 2016, and University of Delaware class of 2020, is now in a doctorate program at Widener for physical therapy. I could go 25 players deep on the roster of local talent who have earned doctorate degrees in the medical field, but it’s too much exertion. I may pull a groin or wrench my back. Doctors of education, that’s another fat chapter. Years ago, Cape sophomore Kevin “Old School” Young asked me, “Fredman, what’s with all these doctors walking around Cape? Because they sure don’t seem like no doctors to me.” I explained the system of degree progression and Kevin said, “The way I see it, you don’t cut nobody, you ain’t no doctor.” You don’t have to be a comedian to know that’s funny.
Paging Dr. Fredman - Happy 70th birthday to Sharon Owens, a retired Cape secretary who saved me more than Sussex Trust as I rolled through my job with one foot out of bounds. I once asked her to get on the intercom and announce to the school, “Dr. Fredman, please stop by the office after class.” That caused some commotion among staff and students who were certain that “Fredman ain’t no doctor.” During one of my hostings of the faculty variety show, “Cape Capers,” in the Little Theater, I recognized all the educators with doctorates in the audience, then said, “I considered becoming a doctor, but I couldn’t afford the stamps.”
Ultimate irony - Someone snags some of my sports photos off Facebook and sends them to DIAA as an anonymous complaint about lack of social distancing. Who is more socially distant than an anonymous COVID Cop? The world is whack! Forty years ago on a Sunday, I stopped by a field at Rehoboth to watch an all-Hispanic soccer game, but kept the camera in the truck because I didn’t want to mess up anyone’s good day by publicizing the colorful athletic exquisiteness I saw on the soccer field. I feel the same way now. If I drive by a track workout or a pickup basketball game, my photos might end up on the desktop of the JV for Life Club.
I Get Knocked Down - “Tubthumping,” a song by Chumbawamba, Grandma Rose’s favorite group, was released in 1997. Substitute the words “shut down” for ‘rona relevance: “I get knocked down but I get up again/You’re never gonna keep me down.” Players gonna play. It doesn’t matter what PIAA or DIAA proclaim as toothless policy prescriptions. Even the most vigilant are just weary of stay-at-home Zoom culture.
Snippets - Young guy and universally liked good guy 28-year-old Jeffrey Akins Jr. of Seaford, who was family to the Threasa and Kemp Brttingham clan of Milton, lost his life to random gun violence Aug. 8. A long story on Jeff Akins written by Lynn Schofer appears in the Aug. 20 edition of the Seaford Star. Cape graduate Jon Warren, now a member of the Talledega College men’s basketball staff, said of his cousin, “Jeff loved the game. He was the definition of being the coach on the floor. Never had an attitude and always played hard.” During this pandemic, many friends sign off with the words, “Stay safe.” We all know the sad stories of people who exit the game of life early because they foul out, prisoners of their own destructive behaviors, but innocents like Jeff Akins, it just “don’t make no sense.” Keep the faith! Go on now, git!