All-star games abound if they can be found

No-phone zone is best place for sharing sports stories
June 9, 2023

June is all-star month - Each sport has its own all-star event, with the exception of track’s Meet of Champions, which is long ago over. These games are played by seniors at venues willing to host them. Many of the games are quite good, and good players from weaker programs often get a chance to prove they are as stellar as the athletes from the pedigreed programs (somewhere in there is a Westminster joke). The 67th annual DFRC Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game is set for Friday, June 16, at the University of Delaware Stadium played on Tubby Raymond Field, better known as “The Tub.” There are a lot of elements woven into this event, which used to be a North (Blue) versus South (Gold) contest, but now it's more mixed to prevent upstate hegemony, and no one downstate knows what that means. Sixty-seven years of game alumni, most of whom are still walking the planet and many can squeeze into their game jerseys, attend the game because where else are you going to rock the all-star jersey? There are cheerleaders, a band, ambassadors and the all-star buddies who are part of the hand-in-hand program. Jody Russell of Newark is the head coach of the Blue team. Brian Timpson of Appoquinimink will be the head coach of the Gold team. Thomas Gibbs and Thomas Messick are Cape’s representatives to the game. 

Coffee klatch - I had a morning meeting with soccer coach Gary Montalto on Wednesday as we do on occasion. Surf Bagel is our spot because they don’t care if we stay all day. Really, is there anything better than a one-on-one sharing of thoughts with a respected friend? Listening is an art neither of us ever lost. Conversation in the no-phones zone takes you to a new place. Is there any better respite from the race to the place we all hope to land than a booth across from a friend just drinking coffee and sharing stories? 

Inside insight - I emailed Salesianum lacrosse coach Bob Healy to ask about player Braeden Korb, shown in the last column gathering helmets after the victory celebration. This is what he wrote back: “Braeden is our starting [long-stick middie] ... great kid! We pick an upperclassman to sweep the sheds, clean up the sidelines, undress the field, make sure there’s no trash. He was the lucky one on Saturday.” Coach Healy had me with “great kid” and “upperclassman.” A different concept from having freshmen doing that job. I like it. 

Teacher in service - I was a classroom teacher for 35 uninterrupted years, and I retired the trophy for missed faculty and inservice meetings. Ironically, I retired the trophy for performances behind a microphone from banquets to proms and many other things that elicit no cash payments. I would like to put together a three-hour fall inservice for coaches of all sports, regardless of their success and longevity. Trust me, I have a better chance of getting their attention than anyone who doesn't play a musical instrument. I’d call it taking stock as a self-scout; after all, we all need improvement. Honestly, most coaches don’t want to hear it, or, to use hip hop speak, “ain’t trying to hear it.” But there would be things to learn from a panel of tribal elders, because kids today may be different and hard to coach, and those challenges could be addressed and styles shared. It may actually be fun.

Snippets - Registration opens at 8 a.m., Saturday, June 10, for the SoDel Cares 5K held at Thompson Island Brewery. If you’re traveling to the race by Boston Whaler, you have the wrong Thompson Island. The girls’ lacrosse senior all-star game is 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 13, at DE Turf. The boys’ game will follow at 7 p.m. The softball all-star game is June 13 at the Smyrna Little League field. The Blue-Gold All-Star Soccer Games are Saturday, June 10, at Cape Henlopen. The girls play at 5 p.m. followed by the boys at 7 p.m. The Blue-Gold baseball game was played June 7, with the Gold winning 10-2. Cape’s Timmy Hitchcock played shortstop, pitched an inning and scored a run. I played in the Philadelphia Gold Medal basketball tournament in March 1964, which was held at the Philadelphia Armory in West Philly. Spike's Trophies had a backcourt of Wally Jones and Walt Hazzard. Hazzard was coming off a national championship 30-0 season as the UCLA point guard. Jones, out of Villanova, was the Big 5 Player of the Year. I was the lone high school player on a team of college guys. The coach had a drinking problem and chose to start me. I guarded the humble Hazzard on the spacious court and got lit up for 41 points. After the game, he gave me his jersey; although he believed he just lost it. Go on now, git! 


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