Highway One 5K to the stranger zone

June 17, 2022

Stride on by - On Memorial Day weekend, 5K runners ran past my camera during the 20th Highway One Companies 5K. I’m sure I was there for every race over those 20 years and took photos of each runner. It's my sportsmanship pact – anyone who is tough enough to challenge the distance, then I’m certainly tough enough to wait for them as long as I have a chair and someone delivers a bottle of water. I frame and photograph people I see, but don’t imprint their faces. David Sills, 26, who lists his address as Rehoboth Beach, was an All-American wide receiver at West Virginia University and signed with the New York Giants. Sills caught 18 touchdowns his senior season at WVU to lead the Big 12. Fans remember Sills – a can’t-miss  quarterback – verbally committing when he was in seventh grade to Southern Cal and coach Lane Kiffin. David basically walked the 5K with friends and family in 49:16, placing just behind Tom Jones, 67, of Irish Eyes, who said to his wife Charlene, “Did you see me dust off Sills on the stretch run to the finish?” Tom, of course, would never say that; he would more likely offer Sills a ride on the Irish Eyes Eagles Bus when  the Giants come to Philly, unless David remains on the active roster.   

Gap years - Cape Henlopen won the football state championship in 1979. Forty-three years later, Cape is still looking for title No. 2. The Cape girls’ basketball team won the state title in 1973 and has gone 50 seasons without winning title No. 2. Boys’ basketball won state titles in 1975 and 1976 and hasn’t returned to the winner’s circle. Wrestling won zero titles in 50 years, but has won the last two Division I state titles. Cape boys last won the indoor track title in 1993, a mere 29 years ago. The state title in baseball has been contested for 52 years, with Cape winning it twice, in 2018 and 2022. Cape has appeared in one state final in softball in 2004, when a Bill Cordrey-coached team lost to Caravel 1-0. Cape girls’ tennis won a state title in 1991 with Dan Cook as head coach. Tina Schaffer (first singles) and Cindy Schaffer (second singles) were state champions. Cape boys’ soccer lost in overtime to Sallies 1-0 in 2015 behind 18 saves from Brent Hochrein. Cape lost in the semis in 2014 to Caesar Rodney 3-2 and lost in the semis in 2013 to Appoquinimink 1-0 on a goal at 78 minutes. Sports stories are written then seared into the memories of those who experienced them. 

Point Pleasant - I was sitting in my big old truck Wednesday afternoon in the Point parking lot of Cape Henlopen listening to the Phillies game on AM radio. Scott Franzke was play-by-play with Chad Durbin as analyst. It took me back to Bill Campbell, Byron Saam and Andy Muesser. I knew a man in Penndel, Pa., who survived the Bataan Death March. He came home and watched the world go by from the front seat of a Chrysler Imperial listening to Eagles and Phillies games. And so Wednesday, I was Bataan Man 2022. When Garrett Stubbs smacked a three-run, walk-off homer with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game against the Marlins 3-1, I screamed out my window, “Get out of town!” A tourist lady responded, “You locals can be so rude. You don't own this place.” 

Snippets - In 2009, at the Cape girls’ lacrosse state championship banquet, all the players and coaches received an engraved silver Jefferson Cup. There was one left over, so coach P.J. Kesmodel gave it to me as the emcee who works for free. Fast forward to 2022, I have all 12 cups on my Bruce Hefke custom-made mantel, and I will emcee championship No. 13 June 21 and get to add to my collection. I also have the engraved Jackie Pitts Cup on my kitchen table that goes to the reigning state champion. It was supposed to be presented to coach Lindsey Underwood at halftime of the all-star game, but it was locked down in the trunk of coach Wiz Applegate’s car. Coach Wiz handed it to me with some trepidation and I warned her my wife will put fruit in that bowl before you can say, “What’s a tangelo?” Go on now, git!


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