Basement Boys to Beach Boys, they get around

June 11, 2021

Ahead of the game - I was a Rehoboth Beach Patrol rookie at age 30 with a wife and four kids, and a rescue collie named Waffle. My son Dave was also a Rehoboth Beach lifeguard. Just last Wednesday I asked grandson Magic Mikey, 16, if he was pulling any SoDel shifts on weekends. He said, “No, I’m on the Dewey Beach Patrol.” C.J. Fritchman, Luke Bender and Mikey, the center core of Cape’s wrestling state championship, are all lifeguarding in Dewey this summer and grappling in the Kammerer basement gym most nights. Basement Boys to Beach Boys, they get around.

Five Guys - Baseball insanity for locals will likely never happen again. Local guys Jake and Zack Gelof are playing for the University of Virginia, David Erickson and Mason Fluharty are pitchers for Liberty (NCAA regional games) and Brock Hilligoss, a pitcher at Salisbury (NCAA national championship bracket), were all playing at the same time. My wife Susan came by the home office and asked my too-white-for-daytime housebound self, “Just how many games are you watching?” I said, “I don’t really know,” but the answer was four counting my desktop, laptop and 15-inch Sansui television. You see those five guys as Athletes of the Week because it's a week they will always share, and many local muppets share it with them. 

Lots of likes - I have contemporary friends who left town. In conversation with another younger friend, he said to me, “They just didn’t like where this place has gone,” adding, “I’m not sure I like it as much as I used to.” I answered, “What do you like as much as you used to?” Age and change are inevitable forces as long as the earth keeps spinning 1,000 mph, so how come when you jump up, you come down in the same spot?  

Salisbury University - The Seagulls athletically remind me of the West Chester Golden Rams of the ’60s and ’70s. They have 46 undergraduate programs, 15 masters’ degrees and two doctoral programs. Rarely if ever do I hear a Salisbury student-athlete downtowning the school or its sports teams. There are 10 sports each for men and women. This spring, the women's lacrosse team won the NCAA championship, and so did the baseball team. The men’s lacrosse team lost in the final in double overtime. An athlete who makes a varsity team at Salisbury University is a serious player on the map, and by reputation, the school and sports programs basically recruit themselves. 

Snippets - Sam Young, a Cape kid and state champion pole vaulter, went to Delaware, but with no track team, he transferred to Virginia, where he excelled, clearing 17 feet. Sam qualified for the NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore., scheduled June 9-12. Sam let it all hang out in finals, but because pole vaulting is a quirky and crazy event, he “no heighted.” Just another bend in the road for Sudden Sam. The collegiate record for the event is 19-feet-8 1/4-inches, set by Mondo Duplantis of LSU in 2019. The Major League Baseball draft is next month following a combine. It reminds me of a song lyric by Molly Tuttle: “There comes a time to say that’s good enough.” Zack Gelof projects to be a top prospect. I'd put him at third for the Phillies after the all-star break. Alec Bohm is batting .216 and has taken more collars than an urban dog catcher. Cape football finished up five nights of spring practice June 10. Cape is the top public school sports side across the array of programs, which means football must compete with lacrosse zealots for enthusiastic commitment. Cape hockey expects 12 rostered seniors this fall, very unusual for the Vikings to have a front-loaded array of talent. Bodes well for the 2021 season, but like a captain riding a wave, it’s smart to pay attention to the following sea. The SoDel Cares 5K is Saturday, June 12, at  8:30 a.m. at Thompson Island Brewing Co. At least show up, pretend to run and grab a couple free sandwiches. Going to a wedding in Princeton late Saturday where I’m slotted as Poppy’s brother and grandson. How can that happen? A Reader’s Digest riddle? Nope. Two Poppys in the House of Spirits. Go on now, git!  

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