The affection connection bridging the generations at Legends Stadium
The sea of history - I’m just another old guy who claims he feels younger today than he did when adrenaline had him floating on air during athletic competitions. Now a 20-ounce Wawa brew gets me to the same place minus the hops. Tuesday on the track at Cape, I was Freddie Flashback without a flash attachment. My memory is as sharp as a Nikon camera, and as I surveyed the crowd I saw Fred people from my distant past. There were Jay Maull, Curtis Johnson and Bilbo Dunning, track athletes of mine going back 40 years, raking the long jump pit. And outside the fence were Joe Snead, Blain Daisey and Lonnie Maull. And on the track the star of the show, Shane Massey, a slightly built middle-distance guy who runs like the wind and is cool like a summer breeze. Shane claims George Smith as his great-great-grandfather and is related to the Harmons on his mom’s side. Shane and I met and talked before his day of racing; he said he always wanted to meet me, and his family talked about me all the time. I told him Danny Harmon was my athlete, ran 4:17 in the 1,600, but could run any distance. “Part of the Nanticoke Indian tradition just like you, Shane. Good luck out there today.” And then he ran a 48.4 open 400 meters, the fastest time on a Cape High School track in 50 years. Afterward I gave him a hug and took his photo to capture the moment for history. We had bridged the generations – there was an affection connection; it was so cool and I think important to both of us.
Unified sports - I have helped other people’s children my entire life. It’s not second nature; it is my nature. The extended Fred family members are all that way; it’s what we do. But until someone reaches across and helps someone in your own family, you don’t really feel the power of helping hands. Unified sports helps everyone on all sides. Cape has done a stellar job this school year with basketball and track & field. Inside high schools is my wheelhouse, and I have stated often that kids have always been jazzed for inclusion; you just have to support it with a program of education.
Honor Society - My late friend Bruce Hefke often used the expression, “He’s all that and a bag of chips.” Other people have used the expression, “He’s all about himself, but he ain’t all that.” Recent Honor Society inductions at Cape bring out the grandparents because everyone is “so proud.” Scholarship, leadership, character and service, students get rated on all four on a five-point scale. If one rating person nails a student with less than 3 on any category, they are cheese toast. I fondly remember 40 years ago at Cape, stellar student Richard Billger was selected for induction but he refused saying, “I’m not that guy.” It was a variant of the Groucho Marx line, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member.” Richard went on to be an economist, lawyer and human resource specialist for NASA at Wallops Island. My advice to all newly inducted members has always been to go out and use your gifts to help others, and bring your bag of chips with you. What’s this have to do with sports? Well there’s the character and leadership component, and over the last 10 years at Cape, the state championship teams, and in fact all winning programs, had deep rosters of honors students. Low character and poor leadership won’t get you wins in the sports arena.
Snippets - Saturday, May 4, the Run for Recovery 5K Run/Walk begins at 9 a.m. at the Cape track. Proceeds go to local group Attack Addiction, so if you’re looking for community service that makes a difference, show up and walk or volunteer. I’ll sign your form if you need certified hours, or just shake your hand to say hello and thanks. The application period for Cape head coach of boys’ basketball has closed. Interviews are scheduled for May 13-16. Sussex Academy boys’ lacrosse will play at Beacon on Monday, May 6, at 4 p.m. Should be a good one in our lacrosse-crazy community. I came for the B game on Wednesday, as Selbyville soccer was at Milford Central Academy. Granddaughter Lina was the reason for my appearance, but I’m a B game kind of guy. Selbyville won the A game, Milford the B game. The kids just rock at that level of play. “I’m a happy B-gamer” would be cool on a T-shirt. Go on now, git!