Comcast to Coach Fred 37 years and a minute late
Coach and Comcast - A Comcast technician stepped out of his truck onto my driveway 37 years and one minute late. He said, “Coach Fred," and I recognized my track athlete, a triple jumper from 1981, Tony Gibbs. What is 37 years between a coach and athlete? I told Tony, “You look great,” because at 55, his hardworking life with no vices has paid off. He said, “So do you, coach,” because he’s a kind person. Tony comes from a family that includes brothers Lloyd, Mike and Wayne, and sister Patricia. Wayne passed 18 months ago, the result of a heart ailment. Lloyd and Mike are truck drivers of big rigs and have been for a long time. We shared stories and philosophies of sports. The unexpected reunion was so much fun. We hugged before he left, and a neighbor looked on, "Fredman must really like Comcast." Tony said, “I’m not leaving until all lights are green, coach. And if you ever have a problem, Comcast or anything, you call my personal number.” I wore my go-to Dolphins shirt for the picture with Tony. I look like Larry Csonka at the 1972 undefeated team reunion. Tony looks more like Paul Warfield.
Round-trip ticket - It was 90 degrees and clear skies Sept. 26 as I drove the Canterbury Road to Polytech to cover a quadrangular cross country meet that was a nonstarter, having been pushed forward a day, but who knew? So I drove back south through dreaded Rising Sun and Magnolia, and other places where you not only don’t want to break down but you don’t slow down. And so I pulled into Milford to check out sixth-grade granddaughter Lina’s very first hockey game – we talkin’ B game. But I couldn’t find it because it too had been cancelled. And so I was back at Cape with 70 miles on the trip meter and nothing to show for it except an empty Gatorade bottle.
Bust a Moo - Dolphins, cows and smooth-operating Dogfish dot-dash my three-race weekend. Throw in some Pop Warner and high school football, and a 50 years of Cape hockey celebration on Saturday, and I’m ready to hit the $200 couch purchased from New Life Thrift Store. The Mooo-Run at Hopkins Dairy Farm gives new meaning to the terms “Meth Lab” and Bomb Disposal Unit. “Cattle belch methane. It accounts for 16 percent of world’s methane emissions into the atmosphere,” according to Wikipedia. New calves are all named by computer at Hopkins farm, except for one, Strider Cow, named on race day last year, and two Shanaenaes who bust a moo every day and don’t play.
Happy Valley - Ohio State at Penn State at 7:30 p.m., Saturday night is one of many “games of the year” in college football. Parking spaces are being sublet for $150. My niece Michelle and her husband Tom will be parked in the family travel trailer 10 miles away. A shuttle bus picks them up and drops them off at an entrance gate like VIPs, all for $10. My brother Tom dressed for that game at Ohio State in 1963 and so did his roommate Jerry Sandusky. Penn State won 10-7. Pete Liske was the Penn State quarterback with fullback Tom Urbanik and halfback Gary Klingensmith. Klingensmith was deaf and moved on movement. Gary went on to be head football coach at Juniata College in 1969. In August 2017, he received a cochlear implant, and at 70, he could hear for the first time since he lost his hearing at age 5.
Woody what? A rainy day in February of the late 1960s, a gruff man in a trench coat walked into the Chester High School office and asked to speak to the football coach. “Coach Staferi, there’s a man in the office wishes to speak with you.” “What did you say your name is sir?” “Woody Hayes.” “He said his name is Woody Hayes.” Do you think in 2018 Lou Saban visits high schools to close on top recruits?
Snippets - The Pop Warner cheerleaders will be joining the Cape squad on the sidelines for Friday night’s home game versus Smyrna. Kai Maull won the Penn Relays Championship of America in April 1998. Tim Bamforth and I were on the field with media passes. I was taking photos, so I’m not sure what Coach B was talking to Kai about after each jump. Bill Cosby was on the infield that early Saturday morning, so I played my Temple card – I sorta know him – and got some photos, a Kai and Cos theme. Pre-digital, so Kai has all the glossy prints now displayed somewhere in his trophy room. Cape basketball coach Steve Re has started a podcast on Cape athletics. Look for the “missing link” sometime and someplace soon. And remember when talking around Fredman, you are always on the record. Go on now, git!