Blue and the Britts roll into Cape wrestling match

Willie Vann, 1973 state champ, was a Brittingham brother
February 11, 2022

Blue rolls into wrestling match - “I haven’t been to a Cape wrestling match in 40 years,” said Eugene “Blue” Brittingham from his wheelchair prior to the William Penn match Wednesday night. “Man, they don’t make it easy with this no-ticket policy. I’m surprised my brothers were smart enough to get us through the door.” Blue was there with brothers Jimmy and Kevin, and brother-in-law Cliff Gibbs. Jimmy is a former Kevin Kennedy Award winner The late Willie Vann, Cape’s first state champion at 123 pounds back in 1973, is their brother. Blue had his legs amputated a few years back because of diabetes. He and I go back to 1975, my first year at Cape. Blue is smart and funny, and before the match, we were all laughing and telling stories from back in the day. The Cape Big House is a meeting house, while in the fall and spring the meetings move outside. The games and matches just give us a reason for being there. 

Coach Roy Rigby - I was at the 25th annual Delaware State Wrestling Championship in 1981 at Caesar Rodney High School. I went back there in my memory last week when I heard of the passing of legendary Milford coach Roy Rigby. The Bucs won the team title by crowning six state champions over 12 weight classes. They were Orlando Pettyjohn (98), Harry Crapper (105), Gary Downs (132), Scott Bieber (138), Wayne Newsome (155) and Darryl Hicks (167). Roy was feisty and fiery, a great guy if he was your guy. Hopefully he will be honored at the upcoming DIAA individual tournament later this month.   

Academic Awards - DIAA started the Academic Award, one for each team, presented before each state tournament matchup. There is no name etched on the plaque; the coach is told, “OK, pick somebody.” I usually snap a photo if I’m given a heads-up. Wednesday night before the wrestling match, the award winners were Mikey Frederick of Cape and Alex Massey of William Penn. Mikey, whose cousin Ella Rishko won the award before a hockey game last fall, jokes, “It’s kind of funny being the smartest guy on the wrestling team, if you think about it.” My grandfather's advice, “Don’t think about it.” Freds will always go for the joke. 

No rhyme or reason - No doubt people who go to games didn't start out to attend a patriotic rally. But you can expect a moment as the national anthem is played or performed live by a student. And if you sit, alone or with friends, believing “all is not right with America,” that is protected political protest. But if you sit for no rhyme or reason that you can articulate, it just makes you look bad. I sometimes take photos during the national anthem (the salute or hand on heart), but never of sitting somebodies, because I just don’t want to elevate their game if they got no game.  

Mark Twain - “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Why do parents and grandparents get butterflies before sporting events watching their progeny battle in the arena of life lessons? Because there is a chance the result may not make you happy, and throwing all perspective out the window, you know you are whack and it would be better for everyone if you went fishing or for a virtual bike ride. 

Snippets - The Bengals are the better story, but the Rams are the better team. Rams are basically four-point favorites, just in case you want to initiate a harmless gambling life diversion that may evolve into an addiction. I’m like most people – if I gamble, I expect to win, and if I win, I let it ride. My version of gambling is term life insurance, except you can only win if you die. James Harden is an uncanny, great player, but he’s a few UberEats deliveries away from a rec league guy who only plays at the offensive end of the court. The Sixers want Harden, but will the Nets really trade for sensitive Ben Simmons to run the court with Kyrie Irving who is in his own orbit, except you can’t orbit a flat planet? Go on now, git!


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