Bikers bogart the flyways and byways; walking is risky business

July 16, 2019

Mosquito Coast - Save the application of Off! and Skin So Soft. Once ravenous marsh-side mosquitoes commit to early morning onshore drilling, you become the hostess with the mostess, unless you flee the habitat while simultaneously smacking your body like Way-Out Willie doing the Crazy Hand Jive. The Seashore Striders Five-Miler Sunday morning on the Gordons Pond Trail was humid and still, and the mosquitoes were too thick to stand still. I was waiting for runners to round the bend near the parking lot start. I looked down at my legs and they were covered with hundreds of mosquitoes. Back out in the parking lot by the finish chute, god’s little greenheads took over, reminding us all that we are born with original sin and most of our lives is payback. The good news was those mosquitos were lazy and didn’t like chasing runners, while bikers like runners even less. More below on sharing the road.

Whose brilliant idea? A come-hot-quickly middle-aged biker woman, perhaps a displaced Outlaw Pagan or Warlock, was not happy to see a running race about to start on her bike path Sunday morning. “Whose brilliant idea was this?” she queried. I responded, “That guy over there,” pointing to Tim Bamforth. She was itching for a fight, while the rest of us were just itching. Bikers bogart the trail system, no question about it, and they are everywhere from Rehoboth to Cool Spring. Runners and walkers think bikers are rude, while bikers think runners are annoying. It all comes into plain sight at crossovers, where motorists drive defensively, dodging what looks like a Tour de France breakaway. I was on etiquette watch at the trailhead, where commingling commenced, and concluded that 80 percent of all special-interest groups were courteous and convivial, and that’s a higher rate of niceness than exists in politics or at the grocery store.

Heavy metal hornets - I was at West Chester East High School Saturday morning getting big camera and blue chair ready for a 2022 boys’ lacrosse game between Philly Roughriders (Cape’s Mikey Fred and Hank D’Ambrogi are on that squad) and a Select team from North Carolina. The long jump pit had a metal cover reflecting the summer sun and hundreds of field hornets were doing touch and goes like it was an aircraft carrier. I’m pretty sure they lived below deck. Those hornets fly fast and randomly, and stay aggressive all day long. The saying, “Don’t bother them and they won’t bother you” doesn’t apply – if they bump into you, you are getting stung. They are just nasty. My son Dave, the Beacon principal said, “Late August before the kids come back to school, I send my crew [custodians] out to spray everything and every place where wasps and hornets may have set up nests.” I imagine worse than getting stung is having a kid get stung and you getting blamed for it.

Getting housed - Bishop Egan High School, where I overachieved in athletics and underachieved in academics, has been torn down. The Cape building where I employed the same over/under approach to my 30-year career has also been torn down. I lived in West Chester, Pa., before showing up at Cape in 1975. There was one high school when I left, Henderson, and now there are three with East and Rustin added to the lineup. Each high school has more than 1,200 students; there are 12,000 students in the district and more than 900 teachers. All great schools with great facilities and super sports teams. And then there’s Malvern Prep, a bargain at $31K a year because the Friars always produce in academics and athletics. I love West Chester and all of Chester County. The only reason we left was to be closer to the beach, where laid-back underachieving is held in high regard.

Snippets - Cape wrestling coach Shane Jensen took five grapplers to the Lock Haven University high school team camp for three days. There are 320 athletes in camp. Cape wrestlers taking a break from the beach are Carson Kammerer, Mikey Frederick, Lucas Ruppert, Jack Wiggins and CJ Fritchman. This is not like a no-contact football camp. Lock Haven is in the heart of wrestling country. They get to lock up live with really good guys. Cape’s girls’ lacrosse team will host an alumni game Thursday, July 25, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Champions Stadium. Contact one of the coaches or players if you are interested in playing. Brandon Legrand, Milford High School all-state running back who led a Mike Tkach-coached team to the 2008 Division II state title, died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident July 14 in Greenwood. “Brandon has to be in the conversation as one of the top 10 all-time running backs in Delaware,” Mike Tkach wrote on Facebook. “He was just a wonderful young man.” Torrie Huk, former Sussex Tech athlete then UMass Lowell, is the new head coach of field hockey at Polytech, replacing Lynn Richardson, who now teaches at Beacon. A great opportunity for a young coach inside the state’s toughest conference, where you have to deal with Delmar, Cape and Sussex Tech each season. The Delaware Running Rebels U16 basketball team coached by Derek Savage won a tournament in New Jersey last weekend. Derek is a good man out there getting it done. Milford School District is allowing eighth-graders to try out for varsity and junior varsity teams, similar to how it works in the Laurel and Delmar school districts. The high school and middle school are physically connected at Milford, which resulted in DIAA approval. There is a meeting Tuesday, July 16, when parents of emerging eighth-graders can discuss the change. Milford is reportedly going to re-evaluate the change after two years. Go on now, git!   

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