I am a Yahoo virtual human search engine

The sports spectrum is all about making connections
November 15, 2019

Making the rounds - In the first three days of winter sports practices, I captured photos of wrestling, boys’ and girls’ basketball, cheerleading and girls’ indoor track. I learn something new with each sweep through Cape, including identifying my own grandson Mikey. I honestly asked wrestling coach Matt Graviet, “Who is the kid in the gold shirt?” And he answered, “That is your grandson Mikey.” Last month, I attended my 55th high school reunion, which was hilarious because everyone was misidentifying everyone else, but I had the line of the night when I asked a woman, “Where did you go to high school?” OK, I’m back. Chris Mattioni “Scooby Pup” is the dean of Cape coaches, the only quasi-administrator – he’s a guidance counselor and head coach. Shemik Thompson begins his first year as boys’ basketball coach, Pat Woods returns for his second year as head coach of girls’ basketball, Tim Bamforth was busy in the hallways and stairways coaching girls’ indoor track, and Courtney Hennessey had her cheerleaders enthusiastically still looking for touchdowns. 

Rust Belt - I broke out my rust-colored Patagonia jacket Nov. 13 before heading into Cape early and late in the day for sports photos. “Fleece for Peace Yaw.” That jacket has been hanging brand-new in a hall closet for two years. I asked high school girls and young mothers in the office straight out, “The jacket, what do you think? It misses, doesn’t it?” They mostly responded, “No, it’s cool.” Then I dropped way out of bounds with politically incorrect commentary, my freestyle stream of consciousness routine that I used in the classroom for 30 years: “Maybe I’ll just give it to a double X homeless guy.” There was frozen silence. I followed with a grandson Davey line, “You laughing?” So that’s where he gets it. 

Top dogs - Cape field hockey and girls’ lacrosse have won a combined 18 state titles since 2009. I developed my own working mantra for keeping that going: “if top dogs want to beat underdogs, they have to play like junkyard dogs.” Everything the underdog does well is magnified at the expense of the top dog, who is expected to go into an upset alert mind-set, and become tense and indecisive. The sports cliche is true: “It’s hard to get to the top and harder to stay there.” The top dog losing is a bigger story than if they win. The top dog is a big party for the other guy if they lose. So, “No pressure; have fun out there.” Last week, the Purple Aces of Evansville upset No. 1 Kentucky at Rupp Arena 67-64. Kentucky was a 25-point favorite. The Delaware State women’s basketball team upset heavily favored Delaware Nov. 12 by a score of 67-64. Delaware was 11-0 all time against Delaware State prior to the loss. Delaware will play at No. 8 Maryland Sunday, Nov. 17. Maryland better pay attention, because it’s a bigger story if they lose. 

What a Yahoo - It’s my default search engine; I am the Rainman of sports connections. I actually have to pull back and realize all my six degrees of separation stuff may be of little interest to other people. I had a high school friend from the Keystone State who became a stoner (THC addict) and all he did was walk around marveling at the world and saying “Wow!” I’m that guy on caffeine inside the matrix of sports connections. “I can tell it but can’t sell it” is how I keep myself under control.  

Snippets - Jake Gelof, who originally verbally committed to William and Mary for baseball, exercised his option to decommit and signed with the University of Virginia to play baseball. His brother Zack is the starting third baseman for the Cavaliers. Sam Winkler, a star lacrosse player at Moorestown, N.J., signed with USMMA. Sam is the son of Jay Winkler, who played lax at Cape 1987 through ’89 for coach Rob Schroeder and was mentored by Milt Roberts. Marlee Geppert, Cape field hockey goalie, committed to Queens University in Charlotte, N.C. Cape’s Carey Karl just completed a four-year career for the Royals, where she started the last two seasons. Queens is a Division II program in the South Atlantic Conference. Erin Coverdale scored two goals, one assisted by Darby Klopp, for Franklin and Marshall in a 4-1 win over Hartwick to break a school record that had stood since 1978 – that’s 41 years if you’re counting by 10s on your fingers. Erin has 54 career goals. The Diplomats advance in the Division III tourney and will next play No. 1 seed TCNJ (18-0) Saturday in Ewing, N.J. Sharon Pfluger is the head coach at TCNJ, formerly Trenton State College, and she is from Pompton Lakes, same as my daughter-in-law Liza. Pfluger has won 20 Division III national championships in field hockey (nine) and lacrosse (11). Any roster that leads back to Trenton and is stocked with 100 percent Jersey girls, you know you are in for a tussle. The mascot is Roscoe the Lion. See you on the sidelines. Go on now, git! 


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