Alumni along the fence are the quilt of the community

November 21, 2017

Alumni along the fence - State championship game day at Rullo Stadium, Thanksgiving week, the college kids are magnetically pulled into the social matrix and become part of the quilt they helped create. They are friends for life and connected forever. It doesn’t happen everywhere, but it’s part of the Cape culture. I joked that “alumni along the fence” sounds like a group of happy gospel singers from a Christian radio station. Shown are (l-r) Sydney Ostroski, Katie Klabe, Katie Boyer, Korinne Lemaire, Lexi Gooch, Lizzie Frederick, Erik-Stephane Stancofski, Brandt Lookup and Tess Bernheimer. Reconnecting with another championship will light up your life like a Rehoboth Christmas tree.

Light House lit up - I told my wife Susan as we neared home following the state championship field hockey game that the marquee at the Light House of Lewes on Route 1 was 100 percent guaranteed to be flashing “Congratulations Cape Hockey.” My Sherlock Homeboy instincts are still sharp. I am wired up like a ceiling fan. I know my village. Ron and Judy Scrutchfield didn’t let me down. I became the guy who takes photos of blinking signs at night. Stop by the Light House and mention Cape hockey for your free blue and gold wire nuts.  

Gaps and guarantees - Cape hockey got to the Division I final and the mission was to win a championship. The 1-0 win over Sussex Tech was the sixth title in last seven years (Delmar won last year and the Division II title this year). The moment is to savor as special because there is no guarantee you are getting back to the show, and if so, there’s no guarantee when you will win again. The moment a program thinks a title is entitled is when they slip-slide away. Girls’ basketball last won in 1973 and boys’ basketball in 1975-76. Neither has hung a banner since. Cape baseball is spotlighted for this spring, and, of course, girls’ lacrosse going for 10 state titles in a row.  

Coaching is chemistry - Sussex Tech field hockey coaches Mia Paltrineri and Robin Lynn are nice people with contagiously congenial coaching personalities. The players responded positively and bought in, and it helped that their better athletes were team players like Grace Lee, Kira Short and Elizabeth Baird. The good coaches never stop evaluating their roster from the top down. When I saw freshmen twins Jade and Jayla Powell begin to get primetime playing time, I knew the Ravens were all in and not playing with a pat hand. Sussex Tech Athletic Director Nick Pegelow and coaches will tell you that most schools see Tech as a rival; after all, the roster is filled with athletes who beam down from starships all around Sussex County, and a new transfer rule allows athletes to return to the mothership without penalty if they so choose. And that is why a successful field hockey and girls’ lacrosse program is crucial to school climate and image. Personally, I’m a Cape guy and universal columnist. I stand by coaches and kids wherever they are, honoring my own code of loyalty. I have to shout out “Great job!” to Mia and Robin for a miracle season.  

Snippets - The University of Connecticut defeated Maryland 2-1 for the NCAA field hockey national championship, finishing the season 23-0. It was their second title in a row and third over five years. The Huskies have six foreign players on the roster from Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. Maryland has four foreign players. Shippensburg won the Division II national field hockey title with a 4-1 win over LIU Post. Caitlyn Wink from Delmar is a freshman defender on the Ship roster. Kate Melvin from Milford is a freshman midfielder/defender for the LIU Post Pioneers. Franklin & Marshall (Erin Coverdale) lost in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III field hockey tournament to Middlebury 2-1 in overtime. Middlebury battled Messiah in the championship game, winning 4-0. RIP Obie Maull, Cape class of 1981, football and baseball player, who was a catcher who went into the Orioles farm system. Growing up in Lewes, he reached out to help my boys with baseball. It’s no secret his life went off road, but like so many, he showed up on the planet a nice guy and left the same way. “The end is the beginning” explains life’s mystery for me. Go on now, git!