Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, Leprechaun?

Irish was all over Milton like green on a shamrock
March 13, 2018

Hit the roads running - The sixth annual Lucky Leprechaun 5K blasted off at brunch time March 11 in downtown Milton with 380 runners. That was followed by a late lunch St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The hub of the all-day Hibernian hoedown was Irish Eyes Restaurant and Bar. You had to pinch yourself. Milton is not exactly an Irish hamlet. Pub patrons don’t drink pints of Dogfish, although a growler is not out of the question. The Leprechaun 5K is the astronomical start of a racing season that never ends, with two races most weekends, including distances from 5K to marathon. The regular runners will log more than 50 races a year and spend $2,000 just for the privilege of running with the pack, getting a “free” T-shirt and multiple complementary boiled dogs at the end of a race. Joey Andrisani, 35, was the overall winner in 17:29. “I put in 18 miles yesterday because I’m training for the Coastal Marathon,” Joey said. “Between you and me, I’m hoping to break three hours.” Heather Leiggi, 42, of Milton, was the overall women’s winner in 20:04. Half the finishers ran 10-minute pace or slower. It was a friend-filled race with lots of kids. This Sunday is the Shamrock Shuffle 5K and 15K, a Seashore Striders event along the Junction and Breakwater Trail behind what locals call the Bose Outlets. 

March Madness - We’re at the beginning of 10 spring sports for high school, along with middle school, Little League, Atlantic Lacrosse and Henlopen Soccer. It’s impossible to keep up with it all, which is nice for me because if people don’t see you, they assume you’re covering something else. The NCAA big shoe dance is about to drop, along with online brackets managed by a casual friend who will then try to collect from his deadbeat gamblers. Two divergent ways to pick winners are to either choose who you think will win or who you wish would win. I often think the team I want to win influences outcomes, as if God had me and my bracket as one of his or her sentimental favorites. I’m a Catholic liberal who likes Duke (I want people not to like me) and I’m picking Virginia to win the tournament with Villanova facing them in the championship game. I’ll take Duke to win the Midwest/Kansas bracket and North Carolina to emerge atop the West/Xavier bracket.  

Bird dogs - Did you hear about the sports scout who went to a dog show to pick up some pointers? I have local scouts, some call them bird dogs, reporting to me from local events and scrimmages I was forced to miss because, as Grandma Rose said, “How can you be two places at once when you’re nowhere at all?” My scouts are knowledgeable, yet biased; some trip before they travel, but their insight is usually on the money. I heard Indian River looked good in their recent baseball scrimmage. They are coached by DJ Long who will have the Indians in the mix this spring season. Zach Dale hit a grand salami against Sussex Central, while Austin Elliott and David Erickson also had home run jacks. Zack Gelof had 10 stolen bases over three games. Scouts from the Red Sox and A’s were there at the scrimmage.

Play the Rooster - (supposed to read roster but spell check is a comedian) - Put a great player into a game already decided for a few minutes of up-and-down action, and what you will learn is nothing. The player won’t “pop,” because that requires extended time in the meaningful minutes when the game is still a game. Let’s face it, sports are driven by outcomes. A coach has to be cerebral and clever – it’s much easier to ice the bench than concentrate on the players in front of you, not the ones next to you.

Snippets - J.D. Maull becomes the 15th head football coach in the 49-year sports history of Cape Henlopen High School. J.D. is a disciple of George Glenn, a “We don’t rep it, then we don’t run it” approach to football. Maull’s teams at St. Georges didn’t throw the ball all over the yard, but they would exploit a defense through the air. From what I saw, the quarterback is expected to be an athlete who can read on the run – run it and throw it – with leadership qualities to control the huddle. St. Elizabeth came from the ninth seed (Cape’s bracket) to win the boys’ state basketball championship, beating Smyrna in the final. A forever tough exit for a Cape team that had a great season. Go on now, git!