Focusing the frame inside the Big Picture

May 26, 2020

Big Picture Man - I nicknamed my former Cape student Matt Gibson, class of 1997, Big Picture Man because that’s the way Matt saw the world. I remember telling Matt to focus on the smaller picture because the big picture will always be out of focus. Recently, I was about to go Big Picture Fredman and talk about why high school sports should come back and start with summer leagues. Except I can’t focus the entire image; it blurs at the edges. It is not what photographers call tack sharp. Corona in Cambodia is not the same as corona in Sao Paulo. I could spin the desktop globe like Inspector Clouseau, then put my hand on it and be thrown to the floor. The novel virus not only jumps continents and countries, but age groups and economic groups. You don’t need to read any of that from a sports columnist. I just know that what I don’t know, my readers likely don’t know. By the way, Matt Gibson retired as long jump champion of the downstairs hallway at Little Big House High when he sprinted to full speed then hit his mark, sailing 18 feet through the stale lunchroom air before inflicting a double-leg dropkick on the Lance cracker machine to dislodge a paid-for Honey Bun. This is so funny because it is so true. 

I don’t care, Huggy Bear - I saw my Milford grandkids last week and they have been trained to keep social distance from Fredman because he is a double high-risk, old fat cat. But I couldn’t help it. I had to hug them. I had a dentist appointment at Maplewood. The dental assistant is so nice. I just wanted to hug her “masking without asking” self as I was leaving. It was just so good to see people. We miss our marauding muppets.  

Fox and Hound - I took some photos of CrossFit runners disembarking (bow wow) from the Lewes library for a bike trail run. I saw Dana MacElrevey walking a fostered hound puppy on a leash. As we were talking, she said, “Look, a fox!” I thought it was a version of, “Eek, a mouse!” but there he was, a hipster fox in downtown Lewes. He was all clean like he just got back from the Wash N Wag. Mark Maull tells me that downtown Lewes is populated by foxes, or as my late friend Bruce would say, “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a fox or two.” 

Shortcuts - I watched the first part of the ESPN “30 for 30” special on Lance Armstrong Sunday night. It revealed to me the mysterious benefits of chemical enhancement (I can’t believe it when any of it works) coupled with the potentially dangerous side effects that are not listed on the bottle of drugs obtained illegally and therefore can’t be used as prescribed. I also learned that road racing world-class bikers are all the way whack, snaking down wet and winding mountain roads at 60 mph after a two-hour climb, but inject them with EPO (Erythropoietin), and they become human GTOs with bone marrow overproducing red blood cells, over-oxygenating the blood flowing through the heart muscles and brain, not to mention testicles, where Armstrong’s cancer originated. Steroids used by frontline athletes are somewhere between prevalent and rampant with only occasional stories of brain tumors, heart attacks and suicides. The side effects are not sold, and all that stuff is still out there. 

Roy Halladay story - An E60 documentary will air on ESPN at 7 p.m., Friday, May 29. Former Phillies and Blue Jays hall of fame pitcher Roy Halladay died in November 2017 by crashing his private plane. Doc was known as a hard-driving perfectionist who actually pitched a perfect game in the major leagues and a no-hitter in a playoff game. But the downside of perfectionism is that you can never actually get there. A perfect moment, catcher Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz jumps into your arms, is gone before his feet hit the ground. Doc’s wife Brandy told the Sporting News, “He was dependent on medications for ADD, depression, anxiety and paranoia.” That is a “dual diagnosis,” which means, did the drugs fight the conditions or cause them? According to, Halladay had 10 times the recommended level of amphetamine, as well as morphine, a muscle relaxer, an opioid pain medication and antidepressants before crashing his plane into the ocean while doing acrobatics. I’ll be honest, if he were a local muppet and that happened, he’d be known as a “jacked-up pillhead.” Halladay went into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot, which certainly had Barry Bonds, Roger Clemons, Pete Rose and Mark McGuire shaking their big heads. Todd Zolecki, an baseball writer who covers the Phillies, just published a book “Doc: The Life of Roy Halladay.” The don’t-go-there question not investigated is, what is the chance that Roy threw a perfect game in a Phillies cap while hiding in plain sight as a masked medicated man? The tough questions need to be asked, and as I’ve written several times when it comes to addictions: “The truth isn’t just elusive, it is unknowable.”

Snippets - The prevailing question: Are you coming out of stay-at-home shutdown mode lean and mean or fat like a sunporch cat? Go on now, git!  

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