Ironies and agonies sprinkled with hilarities

Two weeks of banging out banquets
March 22, 2022

Kool and the Gang - A state championship celebration brunch was held at the Baywood Greens banquet room March 20 to celebrate the Cape wrestling team for winning its second consecutive Division I state championship. Mark Schaeffer of Sussex County Council led off the “feel-good-before-sausage” celebration by presenting a proclamation to head coach Chris Mattioni and tributes to state champions Mikey Frederick and Lucas Ruppert. Everyone agreed the Saturday of the state dual meet championships at Smyrna High was the most intense and wild day in Cape wrestling history, with the Vikings beating Smyrna and Caesar Rodney to win the title. 

The irony and agony - Coach Chris Mattioni told the story of the Cape van he was driving being T Boned on the way back from the Southern Slam in South Carolina Dec. 5 (irony one). Josh Alvares aka Georgia Josh, riding in the front passenger seat, was knocked unconscious but woke up talking, because when awake, Josh is a talker. Coach Mattioni said, “The irony is that Josh’s family moved to Delaware from Georgia because a car ran into their house.” The room was stone cold silent until Davey “The Inclusion Kid” yelled out, “What?” The almost catastrophic tale transitioned to a room filled with laughter, another irony added to the celebration. Coach Mattioni presented Davey with his lost red/green flip disc presented to him by the wrestling officials prior to the state championships bouts. Referee Paul Hertz, a Davey buddy, promised Davey he could flip the disc prior to a championship final, but DIAA said no. Real inclusion necessitates no special considerations; we can't have everyone with an honorary flip disc determining the fate of others. “What?”  

High Heat - Kate Evick, a senior Sussex Central softball and volleyball player, signed her letter of intent March 18 and will attend Division III Rowan College, where she will play softball for the Profs of coach Kim Wilson, who has more than 800 wins. Kate caught the high heat delivered by freshman pitcher Madge Layfield last season as the Golden Knights went 21-1 before losing to Caravel Academy in the state finals 1-0. The Bucs were coached by former Cape athlete Randy Johnson. Kate's dad Mike was a hard ball catcher for Cape who caught his younger brother Ben, and those two brothers together installed the Bryant Plus 90 heater in my house, proving the sports universe is all interconnected. 

Ian Robertson - The Randolph Macon Yellowjackets, with lefty Ian Robertson straight outta Cape at forward, beat Elmhurst Saturday 75-45 to claim the school’s first NCAA Division III National Championship. The Jackets finished the season 33-1. Robertson had 22 points in the 81-63 semifinal win over Marietta, going 6-for-9 on three-point attempts. I remember when he was coming out of high school, the University of Delaware showed little interest in Cape’s 1,000-point scorer and academic all-star, basically conveying the message Ian wasn’t strong enough for Blue Hens basketball. Ian Robertson graduated as a 6-foot-7, 235-pound wingman for the Yellowjackets who never lost a home game and a championship ring heading for his left hand. Cue up Toby Keith, “How do you like me now?”    

Prepared Remarks - Hitting the live mic at a banquet – half of them don’t work – with prepared remarks is dangerous because you can get lost and not find your way back, which is why I freestyle, and when I feel pretty jazzed about my performance, I bail and pretty much everyone says, “did I see sausage and bacon at the buffet table?” 

Snippets - Claire Gipko, a 9-year-old third-grader at Delmarva Christian, won her age group at the Delaware state gymnastics competition and now moves on top regionals in Scranton, Pa. Claire is a member of the extended Chunn clan; her press agent is grandmother Donna Chunn. Caravel beat Cape 1-0 in the softball state championship game in 2004 played at Sports at the Beach. I was standing while watching that game with Dave Robinson. He said, “I’m nominating you for the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame.” I said, “Done. I’m in. Please say no more. Your nomination is good enough for me.” Linda Robinson made a scrapbook as part of the nomination presentation. Eighteen years later in 2022 I got word I was voted in with lots of “well-deserved” comments followed by, “so what did you do?” I can only answer, “survived and kept moving.” Go on now, git! 

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