Bloodied warrior Matt Prestipino all about the grit and the grind

June 11, 2019

Draw blood - Matt Prestipino, a senior long pole dirty worker on Cape’s lacrosse team, was floating on euphoria on the pitch at Caesar Rodney June 6 after Cape secured a 12-10 state championship win over Salesianum. There was dried blood on his chin and neck, and all over the collar and shoulder of his No. 8 white jersey. And the handsome warrior with square jaw would just smile and thank everyone who said “good game.” And he was the same guy when they stitched him up in the emergency room. Matt didn’t see the field until his junior year, but warriors persevere; they just keep showing up for the battle. It’s just hard to defeat those kinds of people.

Duathlon Danielle - Before her race Sunday morning, Danielle Wagamon found me and posed for her priceless “eight months” big belly photo recently labeled by Beacon Lunch Lady Lori Holdsworth. Danielle is a long-limbed, athletic person who can light up the world with her smile. I thought of a line from a song, “I am woman, hear me roar,” written and sung by Helen Reddy in 1971. It’s about empowerment way before the Me Too movement. I don’t know Danielle, but her smile racing a duathlon while eight months pregnant makes me want to nickname her baby and send a gift to the first baby shower. I’m thinking of the band Toad the Wet Sprocket, but Toad is not a suitable nickname, so let’s go with Sprocket.

You’ll know the answer - Many times a Cape-connected sports person will say to me, “If anyone knows, you’ll know the answer to this Cape sports question,” and before I even hear it, I’ll respond, “You’d be surprised how much I don’t know.” The response is, “No, we wouldn’t.” After that dance in the dark, we get right down to brass factoids. This upcoming sports year, 2019-20, Cape will celebrate 50 years of sports history. There have been 58 state championships won by the boys and girls, each winning 29. Adding boys’ and girls’ championships together, cross country, indoor and outdoor track total 25. Next is lacrosse with 18 state titles. Field hockey has nine championships. Basketball has three, followed by football, baseball and girls’ tennis each with one. The Cape girls in the sports of track, field hockey and lacrosse have won 20 championships just since 2009. This fall marks the 40th anniversary of the 1979 football state championship. I could go Lionel Ritchie and talk about this sports stuff “all night long.” The great thing about championships is you own them forever and are free to take a sentimental journey any time you please.

Adrenaline Platinum Cup - On Saturday and Sunday, the Fredman 4Runner power glided into the DE Turf sports complex to check out the Adrenaline Platinum Cup, a lacrosse recruitment tournament featuring age-group teams from all over the Northeast corridor. The Roughriders out of Malvern, Pa., included rising Cape sophomores Hank D’Ambrogi, Mikey Frederick, Sean Wick and Finn Forcucci. The level of play was extraordinary, and my question for the individual athlete playing a team sport has always been, “When the game speeds up, can you go with it?” Learning how to play fast, you have to play faster. Leaving the Cape comfort zone and making new friends through a sport that you love to play is also great. And, yes, many sideline parents are crazy, but some are really nice. I am the quiet, yet crazy Fredpop, with a lens too long and stories even longer. I use these venues to practice and to pick up a few pointers.

Snippets - Bryce Harper is Ryan Howard after “the Big Piece” signed his fat contract. And I know there’s something I could do as well as Bryce and that’s strike out 81 times and walk 38 more times in 65 games. He does have 60 hits in 239 at bats and makes $33 million per season. It’s no wonder he got caught stealing home Sunday because he’s been stealing money all season. Postscript: I like Harper as a player, but I like my jokes better and couldn’t give him a free pass. Summer is recruitment period for fall high school sports. Show me a coach who puts up a signup sheet but makes no personal contacts and I’ll show you a team with more character than characters, and you need both to win. The downside of selling it and twisting arms is when practice begins, the recruiting process is over. Cape’s boys’ basketball coach position is not set in wet concrete, so if you see initials ST or DA, just take your big trowel and smooth over them. Go on now, git!      


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