Fun and success mesh with competitive spirit for Cape hockey

Girls don’t learn life lessons; they just win
November 2, 2018

Cosmic Razzmatazz - Cape field hockey is heading into another state tournament next week, and there is an unspoken and hovering pressure to defend the reputation and tradition to bring home another state championship. But just like girls’ lacrosse, another seriously focused team, don’t forget to have fun in the process. “When we came here, we looked at lacrosse and all the things P.J. [Kesmodel] did with his teams to build fun into the program, and we wanted to make sure our program was fun as well,” said Debbie Windett, who assists her daughter Kate Austin. The Halloween hockey practice is a big part of that tradition. The players rock themes while out on the field, words like, “adorable,” “clever” and “hilarious” are batted about like a loose ball in front of the goal cage. Girls’ teams don’t talk about “girls to women” or “we make them better people so they can become better players.” Girls don’t suffer “life lessons”  lectures on the practice field. Women in sports can dance to the music in pregame, but once the ball drops, they will be foot stomping your face if you get in their way.

Handle me with care - “Everybody’s got somebody to lean on” - Traveling Wilburys. Six years ago, I brought Barbara Dougherty (Cookie) to Cape Halloween hockey practice to talk to the team about her experiences as a young girl playing hockey, which she carried with her throughout her life. Barbara was in the beginning of a grim medical prognosis, and I thought it was important that she and the team connect across the generations. After her talk, I said to the players, “Get a piece of Cookie,” and they all surrounded her, most laying hands upon her shoulders. That began a special bond, and lots of stories and shared successes; never once “Let’s win one for Cookie,” but just naturally let the circle be unbroken and unspoken. Last October, tragedy struck my family with the death of son Tom, and on a dreary and rainy weekday, the Cape hockey team showed up at the church service at St. Jude’s and stayed until the end. Barbara Dougherty was “Tough Cookie,” while I am “Cookie Dough.” And now back to the fun portion of the program.

Double recessives - Genetically speaking, sometimes at the strangest times an inherited trait from the family tree just drops into view with a parent possibly exclaiming, “I don’t know where that came from, but not from me.” Mariner cross country’s Ryan Baker alternated between first and second man this season. He ran hard at the Oct. 29 showdown against Beacon, clocking 11:43 for second place. “I don’t know where he gets it, but not from me,” said his dad Mark Baker, a former Cape football player. In the girls’ race, Mariner sixth-grader Ali Stevenson placed third behind Katie Kuhlman of Mariner and Lainey Shockro of Beacon. Ali ran 12:59. Kenny Stevenson, her dad and a former Cape football player, said, “I don’t know where she gets it. I’m just happy she found something she likes.” Gets it from Cherie Ockles would be my guess. When my grandkids are successful, I’m taking some credit without being asked, be it athleticism or attitude. I call it Fredpop talking big noise.

Snippets - Can you imagine getting recruited to try out for a sport and then getting cut? No, I can’t either. Friday, Nov. 9, is tryout day at Cape for boys’ and girls’ basketball and wrestling. Swimming tryouts begin Tuesday – it’s a pool thing. Sydney Ostroski is on the West Chester University field hockey team (13-2) that’s currently ranked No. 1 in the Atlantic Region for Division II. Strong athletes have been carrying hockey sticks across the quad at West Chester for the last 60 years. Kaylie Truitt (Cape) and Hayden Shockley (Milford) are playing field hockey for the Lynchburg College Hornets. The Hornets are currently in the ODAC tournament. Randy Rickards (Cape) is on the roster for the Baltimore City Community College Panthers. Ian Robertson is on the roster at Randolph-Macon for the Yellowjackets, who lost their opener 75-67 at Virginia State. Ian saw 17 minutes of time and scored a point, so his career has commenced and the journey has begun. Cape football plays at 7-1 Dover on Friday night. Game time is 7 p.m. The Senators’ lone loss was Sept. 28, 21-0 to Sussex Central. Their lowest point total in seven wins was 35, including a 59-20 win over Sussex Tech. Sussex Tech, Cape’s final game opponent, beat Smyrna 61-6, with junior Kevin Custis doing the most damage, scoring five touchdowns against the Eagles. Desmond Sivels, Kani Kane and now Kevin Custis. The Ravens have produced some touchdown makers over the years. Go on now, git!