Goodbye Girl Ann Grunert waves hello at Turkey Trot 5K

November 30, 2021

Goodbye Girl - Ann Grunert is the executive director at Special Olympics Delaware and is retiring as soon as she can sneak out the side door after 36 years on the job. “It’s been a labor of love,” Ann told me Sunday after walking the Sea Colony Turkey Trot with slow and steady but ever-ready 84-year-old Len Lesham. I had been a Papa Polar Bear of the Lewes Bears since 1982 when we partnered with Special Olympics in 1997. I’ve known Ann since my first year in Delaware when we met at the Blue-Gold All-Star Game. She is an honorary Muppet at Sesame Street by the Sea. I told Ann Sunday the expression, “We are all replaceable,” doesn’t apply to her or me or our friendship together. We are absolutely the best and most unique versions of ourselves. The goodbye girl walked away before she became the good cry girl. 

Halls of Fame - I read the summation of Indian River football’s 36-0 victory over St. Andrew’s Saturday (class A) in which Hayden Hall, a junior, and his brother Dalton, a senior, each scored a touchdown. The Indians will play at Laurel Friday, Dec. 3, in the semifinals. Laurel beat Indian River 14-13 Nov. 5. I reflected back to their dad Tony Hall, who was a sophomore fullback and linebacker on Cape’s 1979 state championship team coached by Jim Alderman. And going deeper, Bobby Hall, the grandfather of Hayden and Dalton, played football for Lewes High School, graduating in 1954. Bobby had a barbershop in Lewes, and he was old school. I went there when I was a “new kid in town,” and once Bobby figured I was legit I had a friend for life. Bobby passed away Nov. 30, 2020. I wrote a column item Jan. 11, 2018, after a Selbyville at Beacon wrestling match. “Tony came up after the match to say hello and brought his dad, the legendary Bobby ‘The Barber’ Hall, now deep into his 80s. Bobby, always a gruff and tough guy, said to me, ‘I am so sorry that you lost your son. I read what you wrote and it made me cry.’ He added, ‘You’ve been a great leader and role model for your family.’ And Tony is an energetic trip. I reflected and realized I’ve known Tony and Bobby for 40 years, both tough guys with soft hearts.” 

Going outta my head - Delaware high school football playoffs with three divisions enter the semifinal round of games this weekend. How happy are coaches of winter sports teams waiting for proven star athletes to join their rosters? In the 1A Division, Laurel will host Indian River Friday, Dec. 3. St. Elizabeth and Tatnall will play Saturday, Dec. 4, at Abessinio Stadium. In 2A,  Woodbridge will host Wilmington Friends Dec. 3. Archmere will host DMA Dec. 4. In 3A, Smyrna will host Dover Dec. 3, while Middletown will host Salesianum Dec. 4. The Henlopen Conference has six teams playing on the semifinal weekend, except when it comes to football, there is no Henlopen Conference, so who are these teams? Aretha was way ahead of her time when she sang “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” in 1985. All championship games are Saturday, Dec. 11. 

Rescue Dogs - Most televised football games over a long weekend are absolute dogs that can’t be saved no matter how much hype comes from the announcers’ booth. There was a coaching adage, “Throw the football and three things can happen and two of them are bad – incomplete or interception.” Add another “pass interference” or as they are now known, “PIs.” I’d tell defensive backs, “At least try to fool somebody.” Everyone in the stadium is throwing the air flag before the cheese on their nachos freezes in place.   

Snippets - Big wins for the Harbaugh brothers, as Jim’s Michigan team beat Ohio State 42-27, while John’s Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns 16-10. Remember their brother-in-law, former Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean? He was fired by Indiana in 2017. Jim Harbaugh said of the Indiana administration, “When it comes to building a ball team, what they know couldn’t blow up a small balloon.” Crean is now the head coach for University of Georgia, where he is 43-51 over four years. A great chance that both Michigan and Georgia will make the college football playoffs. Go on now, git! 

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