He’s got the whole world in his hands

My column is ‘My Prayer’ for Jim and Jack
January 10, 2020

Eye of an artist - I don’t photograph sunsets, streetscapes, moonrises, wildlife, weddings or the Indian River Inlet bridge at night. I like faces of all ages, including closeups of dogs. They speak to me – not the dogs, the faces. Tuesday night at the Cape girls’ basketball game, there were faces in the front row I just had to capture. Older black men with gray beards make great photos and tell a story of a journey, and I’m the guy to tell the tale. And so I filled up my frame with Bob Savage, a retired Cape custodian and bus driver for 40 years, who still drives the Cape girls to games. Robin and Bobbielynn are his daughters. Bill Savage is his brother, and Larry Savage, a baseball umpire who ran a 4:23 mile on a cinder track in the early ’70s, is his nephew. Bob or Bobby has a deep voice and is well known for singing “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

I heard him sing at the funeral of Sammy Leggins, and I had to run from the church of Annie Custis before I got saved. William Waters is the other face I captured. I was his track coach in 1981, and Tim Gray and I are still waiting for “Yogi” to finish the third leg of the 4-by-200 at the Dover Relays. Yogi is a reverend and a hall monitor of many years. I know he was hired because he’s 300 pounds with a booming Bass Man voice, except William is the friendliest, most gregarious guy in the building, and the Cape kids love him, like they love Bobby Savage. I like them both because they make good photos and laugh at my jokes. If they didn’t, I’d stop telling them. 

Tribal elders - Every age has its own compensations. I’d like to be a sage of sports suggestions because all active coaches need consultations which they can actively ignore or ingest like a cocktail wiener. Two big issues are running up scores and playing time. There are unwritten rules of sportsmanship that a coach not only doesn’t have to follow, but worse, many times the coach is clueless. For instance, pulling off the full-court press if you’re up by 30 points in the fourth quarter plus you still have players on the bench who haven’t played. That’s not only clueless, it’s sociopathic. A coach should not only play it forward, but play the forwards, all of them, and the guards too. 

Leaving on a jet plane - I’m not vacation guy, more a destination guy; after all, where I live, Sesame Street by the Sea, I’m on vacation every day. My job is to go to games and take photos and write stories. I’m such a beleaguered beluga. I need a respite, maybe go to a sporting event and leave my camera home. I’m thinking this week of Jim Alderman and Jack McPike, each locked in a face-to-face daily struggle with cancer, post surgeries and therapies. Both men are in Tampa and I could send thoughts and prayers, because I think a lot but I don’t pray, although I sometimes whine. I should just go see them, then turn around and come back. Both Jim and Jack are undeniably irrepressible. We all want them to get well, so if God is reading this column, this is “My Prayer,” also one of The Platters’ greatest hits.  

Just because you can - A few years ago, a lacrosse dad was talking to my son Dave at a Temple versus Florida women’s lacrosse game. The guy was talking about athletes who reach the top levels at the best schools and then are miserable, just too much competitiveness every freaking day, too many life lessons. This dad had a son and daughter in Division I programs and he said, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” I think those are wise words, not to follow, but to at least consider.   

Snippets - College sports are required to post a graduation rate. I’d be interested to see a college graduation rate by specific sport, as it articulates with specific high schools. I think the successes from all schools are undersold. But with vice principals and guidance counselors around every corner, maybe someone could be in charge of the celebration. I was reading a basketball bio of a woman on the Swarthmore College website and it listed her major as “pre major.” I’m a big train who has been on the pre major track my entire life. I just can’t decide where to specialize. Go on now, git!


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