I’ll be back on the boards when the happy and healthy people return

Younger crowd had a handle on contact tracing
May 12, 2020

Space Odyssey - In 2017, 9-year-old Bennett Brumbley made the decision to go back out on the race course in the pouring rain to escort 81-year-old Doc Masser across the finish line. Last summer at the Sundance 5K on the Rehoboth Boardwalk, Bennett went back out on the course and ran in with 80-year-old Magic Jack Noel. I’m worried that if I keep taking photos at races, Bennett may not only escort my blue chair and me to my black Toyota 4Runner, but also offer to drive me home. Bennett is entering seventh grade at Laurel Middle School. 

Agoraphobia - It’s a fear-producing anxiety and panic about being trapped in unsettled open spaces where escape is difficult; you know, like a crowded boardwalk of conspiracy theorists and easily tripped-out paranoids armed with weapons protesting for their right to not follow laws. From lifeguarding to covering beach olympics and running races, I am at home on a crowded boardwalk or beach, but next weekend like a midnight mallard I am going to duck. I grew up in the badlands of North Philly, and when large groups with conflicting interests met on a street corner, I didn’t position myself up close to see how things would shake down. Most people are fine, but if you walk into the woods, you have a better chance of finding a squirrel. 

Contact tracing - I talked to my adult grandchildren for 20 minutes on Mother’s Day, and it struck me they knew things about testing and contact tracing that I didn’t. The older we get, the more we talk about younger groups, yet we have less insider information than we have about our own narrow world. This is the group whose sports seasons were canceled, graduations and proms missed, and all that stuff. And we older folk love to squawk about how they feel and actually post graduation photos of ourselves from a generation or two earlier, as if that is going to make them feel better, like we are simpatico. Simple yes, simpatico no. We need to go back to the future, but unlike the movie, we don’t go back – we simply look back, and perhaps listen. 

Committed decided accepted - I am grandson Mikey Fred’s unauthorized sports agent. When he was 7, I wrote that he committed to Michigan to play lacrosse, but when he turned 13, I withdrew that non-binding verbal contract and switched him to Notre Dame. But now that he’s 15, I’ve been promoting Mikey as a wrestler.  In all cases, there has been no commitment from a college and no decision made by Mikey and no acceptance, which only follows an actual application. In fact, only Grandpa Fredman has any awareness of what he is up to on any given day. But I do know lots of coaches and athletic administrators, and I can tell you for sure they all prefer the multi-sport athlete with a rocking GPA and solid SAT scores. And now with COVID-19 pulsating through the pandemic, the interest is up but the money is down. 

Snippets - A quote from Cape teacher/coach Mike Tkach:Everyone is watching ‘The Last Dance.’ I was very fortunate to have worked with the Atlanta Hawks for 10 years. So appreciative of my mentor Joe O’Toole. Even got to be the trainer for the Bulls one night. Michael [Jordan] was playing baseball at that time. What an experience that was and so many great memories.” Running Lunch Lady Lori Holdsworth, straight out of Beacon, ran 2.23 miles in 17:59 May 8 in memory of Ahmaud Arbery, who was gunned down while running Feb. 23. May 8 was Arbery’s birthday. Lori’s husband Bill, also a runner, just turned 60. Bill is a self-identified lunch lady who works in the cafeteria at Cape High. Back when this column ran in The Whale newspaper, I ran a feature called Relative of the Week and also Toy of the Week. There is no story I won’t chase and no road I won’t go down. Like a flat-footed center, I hope we all rebound. The interconnected economy here at Sesame Street by the Sea has too much vibrancy to sink into insolvency. As we Fred grandchildren of the ’50s said when Poppy Frank came through the kitchen door, “Better belly out than belly-up.” Go on now, git! 


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