Coach Cutty rocks the bald head look; jokes ‘pandemic got me’
Pandemic got me - Coach Gilbert “Cutty” Maull goes back to the Cape days when Bill Muehleisen yielded to Jim Alderman in football and Tom Hickman handed off to Fredman in track. We’re talking 45 years. Then there’s the whole Beacon girls’ track dynasty with Maull teaming up with Tim Bamforth, the two of them like something from an after-school special for kids. Gilbert is now on the staff of his nephew, J.D. Maull. I saw Gilbert out on the Legends Stadium field Tuesday night and he looked different. Was it because he wasn't wearing a hat? And so with all due respect afforded a former athlete, I asked, “Hey, man, have you always been bald?” There was no hesitation. “No, pandemic got me!” Coach Gilbert Maull can make anyone laugh, and at times as a coach his enthusiasm is off the hook.
Coach Icon - Tom Incontrera grew up outside Baltimore in Howard County, Md., and has been playing lacrosse since he was 8 years old. He went to Mt. Hebron High School, where he won a state championship and earned Player of the Year for the county and All-American honors in his senior year, 2006. He played through college (St. Andrew's Presbyterian College, Howard Community College and Salisbury University) and started coaching at Howard right out of college. “I've helped on a number of teams since then when I was moving around the South,” Tom said. Tom currently coaches the Sussex Academy Middle School team, and owns and operates Icon Strength and Conditioning, where he mainly trains athletes, and Icon Lacrosse Academy, where he trains lacrosse players from third-graders through college seniors. I watched Tom coaching the Saltwater 2023 team last week at DE Turf and recognized “a young gun lacrosse coach” doing a great job for the players under his charge.
Upside-down Cape - Coach Bud Hitchens asked me what I thought was going to happen with fall sports. I said, “Let them play. But I think anyone whose age and body mass index add up to over 100 should head for the sidelines to shelter in place in the land of livestreaming. I’ll see you after a vaccine is discovered or Lysol is effective but nontoxic, and we can have the bleach all to ourselves. I mean beach.”
Heartened by hockey - I often joke Cape is a place where a field hockey conversation can break out along the sidelines of a Friday night football game. I watched both sports Tuesday night and came away with impressions, which is why I ventured out in the first place. Cape football has a nucleus of talent – you never have enough – but I honestly think the 2020 Vikings are poised to make some noise. It's just unthinkable that another sports season could be lost. Field hockey was scrimmaging full field and I was impressed with the number of frontline players who are back and still young, plus some JV studs who are ready to move up and sprinkle on top of one of the most talented freshmen classes to hit the sprint turf in years.
Storm and stress - We all know the Weather Channel goes bonkers when a hurricane threatens the Atlantic basin. We have the cone of uncertainty and European model, and it’s all designed for worst-case scenarios. It’s exciting until a tree drops through your bonus room or a twig doing 80 mph hits a weather bunny in the temple. The pandemic prognostications spooled out on cable news networks are always disheartening with the message, “We haven’t seen the worst of it yet.” It reminds me of the Weather Channel. Perhaps Jim Cantore should deliver pandemic updates in a driving rainstorm. Where’s Mr. Rogers when we need him?
Follow the money - I have a friend from the running scene, Abe Hoffman, who is a forensic economist. Abe is an expert witness in complicated civil trials that would put the average person to sleep. As a sportswriter, I was at times asked to “follow the money,” which is not really my wheelhouse, but I was all about Luigi’s Wheelhouse on Lewes Beach. Anyway, Delaware State University purchased Wesley College and I don’t want to follow the money. I always knew on the sports side of the street, Wesley College made no sense, and I don’t understand with a stadium in disrepair how Delaware State is flush enough to purchase an entire college. But I don’t want to know. If I were a person interested in money, I'd have more of it – just never thought it was worth the trade-off.
Snippets - The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference with 18 Division II schools has canceled all fall sports. Surfers make the best athletes in strength, skill and courage, all sprinkled with a soulful satisfaction. If the Cape Region had consistent ocean swells, you would see fewer kids out for team sports. My 11-year-old grandson Will can ride a board while standing on his head, wakeboard like a California Boy, and he plays the piano and the sax. He is “that guy.” Go on now, git!