Halftime walk to locker room through hot dog line takes character

October 2, 2018

Deuce it up - It’s not easy for a young football player to walk through the hot dog crowd at halftime on the way to the locker room on the bottom side of a lopsided score. Good teams in bad situations “deuce it up” – keep helmets on and heads up, as there is no doubt it is a walk of character revelation and not a walk of shame. Most old heads in the crowd have been there, and some suppress those memories because they don’t blend with the spin of how good “we was” when we were playing. Oddly enough in 2018, marking 50 years of Cape sports, the field hockey program celebrated Saturday in Champions Stadium with former coaches and players and eight state championship banners, but football to field hockey is no direct comparison; it is a false equivalency. Just don’t talk to a football player about field hockey; they’re two different sports and challenges, with one played by young men and the other by young women. Back in 2008, Cape football trailed Saint Mark’s 56-0 at halftime on the way to a 62-0 defeat. How about 2010? It was Bill Collick’s first year losing a home game to Sussex Tech 48-27, as Desmond Sivels rushed for five touchdowns. And 2015? An undefeated Cape team hosting Sussex Tech. You couldn’t get within a mile of the stadium; traffic was snarled, and Kani Kane rushed for six touchdowns in a 49-13 Ravens win. Cape would finish 8-2 and not make the playoffs. Cape football has been a roller-coaster ride for 50 years. It’s a program that has eaten some good coaches alive. Periodically and episodically, talent coalesces and magic happens, but football is just a tough sport where nothing comes easy, including walking to the locker room at halftime. Deuce it up!

Hey Betty Betty - Everyone loved Shields teacher Betty Gooch, and she would have smiled to learn that the 11th annual Dolphin Dash, run in her memory, was won by 10-year-old Blake Fitzgerald in 20:46. Big-hearted little people do not make a lightly attended race (43 runners); all runners looked magical circling Blockhouse Pond at George H.P. Smith Park in Lewes, running in the natural low light of Friday night. A mile away, lights at Legends Stadium shined on a community happening of Friday night football, but some paused to remember a teacher who was gone before they got to planet Earth – and yet, kids get it, they always do. An inborn sense of perspective, and they teach us, slow down and listen to the ducks on the water and the honkers overhead. Nature is talking to us. We are a part of it, talking back to others and even quacking at ducks – or is that just me?

Burli’s a jokester - Burli Hopkins sat in my class by the back window in 1996, paying little attention to what I was selling because, after all, he was cow guy in waiting. At the Moo Cow 5K run Sept. 29 at Hopkins Creamery, a fleet of runners on the way out clopped through a barn holding 200 cows. They would come back through the same barn. Burli is a bright guy if you get in his wheelhouse, which is cows and corn. He was talking about DNA and frozen sperm and genetic matching. I would have looked out the window except I was already outside. And he casually dropped the word stampede, which is what cows do if they get spooked. He added: “No gates can hold them,” but I refused to grab the dangling udder of potential mayhem; after all, city boy ain’t afraid of no stampeding cows, but Walmart on Black Friday, I ain’t getting near those heifers.

Snippets - The Eagles’ late-game flop and drop to the Titans on Sunday was just so bad I turned off the television and didn’t watch any games the rest of the day. The Birds had to not make any of the big plays that came their way in the fourth quarter, proving to me that as soon as you think you’re good is when you begin to fade, and that goes for all aspects of performance, including writing columns. Penn State scored in the fourth quarter to go up by five points. The rule is, “Don’t chase points early,” but late, it’s time to calculate. Most coaches look at some stupid chart, but if it’s me, I lose the chart and go for two because up five or six makes little difference, but up seven is a more secure feeling. Penn State lost the game by a point – an extra point. It’s funny, coach James Franklin loves holding up one finger. Other than that, sometimes he goes cheerleader with the fans, but trust me, late Saturday night those fans were throwing you overboard off the cruise ship. Cape hockey at Sussex Tech is set for 4 p.m., Tuesday. It’s a battle of last year’s D1 state finalists, a game won by Cape 1-0. Go on now, git!

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