Big guys grow up trying not to hurt their friends

February 8, 2019

What up big guy? My older brother Tom, nicknamed Moose, grew up the biggest guy on the block. He was an athletic kid, but a nice guy who never drank or cursed, just not in his nature. “Most big guys grow up trying not to hurt their friends,” Tom always said, adding, “Coaches sometimes struggle turning nice guys into mean machines, which is often not in their nature.” On Feb. 6, I chatted with sophomore Josiah Miller and gave my buddy Lucas Ruppert a “what’s up?” at the wrestling match. Last fall, both were on the football field playing the tackle position. What’s amazing is Lucas, 14, and Josiah, 15, are too young to drive a car but not to drive block. But they are out there in the trenches with 18-year-olds who bench 300 pounds or wrestle heavyweight in varsity matches or perhaps throw the shot put because that’s what big guys do. Both Josiah and Lucas are big men, except they are still nice kids. Thankfully, they are nice people, because if they went rogue elephant, there would be a lot of empty tables in the cafeteria.

Why you asking me? “Excuse me, young lady, would you be interested in throwing the shot put for the track team?” I never did, or would I, recruit a woman from a cafeteria table to throw an eight-pound steel ball. Women don’t want to hear, “you look like a big, strong girl. Have you ever considered throwing the shot put?” “Why not ask a bony ponytailed person at the salad bar? Leave me alone. Mr. Pillsbury. Is Betty Crocker waiting for you in the car?” Cape has produced a bunch of good women (strongly built) that have been conference champions in the shot and discus over the years. Being broad-shouldered, quick and athletically coordinated certainly helps, and a little body mass also helps propel the projectile. I just thought of this after writing about recruiting big guys. Michael Carter and his daughter Michelle hold national high school records in the shot. Mike set the record 81-feet-3-inches (breaking previous record by 9 feet). Michael also won three Super Bowl rings with the 49ers. Michelle won the Olympic gold in the shot at the 2016 games in Rio. She started as a 5-foot-9, 300-pound thrower but worked her way down to 260. She threw the 4k shot (8 pounds) 67-feet-8-inches to win the gold. Michelle Carter said, “I could beat sprinters in 20 meters. I have speed. I have strength. I have agility. I'm a full-blown athlete. I'm just not as cut. I'm a little fluffier than others, but my body is a well-oiled machine."

Dave Truitt - When I came to Cape in the summer of 1975, the new school was under construction on Ozzie Warrington's farm. The double-decker gym (which I nicknamed The Little Big House) was impressive. The word was the athletically minded school board built the gym first and with the leftover money, they built the rest of the school. The last of that all-star seven-person school board passed away last weekend. Dave Truitt was a Cape character and avid Philadelphia sports fan. That school board also included Harry Moore, John Keefe, Buck Ratledge, Kenny Lingo, Jim Reed and Jesse Millman. Times changed, and that new school and gym have been knocked down, but those seven guys were Cape all day every day. Much respect sent the way of the Magnificent Seven part of local history when everybody knew your name.

Snippets - You know your life needs a serious reassessment when a basketball official tosses you from the gym at a middle school game and you don’t even have a kid on the team. Alia Marshall, the 2018 Division I Delaware Player of the Year in field hockey and new school record holder in the indoor 400 meters, missed the Henlopen Conference Track Championships because she was trying out for the United States Field Hockey Association U19 National team. I saw Alia at Cape Feb. 6, a chance passing, and asked her, “How did the tryouts go?” “I made it to the last cut, but didn’t make the team,” she said with a smile. “It’s okay. It was a good experience, and I saw what I needed to work on.” Alia will be heading into lacrosse season in a couple of weeks, then off to Northwestern in the late summer to commence her collegiate field hockey career. Sussex Tech will be at Cape Friday night in a girls’ basketball showdown for supremacy in the Henlopen North. The Cape Magnificent Seven, the undefeated JV team (14-0), plays the Ravens (6-2) at 5 p.m. That should be a good game. The Henlopen Conference Swim Championships will be at Sussex Academy all day Saturday until it’s over. Nick Foles gave back $2 million not to accept $20 million so he could later make $25 million with another team. Honestly, I don’t care because I can’t relate. I do know if I told locals, “I’m leaving Sussex County for a better place,” the first and final words I would hear would be, “Go on now, git!”