Cape Big House rocks with impact players outside the lines

December 18, 2018

Impact player - Luke Williams rolled into Cape as “the new kid,” and because of the junior’s contagiously positive approach to life, he made an inspirational connection with people who value that personality trait, starting with his bus driver Sherry Greener and into the hallways, bonding with Kenny Riedel and Tommy Rushin. “Just a great kid. He really knows his football and basketball, and he’s very enthusiastic about school,” Riedel said. Kenny is his own special Cape story, entering the game early (five weeks premature) and, ironically, had to catch up from his jump start into life. Luke, the youngest of five children, was also born prematurely, and has cerebral palsy which affects his arms and legs. He has gone through multiple surgeries and uses a wheelchair for his daily living. “He is smart as a whip,” said his mom Renee. Kenny reflected on his early start: “I had some issues with alignment of hips, lung development and had to do a lot of PT as a kid.” The Slam Dunk begins Thursday, Dec. 27, and Kenny will be the most knowledgeable basketball writer in the gym. I’ve been his mentor and friend since his ninth-grade year, and he knows way more than I do, and I’m totally cool with that. I’ve known coach Tommy Rushin since Boo Boo first showed up in YBA ball 35 years ago. Tommy has the compassionate gene. He works inside Cape High. He connected with Luke Williams, and last Friday night, thanks to Tommy and coach Steve Re, Luke was an honorary captain for the home opener versus Caesar Rodney. Being Fredman, the man about sports, I asked Luke before the game, “Do you have any idea who I am?” He smiled, then said, “No!” Years ago, I asked a rookie Lewes cop the same question after being snared in the Dairy Queen speed trap, and my audacity of hope resulted in two tickets and a warning. “Don’t ever put my name in your column.” Expect to see Luke as part of the sports scene. He wants to be a journalist, blogger and sportswriter, and Cape has the people in place to help him do that.

Side door sneakers - Retired school administrators Dave Robinson and Brian Donahue rolled in through the side door prior to Friday night’s CR at Cape basketball game. I joked it was to avoid payment. It doesn’t matter if they have lifetime passes; sneaking in is always more fun. It makes you feel like a kid again. Dave’s family was presented with a game ball two years ago prior to the CR at Cape game, as Dave was in the Magee Rehabilitation Center after a bike accident left him paralyzed. Dave has made great progress, and outside of his immediate family, he has great friends like Brian who make sure he gets to games and picks up the lunch tab every fifth rotation when Brian and Dave along with Bill Collick, Bob Cilento and myself meet for lunch. Note: I grew up with my dad in a wheelchair, so when I see someone out and about, stranger or friend, I always ask them, “What’s your butt doing in that chair?” because if it were me, I’d want to tell my story.

Depth perception - It’s called depth of field in photography. Do you want only one image in focus? In basketball, the orange rim and net? Or run it out to include big-headed kid in the sixth row flashing his white belly as a purposeful distraction to the shooter? Last Friday night, the Cape cheerleaders performed behind the basket, so the blue curtain was raised and the increased depth of field resulted in five airballs for Cape in the first quarter. Cape’s cheerleaders are seriously enthusiastic and part of the Friday night show, plus the cheerleaders never lose by 20.

Robert Ruffin - Robert graduated from Sussex Central in 1988. He was a two-sport beast in football and basketball who helped the Golden Knights get to the state basketball final in March 1988. Robert went to Swarthmore on a McCabe scholarship and earned a mechanical engineering degree.He was inducted into the Swarthmore College Sports Hall of Fame in October. Let me throw in that he has an MBA from Harvard. Robert is expert vice president of Bain & Company’s Boston office.

Snippets - Nick Foles and Markelle Fultz are two Philly athletes who are most likely gone from the scene next season. Both are great guys. Foles has delivered, while Fultz continues to circle the block looking for a place to park. The Eagles’ 30-23 win over the Rams was as unexpected as the Cowboys losing to the Colts 23-0. The Redskins also stay in the hunt behind Josh Johnson with a 16-13 win over Jacksonville. Wrestlers soon get a two-pound allowance, but the rest of us do not. Go on now, git!