The Beast of the East is an absolute bear
Skin in the game -The Beast of the East wrestling tournament contested at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center features 116 teams over 14 weight classes contested over two days on 11 mats of double elimination. The event attracts the best high school competition in the country. Not all teams have full squads, so figure 1,200 wrestlers, and all but 112 go home with two losses, while only 14 get through unscathed and are crowned Beast champions. A best placer means the grappler finished in the top eight. Blair Academy dominated the team scoring with 365 points followed by Wyoming Seminary with 238, Bergen Catholic with 162, Mount St. Joe’s with 133, Bethlehem Catholic with 126, Delbarton with 119, Lake Highland Prep with 117, Northampton with 116, Elyria with 108 and Malvern Prep with 107. Delaware team scores were Smyrna with 45, Sussex Tech with 33, Caesar Rodney with 31, Salesianum with 29, Caravel with 23, St. Georges with 23, Sussex Central with 22, Cape with 20, Middletown with 19, Indian River with 13, Milford with 12, Laurel with 11 and Delcastle with five. Cape brought seven wrestlers to the Beast, including Mikey Frederick at 120 (1-2), Anthony Caruso at 132 (2-2), Finbar Rishko at 138 (0-2), Jackson Handlin at 152 (0-2), Roy Jones at 170 (0-2), Chris Handlin at 182 (1-2) and Billy Ott at 195 (1-2). Really good kids were falling like apples in Knapp’s Orchard. There are weight-loss safeguards built into the system, which is an eye-opener because they are necessary. Some athletes look big for their weight – older and lighter – a good formula to follow. Touching some of these All-Americans is like sniffing a carnivorous plant; your seconds of survival will be spent trying to get away.
Getting dorked - Local Drew Ostroski coined the term 30 years ago as a metaphor for what happened to his head when he got his hair cut at Mel’s Barber Shop in Lewes. We all loved Mel and went there regularly to “get dorked.” Earlier this week, Buena Regional High School of South Jersey junior Andrew Johnson was told mat-side by the wrestling ref that his hair and headgear were not in compliance. So he had a choice: cut his hair or forfeit. Andrew, a handsome fellow with dreads that he called braids, allowed himself to get dorked by a student manager. And of course he went out and won a close match with an overtime takedown for two points awarded by the official. A video of the haircut went viral, and, in the words of Jimmy Durante, everybody wanted to get into the act. The New Jersey branch of the American Civil Liberties Union said the issue is race, not hair. Johnson is mixed-race – his mom is white, which means writers like me should just get away and go get dorked somewhere. Referee Alan Maloney is white, but, more telling, he is also bald. Maloney got in a verbal confrontation at a private gathering with another ref, who is black, in 2016, where he allegedly dropped the N word on his head in front of witnesses. That story is impossible to shake, so the underlying issue is not the haircut, it’s all about race.
Get off my lawn chair! Christmas Day. An NBA quadruple-header. I am old school, and I find today’s game hard to watch. I get a strong sense of the final result midway through the first quarter. The athletes are exquisite, fast and powerful, but I wonder what coaches talk to players about during timeouts. Much of what I see looks like “change of pace” Friday inside the Cape Little Big House of the late 1970s. A 6-foot-11 inside player throws down and is thrilled with himself, but we’re all more thrilled when big guys – excuse me, bigs – miss dunks because at least that is funny. But I also realize the younger crowd of viewers is not missing the old days because they are not old. By the way, my 10 greatest Lakers of all time are Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Shaq O’Neal, Hot Rod Hundley and Michael Cooper. LeBron James needs to lay down track before he can ride that train.
Snippets - The Eagles are 6.5-point favorites to beat the Redskins, while the Vikings are 4.5-point favorites to beat the Bears and the Ravens are 6-point favorites to beat the Browns. The Browns, who have won seven games this season and are the stepfather of the Ravens, would like nothing more than to wreck their season. Nick Foles may be auditioning for the starting job in Washington next season. My granddaughter Lizzie Fred, now a Temple junior, reports back to school Monday, Jan. 7, to begin practice. The Owls have five games in February before Cape has its first practice March 1. College spring lacrosse in the Northeast is usually brutally cold with snow banks rimming the field. It’s going to be a great spring tracking all the local athletes playing college sports. Go on now, git!