Everyday people inspire others every day

January 18, 2019

Rules of Engagement - I arrived at Dover High Jan. 8 to photograph the Cape girls’ basketball game at Dover. A young student saw me with a big camera and a chair and said, "Can I carry your chair for you?" And he did carry it across the gym. That same young man, a sophomore, was wrestling Cape’s Billy Ott Jan. 16 in the 195-pound bout. His name is Qualeak Bumbrey, but I didn't recognize him during the match without his glasses. Qualeak got poked in the eye unintentionally and he almost couldn't continue, but he did. He ended up losing a hard-fought 5-2 decision. Qualeak was rolling up mats after the match, now wearing glasses and with one eye shut when I recognized him as the person who carried my chair. He looked at former Cape Principal Brian Donahue and me and said, "Thanks for coming to the match." He wanted to know what grade Billy Ott was in (senior) and said, “It was my first time wrestling varsity.” I took his photo, his eye still closed. What a nice young man. His high character came shining through. Brian and I both told him that we will follow his high school career. “You can count on us, and good luck the rest of the way.” Sly Stone had it right 50 years ago when he wrote and sang, “I am everyday people.”

Brittany Mumford - I saw a young woman getting ready to officiate the Cape at Dover JV wrestling matches Jan. 16, so being as I recently lost 10 pounds, I had to get the skinny. Unlike most officials who are trained from experience not to talk to media types, Brittany was congenial and helpful, so I figured she was a college wrestler or certainly high school. “No, neither,” she said. “My daddy is Kevin Mumford, and he’s been an official for 37 years. I grew up around the sport and watching him, so it was natural for me to get into it. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in Delaware.” Her dad was not working the match, but he was in the stands watching his daughter work because that’s what good dads do.

Billy from Philly - Billy Ott has deep Philadelphia roots, just like me, so when I say that Billy looks like a Sears catalog model after dropping major weight to get to 190, it’s a compliment. Unfortunately, Sears is out of business and I’m sure Billy never knew the big Sears store on Roosevelt Boulevard; the place was just magical. Billy will be a contender at 195, along with Michael Wright of Sussex Central. In the spring, his lighter weight will make him a cat-quick defenseman on the Cape lacrosse team.

Too old for this stupid - I had never seen 25 visiting cheerleaders in mass retreat as a unit to the top row of the bleachers because some young woman or two charged into their section to commence a confrontation with someone for some reason. I just heard the rumble, saw a couple of girls escorted out by police, and minutes later there were nine police officers in cargo pants and wide belts wearing vests ready for whatever throwdown might go down. Lowdown behaviors cast a shadow on us all, and it’s not fair and not an accurate depiction of how most people at a game behave. And when I got home and said out loud, “I must be too old for this stuff,” my wife Susan said, “I don’t think so. You’re just the guy who needs to be there for the catch and commentary.” I’ve always said, “If you behave badly in public – sporting events are my beat – then you become a part of the story.” Outrageous and anonymous don’t go together on a matching test.

Snippets - I’m hoping to get down to the Worcester County Parks and Rec Center next Thursday to catch the Henlopen Conference Indoor Championships. The boys, under head coach Ellis Gaulden, are having a great season, as are the girls with coaches Tim Bamforth and Gilbert Maull. I would like to see Andy Reid and Kansas City get to the Super Bowl, but that Kansas City defense is not looking good enough to stop New England. The Rams may get by New Orleans, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Phillies fans: Do you like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado? I’m thinking it’s Harper, if either. Manny is too moody. Philly fans may turn on him, but it’s hard to say. In the words of former Phillies shortstop Chico Fernandez, “I play for pay.” Go on now, git!