Crooked numbers dominating spring high school sports

April 2, 2021

Crooked numbers - “Mercy, mercy me. Things ain’t like they used to be.” - Marvin Gaye. We have reached April of the high school sports schedule, and looking back on March reveals a plethora of skewed sport scores. Baseball: Websites4sports reports 24 baseball scores with nine games won by 10 runs or more. Boys’ lacrosse: Twenty games played with seven going to the running clock/mercy rule. Girls’ lacrosse: Sixteen games with 10 speeded up by running the clock. Girls’ soccer: Twenty-three games produced 13 shutouts, nine of them by five goals or more. Softball generated 22 games with 13 won by 10 runs or more. I was a track coach and have covered more high school meets than anyone I know on a first-name basis. I’m perplexed that no two meets seem to add up to the same score, which means there are some scoring spots that are not even contested. Just too many beatdowns generating fat stats for individuals kinda throws to the side of the road the adage, “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best or at least get crushed by them.” 

Tuition - Cape Henlopen boys’ lacrosse arrived at Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, Pa., March 30 with three busloads of players for varsity and junior varsity. Cape is a public school from the Delaware beach – Sesame Street by the Sea – and a pretty rich school district in its own right. The yearly tuition cost for Episcopal’s Upper School – it’s a day school – ninth through 12th grade is $38,700, which helps cover the cost of tracking fully vaccinated grandmas with beach chairs, making sure they don’t sneak into lacrosse games jeopardizing COVID protocols. The Gilman School of Baltimore, another Cape lacrosse opponent, costs $33K per year in tuition. There is a private school lexis-nexis in the U.S., and it’s all about next level. Educational privilege is like economic capitalism. Both are about the profit motive: You don’t pay the freight unless you profit from the journey. Actors John Carradine and Lionel Barrymore are Episcopal Academy graduates. Name drops are fun in the game of social elevation.

“Just Mercy” - I tried not to use the Bryan Stevenson (Cape grad 1977) book title when describing the mercy rule of high school sports, and how many times have I told you I was Bryan’s high school track coach at Cape? A TED Talk may be prestigious, but a Fred talk is funnier. While looking at the Gilman School website, I thought I saw another Stevenson, and I did. It was Dr. Howard Stevenson, a Cape grad from 1976 who played soccer and basketball. Howard is scheduled to speak at Gilman at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 22. Here’s Howard’s bio information as Gilman presents it: “Howard Stevenson is a nationally sought expert on how racial stress and racial trauma can affect every stage of life. His work focuses on how educators, community leaders, and parents can emotionally resolve face-to-face, racially stressful encounters that reflect racial profiling in public spaces, fuel social conflicts in neighborhoods, and undermine student emotional well-being and academic achievement in the classroom. Dr. Stevenson has served for 30 years as a clinical and consulting psychologist working in impoverished rural and urban neighborhoods across the country.”

Garage TV - I have mine set up for Major League Baseball season. I’ll watch parts of games with the doors open. That way I’m not cloistered inside on a bright afternoon; it's the zone where tailgating meets Bark at the Park. Speaking of 14-year old Darby Dog, he spraddled on the garage floor last week after jumping from the 4Runner and just gave me a sad-eyed, ignominious stare before hoisting himself up. I’m a Phillies guy, but I also try to be a Nationals and Orioles fan, and I’ll watch the Yankees if they are on television. 

Snippets - I wonder what it's like to be a flop as a professional athlete and get cut but have a guaranteed contract worth millions a year over multiple years. Professional sports are stoked with bad contracts. The only explanation is there must be a tax incentive for losing money or the businesses make so much money that bad contracts are easily absorbed. Connie Mack was manager and part owner of the Philadelphia A’s for 50 years. At the time of his retirement, Mack stated, “I’m not quitting because I’m getting old; I’m quitting because I think people want me to.”  Great quote, and here’s another great one: Go on now, git! 


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