Gobbledygook: the language used to deflect realities of unpopular decisions

Cross country is a sport that can be financed through someone’s wallet
October 19, 2018

Robust club teams - Gobbledygook is a word I reserve for academics who throw shade on sensitive subjects by way of explanation, hoping the quizzical look on the face of the questioner in front of them will slowly turn to disinterest. On a picture-perfect day for cross country Oct. 17 at the College of Marine Studies in Lewes (the name was changed but I don’t care), I talked with runners Austen Cave (17:12) of Delmar and Colin Ritchey (17:25) of Caesar Rodney, who placed first and second overall in a five-school race that also included Cape, Dover and Worcester Prep. The young men ran under restraint on cruise control because of the upcoming Joe O’Neill Invitational at Bellevue State Park on Friday, Oct. 19. Austen and Colin are both talented seniors, built for distance, and nice young men with uncertain running futures. “I’d love to run for University of Delaware,” Ritchey said. “But they only offer club team, and I know they are great, but paying to be on a team just seems a little off to me.” Delaware dropped men’s cross country and track and field in 2011, citing Title IX concerns and money, or what administrators with six-figure incomes call “monies.”

Can’t Touch This! If you don’t respond with MC Hammer, then you ain’t no real American and can’t pass the checkpoint into coolness. But Hammer’s biggest hit was “Pray.” The lyrics: “That’s word, we pray, we got to pray just to make it today.” The Milford hockey team invited Cape to join them in the center of the field in a circle of thanks immediately after the Oct. 16 game. All coaches stepped back because prayer and public school can bring out the litigious people, and no one wants to see them, except on Halloween. A Milford player led the athletes, joined hand-to-hand in an unbroken circle, all offering thanks for the friendships through sports and grateful that no one got hurt. She reminded me of my own mother who was canonized a saint by me in 1978. Spontaneous student-led prayer is protected speech, so anyone who doesn’t like it can get up on outta here. Stop, Hammer Time!

Homecoming - Spirit Week at Cape, 1998, a quick 20 years ago. A student face painter wanted to lacquer my cheeks with blue and gold hobby paint with the numerals 1998, maybe throw in a little glitter for accent. I told her to put my graduation year, 1964. She gave me that contorted teenage girl face and said, “Are you cracked?” followed by “whatever.” It was a stark reality none of them wanted to see. Kids came from distant halls just to lay eyes on the man from 1964. I stopped by Cape Oct. 16 and it was Hawaiian Day. Students were selling tickets to the dance out in the rotunda. I stopped by to make jokes. Darby Klopp, in all sincerity, asked me, “What exactly is Homecoming, Fredman?” “It’s the weekend when you hope Cape graduates from the last 50 years don’t show up on Saturday night and crash your dance. Because that would be totally weird. And so it’s more like stay home weekend.” I left, telling Darby, “See you at the hockey game tonight.”

Honorary captain - Jack McPike, starting Cape quarterback in 2009 and also a varsity basketball player, will be the honorary game captain for the Friday night Homecoming game against Milford. Game time is 7 p.m. Jack is in Tampa, close to his team of doctors, who are overseeing his treatment for brain cancer. He will be represented by his brother Dan McPike, another former Cape quarterback and coach who played in the Blue-Gold game. Dan will accompany the Cape captains to the center of the field for the coin toss.

Flashbacks at Franklin Field - I will be on the turf Sunday as Temple lacrosse closes fall ball season with games against Virginia, Southern Cal and Penn. I walked off the same field in the fall of 1963 after my Bishop Egan team beat St. Joe Prep for the Catholic League Championship. Assistant coach John Taylor grabbed my arm after the game and said, “Stop and look around, and never forget you were here,” (someday you can write about it on Facebook).

Snippets - I’d like to do a longitudinal study without using a ruler looking back on 20 years of Cape sports, 1993-2013, to learn who played four years of college sports while earning a degree and then got an actual job leading to a successful career, defined as you can pay cash for a Wawa Shortie. Speaking of hoagies, I stopped at Capriotti’s for an Italian and a Bobbie, and ran into former student Jose Torres, formerly José Galvez. Alieda Torres, formerly Alieda Lynch, was out in the car with 2-day-old daughter Solana. Mom and daughter had just been sprung from Beebe hospital. Alieda and Jose are former students of mine. They’ve been together 14 years and happily married for the last two, and somewhere in there is a joke I won’t chase. Alieda is a physical therapist at Elite PT on the Rehoboth Boardwalk. I am now honorary El Tio Fred Hombre. Go on now, git! Vamanos!