Caruso is a good guy who wants to be a teacher/coach

Dania Cannon has been running the show since seventh grade
January 11, 2019

Choir boy - I sat down with Cape wrestler Anthony Caruso Tuesday morning at Cape, deciding not to forfeit the opportunity. Anthony is Cape’s all-time leader in wins with 106. He’s also the all-time leader in accepting forfeits from grapplers who made weight. “I understand,” Anthony said, “but most wrestlers prefer to compete and make the other guy earn the win.” I told Anthony my description of him: “You look like a choirboy, but if the church burns down, you are the first person I’d interview.” He laughed for five minutes, which showed me confidence, intelligence and self-awareness. The comfortableness after finding yourself inside a sportswriter’s joke showed me something about an athlete often viewed by others as a “tech fall torturer.” “I’m a really nice person, but on the mat I’m all business – the same as any good wrestler,” Anthony said. Anthony has a senior internship and works at Rehoboth Elementary with teacher Richard Lantz. “I want to be a teacher and coach,” Anthony said. “He’s so good with kids in the little wrestlers’ program,” his teammates say. Anthony is looking at Oklahoma City University, which has 3,000 students and is an NAIA school that competes in the Sooner Athletic Conference. The school has 22 athletic teams, nicknamed the Stars, including both men’s and women’s wrestling teams. Coach Sam Hazewinkel is a former Oklahoma All-American and Olympic wrestler, as were his dad Dave and uncle Jim.

Running the show - Dania Cannon is a born point guard. Her mom Dashina is retired military. There is a quiet confidence with both of them and no space for trifling. I first watched Dania, now a junior, play when she was in seventh grade at Mariner. We get along great, and she has always had time for me. I think maybe she’s sending me a bounce pass underneath before she graduates. I’ll spring from my chair and hope I don’t miss the bunny. At Dover on Jan. 8, she took over a crazy street ball game, settling down her own team and making key plays down the stretch. “I’m not as fast as I used to be because of the ACL injury, but I’m getting back there,” she said after the Dover game. Coach Pat Woods, a former point guard himself, knows to handle Dania with care, because she is the opposite of selfish, as she just wants all her players to play the game the right way. Bottom line: The Cape girls’ team would be lost without her.

Mallet by Mariner - Employing the Sussex County Kinship Matrix, I am related to Cape junior basketball player Colin Mallet because his stepdad, Jace Burton, is my daughter-in-law Suzannah Martin Frederick’s first cousin. Colin was a carnival act coming off the bench at Mariner, a little guy who would launch three-pointers with no conscious thought. He wasn’t bashful. He would rain down multiple trifectas and fans would go, “That’s so cute.” The first time he saw me sitting on the stage behind the end line, he said, “How’s it going, Fredman?” so he scored major points with me right away. Colin grew taller and made the Cape varsity, and Tuesday against unbeaten Dover, he got a start and responded with 19 points, including six-three pointers. Somebody better get a hand in his face.     

Mr. Oldfangled - I have gone from leading-edge sports journalist to old school and I’m approaching vintage, but I’m never behind the times because my time is now. But looking around the dimly lit gym at Dover High on a Tuesday night for girls’ basketball as the pep band heavy on drums and clanging cymbals dinged my dome, I thought, “That young girl dancing in front is the best athlete in the gym,” and I told her as much. She could easily make Athlete of the Week if she went to Cape. Satchel Paige said, “Don’t look back. Something may be gaining on you,” but I look back and there is no one there.

Snippets - One favorite is going down this weekend in the NFL. I like Indy over Kansas City, and my other upset pick is the Chargers over the Patriots. The Cowboys at Rams game is -7, while the Eagles are -8 at the Saints. I don’t gamble because I’m a proven poor prognosticator, and I don’t need another addiction to complement Lebanon bologna with cream cheese on a triscuit. What Henlopen Conference player besides Duron Harmon from CR, whom everyone downstate claims as a cuz, played for the Patriots? Talk among yourselves. Cape football coach J.D. Maull said Patrick Tkach and Austin Mendez are the school’s representatives in the annual Blue-Gold All-Star game on Friday, June 21. Go on now, git!