George Edwards was street smart and puppy dog soft
Love and happiness old school - George Edwards passed away last week. He was on the 1979 Cape state championship football team and part of the Coolspring Connection of hurdlers on my track team. George was street tough, yet puppy dog soft. At times when I had to get stern with him for messing up, he would just smile, put his head on my shoulder and apologize. Those jokers from the Cape early years, it was all I could do to get them through the day and onto the early-dismissal bus on afternoons when Cape had an away meet. One early-dismissal afternoon, we had a track meet at Caesar Rodney. I saw George sitting in the office. Principal Mock said, “He’s not going with you, because he decided to get smart with the substitute last period.” Now, what had happened was that the morning announcements had read, “Please dismiss the track team at 2:20 today.” When 2:20 came, George stood up to leave and the sub said, “Where do you think you’re going?” “Track meet,” George said, “it ’s right there on the announcements.“ “It says ‘please,’ which is a request, so you can sit down until I give you permission to leave,” the sub said. George responded, “I give you permission to sit down because I’m freaking leaving.” I argued with Mock that George was provoked and Cape couldn't win the meet without him. I won my case, but it was a struggle. We get to the meet and in the first race, the 110-meter hurdles, George trips over the second hurdle and crashes to the track. “Man, George, that was a lot of work to clear one hurdle.” A couple years ago, I saw George at the 1979 Cape state championship football reunion. He was smiling and happy to be with his coaches and teammates. I see and remember people in their greatest moments. As the Rev. Al Green sang, “Love and happiness.”
Fast Friends - L.T. Messick raced down Lane 4 at Sussex Central stride for stride with Thomas Williams in the 55-meter dash. The hometown judges gave the nod to L.T., his first win in his first high school track event. Messick and Thomas smiled and embraced each other in a moment of sportsmanship. It was like they were friends who went to middle school together because they did, at Millsboro. Combining the boys’ and girls’ rosters, Cape has more than 100 athletes running and jumping, and throwing implements.
The Power of Nice - Amy Argo Jones handed me a Christmas present, an ornament with Darby Dog’s likeness, after the JV boys’ basketball game versus Dover. Amy is a former student of mine, and her son Finley, a sophomore, is my buddy since I got him out of class in fifth grade for a world championship duck-calling contest interview. The Darby Dog Daily Chronicles touched so many people, but mostly we learned together what is good about ourselves.
One on one - I went into Cape Wednesday morning to take a couple photos and talk one-on-one with swimmer and baseball player Josh Reinhold, then runner and lacrosse player Andrew Wolak. I left the rotunda inspired by them, like I always do when I take the time to sit and interview one kid at a time. My interview style is conversational. I share experiences with them as well as learning how they feel about school and sports and their future goals. You have to “rep the real” with young people because they are the best at assessing authenticity in adults. I only mention that because in the current social climate, most people who drone on about what’s best for kids never sat down at a table and actually talked and listened to what they had to say.
Snippets - I don’t know if they are icons or avatars, but I watch wrestling matches live on TrackWrestling mostly to follow Cape at an away tournament. Big-tournament wrestling like the upcoming Beast of the East is a condensed life lesson in that no matter how good you are, there is someone in your same bracket and the same house who is better. Like March Madness in basketball, everyone leaves the tournament with a loss except for one team. So, $10 buys a seat for four championship football games this Saturday, Dec. 12, at the University of Delaware. Club-level price is $20. The catch is if you leave, you have to pay to get back inside. The lineup: Class 2A, Archmere versus Woodbridge at 11 a.m.; Unified flag game teams (TBD) at 1:30 p.m.; Class 3A, Smyrna versus Middletown at 3:30 p.m.; Class 1A, Laurel versus St. Elizabeth at 6 p.m. If I were a betting man, I’d vote straight Route 13 – Smyrna, Woodbridge and Laurel. Go on now, git!