Bet your bottom dollar – the sun will come out tomorrow

April 3, 2020

Here Comes the Sun - I was too big in a seat too small in the Rehoboth Elementary School theater watching a production of “Annie Junior.” Ten years ago, Lizzie Fred, who just turned 22 March 31, shared the lead with one of those pretty Smith girls; I think it was Molly. Lizzie wore a red wig and sang, “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.” I started to punch myself in the face so I had a manly reason to cry. Great-grandmother Helen was in the house. And what a great song, because you “bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun! Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya! Tomorrow. You’re always a day away.” I am weary of pessimistic prognostics of pandemic outfalls – “We may be looking at 100,000 deaths, possibly 240,000.” My response is, “You had no model of predictability going in, so I don’t want to hear any projected more-or-less catastrophic results coming out.” 

Temple of Gloom - Most sports stories I’ve read predict that post-pandemic depression is on the horizon, that things will never be the same, and that American culture, so steeped in sports from youth leagues through the professional ranks, will never recover. I’m thinking the opposite may happen; that we all will hit the ground running and never stop playing and talking about playing. Maybe the pandemic will get me or, as Poppy Frank liked to say from row house Philly when the Whiz Kids were winning the pennant in 1950, “Boogie Man gonna get David!” Well, he’s been chasing me a long time and I still ain’t scared.  

Stand By Me - I taught psychology at Cape and a few classes at Delaware Tech, and I always brought myself to the classroom, “The World According to Fredman.” I talked of things like friendships, family pets, and religious beliefs and how most people apply them to everyday living. I had fun, so we all had fun, except the girl who was five chapters ahead underlining sentences and asking me the difference between abhorrent and aberrant behaviors. We talked of friendships and loyalties. I always told them, “It’s easy to have close friends when they don’t need you,” but sometimes a muppet from the village loses their mind, gets jammed up, maybe breaks laws, and if friends dive for deep water, then they really weren’t true friends in the first place. I think I could write a book, “My Imperfect Unlikable Lovable Friends.” Sports teams love breaking huddles shouting “family” and talking “life lessons.” Well, it’s time to walk the walk.  

Empty bus - Two Cape buses of just boys rolled north for track meets in the early 1970s. The second stopped at the store at Argos Corner to fill up not with gas, but with sprinters and jumpers and distance runners. Coach Tom Hickman got that rolling with names like Waples, Parker, White, Howell, Hazzard, Zachery, Daniels and Burton. I used to joke, “Slaughter Neck is the only place where daycare goes disco on Saturday night.” Now in 2020, we reflect on old school and wonder, “Where did everybody go?” Cape’s student population continues to grow, but let’s “rock the real.” The demographics are way different now, and I’m no sociologist, although I do have a degree.  

Snippets - Penn Relays: so many great stories over 50 years of Cape track teams making the trip to Philly, and so many great moments to witness as our high school athletes got to be a part of the 10,000 who participated over four days of competition. In the late 1990s, Kai Maull, who just turned 40, won the High School Championship of America with a leap of 24-feet-9-inches. In the early 1980s, Vincent Glover, the first U.S. finisher in triple jump behind two Jamaican competitors, took off two feet behind the board and jumped 48-6, which stayed a state record for 20 years. According to coach Debbie Windett, spring sports chairs were directed to come up with options for a shortened season to submit to the DIAA board for committee teleconferences scheduled for the next board meeting in April. If you just said, “It doesn’t look good,” I remind you, after months of sheltering in place, nobody looks good. If you’re missing seeing the ocean, there is the option of buying a used boat. I’d advise against a pontoon and only get a Bayliner if you’re from Philly or Jersey and like to throw wake in canals sitting on your cooler filled with hoagies. And remember, a Boston Whaler is unsinkable, but it will beat you to death. And remember, self-bailing only works when you’re underway and up on plane. Go on now, git! 

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