Growing older and getting slower in lower Delaware
Slow down - Tim Bamforth sent me 5K results from just a few years after Don McLean “drove his Chevy to the levee” singing “American Pie.” The course was the Henlopen 5K. As I rocked down Surf Avenue toward the Boardwalk, I was trying to catch Jon Lobiondo, 22:26, while holding off John Snarsky, 23:00; Maryellen Morris, 23:01; Susan Weber, 23:17; and Jay Stein, 23:26. I ran 22:45 and still remember Bruce Springer and Tim at the finish chute saying, “No way, Pele!” Lobiondo was 14 at the time, while Mary Ellen was 29. I calculated in my head while using my fingers that I must have been 40. My silent song that plays in my head about runners: “You’re a shining star/ No matter who you are/ Shining bright to see/ What you could truly be” (Earth Wind & Fire, 1975). Fly guy Bryan Mack is shown here winning the Tommy 10K in 41:50 April 29, 2017. Now in 2020, Bryan has crossed the 30th parallel, which puts him in Houston. Happy birthday, Houston, we’ve got no problems.
Hover to hype - The sports world has been hovering on low-rumble idle since late February; then the NFL network unleashed the pro football draft and the hype machine was cranked up to warp speed. Talking loud and fast doesn’t make people more interesting or what they say more profound, and graphics are fun to watch for like five seconds and then it’s like being locked in a “Twilight Zone” episode. Too much flash and too little substance. Ten minutes into the 15 minutes it took for Joe Burrow to be named Tiger King of the Bengals, I was sick of the process. Burrow is the greatest young man in the history of the Milky Way Galaxy with its 100 billion planets and diameter of 200,000 light years, so Woolly Bully for Country Joe. Seriously, the three-and-a-half hours it took to make 32 picks was exploitive and condescending to all us fans on lockdown. There are people who drink the Kool-Aid, and some huff Lysol. I just want to watch a football game where the less said, the better. I’m not trying to be the general manager or a coordinator, just want to second-guess what doesn’t work.
The Ceiling is the Roof - Michael Jordan made that comment and it makes little sense but became iconic because he is Michael Jordan. It happened in 2017 at halftime of a UNC versus Duke basketball game inside the Dean Dome when Jordan announced the Tar Heels football team would wear the Jordan brand. I have been watching the documentary “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and their six NBA championships. I grew to like Jordan by shutting out the hype surrounding him and just watching him play the game. He took no vacations and played defense harder than anyone on the court. I have tried to motivate a few talented high school athletes who were the best to be better. There are many stories about talented people who don’t play all the cards in their hands. Jordan did. And that is what made Michael Jordan so great.
Snippets - I knew Bobby Lloyd from the 5th Street summer playground in Ocean City, N.J. Bobby was the best shooter I ever saw in person. When he was a senior at Rutgers, he led Division I basketball with a .921 free-throw percentage. He once made 60 in a row. Brother Buddy Lloyd’s point guard was Jim Valvano. In 1965, Buddy Lloyd scored 51 against Delaware. Big linemen for life still in their prime need to find a place to lift, since not everyone has a home gym where they toss around heavy weights, plates and quoits. Siran Stacy, out of Alabama, was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 1992 NFL draft. Asked about his first name, he said, “My mother saw a Saran Wrap commercial and just liked the name.” You know there are puppies named Lysol already unchained and in the game. Driving about, I see dads and daughters on the illegal side of tall fences. I see balls and sticks and cones and goals because athletes get around and you can’t shut them down. It’s about to get crazy. People who move to the Cape Region then later leave were never totally here in the first place. Just an observation. A throwback cheer: “Ain’t no competition like the real competition.” I’m not sure what that means and why when a person says, “I have a very competitive personality in everything I do,” we all don’t run in the other direction. The Milky Way Galaxy has a diameter of 200,000 light years. The local universe stops at the beach. Sesame Street by the Sea without the ocean is straight-up honky tonk without the music. Go on now, git!