Athletes pursue their own passion, they cannot be programmed

Focused moments of sports
August 4, 2020

Passion to Play - The 2019 girls’ lacrosse season began practice missing the Killer Vs, Vienna Iacona and Vivian Lynn, the returning goalies who did not come back out for the team. Both are great kids. Vienna was moving on, while Vivian had a hand injury and called it a career. Freshman Laci Dixon’s experience was playing goalie in middle school for the Mariner boys’ team. Laci will smile before she blinks, but her side-to-side quickness and clearing passes needed work if she was to protect the house for the best team in Delaware that had won 10 state titles in a row. Cape went 18-0 that season, using Dixon and Destiny Kusen in goal en route to state title No. 11. Kusen is a triplet whose sisters are Breahna and Angelica. Destiny was a member of an undefeated junior varsity girls’ basketball team that included just seven girls. Destiny is an emerging athlete learning to be a goalie. In the alumni game, she stoned Lindsay Monigle twice. Lindsay is a former all-state Cape player who is now playing for West Chester. Lindsay smiled because she is an uncanny finisher. Add rising freshman Anna Lopez to the mix of who could start for most varsity teams in the state. 

Pursuing passion - Athletes for the most part don’t chase championships, they pursue passion. I’ve seen many blue-chip kids over the years walk away from a sport in which they excel because they just don’t want to do it any longer. It takes courage not to do what most others think you should do. “You ain’t me” is a truism and would have been my tagline if I had been a philosopher in the time of Aristotle and Plato (385 BC, by the way).  

Wrote it, can’t read it - Jack McPike, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound Cape quarterback was an honorary game captain Oct. 19, 2018. Jack was back in Tampa being treated for brain cancer, so his brother Dan, also a former Cape quarterback, stood in for him. “We,” the Cape quarterback and extended family and friends, are now into year three since discovery and diagnosis. It’s been rough and the outlook is grim, yet hope is a holdout. I wrote a paragraph for Jack’s honorary captain night, but for me, that type of writing is as close as I get to touching my own soul, and it’s a scary place. I let Andy Lewis with a professional announcer's voice with the right cadence read what I wrote from the press box. Andy didn’t see the last line coming and when he read, “Long may you run, Jack McPike, with your Cape heart shining in the sun,” he lost it. The line is a paraphrase from the Neil Young song,”Long may you run.” The family is now gathered in Colorado sharing a little Rocky Mountain High. Jack and parents flew to Germany by private jet last Sunday to take advantage of therapies only offered in the European country.

Focused moments - Matt Garvey is the guy who runs by my chair in a 5K always pointing to the logo on his shirt. I’ve captured enough of those moments to know it was something special. When he wrote to me, ”thanks for the picture,” I asked Matt, “what’s up with the shirt?” He responded, “It’s an oak tree with my son’s initials in the middle. My wife and I organize a team for the Attack Addiction 5K in New Castle. Our son Matt passed away just over two years ago from an accidental overdose.” Running for a reason. I’ve found that most runners are not as self obsessed as you may think, but running for some spiritual sense of helping others and keeping memories alive.   

Snippets - Cats don’t run 5Ks. Everything they do is a short sprint. Cats sometimes pant on a hot day, but they don’t like it, almost admitting, “I must have lost my damn mind.” The athletic cats are out of the bag this summer, all catnipped up with enthusiasm, glad to be running and chasing the yarn balls of their dreams. The chronological adults in this country have made mask-wearing a political statement. I know high school kids can spot a hoser/poser a 100 yards away and can run them down before you can say, “Jack Rabbit.” Those cats are born to run; they will soon enough be basking on the blacktop of a hot driveway. Cory Barnes of Lewes is heading to Beckley Prep Academy in West Virginia. Cory once committed to Towson University. Go on now, git! 

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