Autism Awareness Week includes the captains circle before games

ESLC sends seven teams to Sunday tournament at DE Turf
October 30, 2018

Shelter in place - I show up super early for sports assignments, then I just hang out in my 4Runner rather than lollygagging at home, just so I can arrive on time. At twilight hour Oct. 26, I drank hot coffee from a YETI cup, just chillin’ like Bob Dylan, when I saw just too many people coagulating and congregating on the Cape track. I heard the amped voice of Andy Lewis say, “Autism Awareness Week one lap walk,” so I quickly grabbed my wide-angle lens to capture the finish. Cheerleaders from Sussex Central and some parents meshed with the walkers. The Cape hockey team walked with arms locked along with several teachers and administrators. The Cape football players came over to lane one to cheer on the finish. Tyler Legates, a wrestler, and Christian Partlow, a track man, were honorary game captains. My brain was temporarily frozen when I realized that I not only coached Christian’s grandfather, but knew his grandfather’s grandmother Miz Mabel. Tuesday night at Champions Stadium, the honorary captains were freshmen. I told them my name and said, "Never forget it," then I forgot their names. Later I relearned them as Rihanna Powell and Skye Best. Rihanna looked at my misshapen skullcap too small from my dome and said, "Fredman, your hat is just all wrong,” and so I straightened it and asked, "Is that better?" Rihanna shrugged and said, "Not really."

Little Lady Laxers - I’m just a gramps guy walking softly and carrying a big camera. After shooting the Sea Witch 5K on Sunday morning and getting great photos of a werewolf and octopus running down Henlopen Avenue, I was Frederick to Frederica to catch some Eastern Shore Lacrosse Club action at the DE Turf sports complex. For the ESLC, my son Dave is commissioner by default, handed the job by the Zen Master P.J. Kesmodel. I wanted to watch one game in which my granddaughter Lina was playing, then boogie south, telling Lina afterward, “Log in my appearance – date, time and place – for this tournament into your grandparent book because I want credit.” There are seven ESLC teams organized by year of high school graduation, starting with 2020 and going down in age through 2026/27 grads. There are approximately 140 total players from Dover to Stephen Decatur. Cape’s Champions Stadium serves as the home base.

Need not be literate - There are schools noted for broadcast journalism, like Northwestern, Syracuse and Temple, just to name three. But in sports, many high-profile jobs are handed over to those with name recognition who talk loud and fast, and make one grammatical mistake after another, all the while trying to sound like an erudite sports sociologist. I never hear sports fans talk about a broadcast team they like, but often about people in the booth they can’t stand, with Joe Buck and Cris Collinsworth leading the way. Remember the theme from Midnight Cowboy recorded by Harry Nilsson? “Everybody’s talkin’ at me, but I don’t hear a word they’re sayin’; only the echoes of my mind.” Turn the sound down on the TV and just follow the crawl at the bottom of the screen while listening to satellite. “You be pretty much stuck.” (joke - get it?).

Merrill Reese - The radio voice of the Eagles the last 40 years is now 76 years old with jet-black hair. He drives an Eagles green sports car with the vanity tag Merrill. Reese has a bachelor’s degree from Temple in communications and broadcasting. I listened to Eagles radio on my way to DE Turf on Sunday and marvelled at Reese’s brilliance. His voice pierces the airways on a fall morning. The fact that after 40 years he is still enthusiastically all the way is just nuts.

Snippets - I know that the starting 11 on Cape’s field hockey team are all honor roll students from two-parent households. It’s a demographic thing, part of the school profile. Thirty-four percent of school-age kids nationally grow up in single-parent households, and that translates to 24 million students. At DE Turf, I saw lots of grandparents soaking up the sun and beaming with pride, watching their granddaughters run up and down the field. That is demographic data for the taking. Does it make a difference in the future development of the child? Who am I? A sociologist or a sportswriter? Go on now, git!