Kids are naturally inclusive, but adults have to work at it

The jinx in sports is no more real than the hex
October 22, 2019

Kids are great - Most cultures in the history of the planet didn’t have a separate society called teenagers. There were puberty rites and rituals; a male’s voice went from Frankie Valli to Barry White, signaling it was time to run down some live game, even if you ain’t got no game (Anthropology 101). But in America, we have high school kids who look like adults, except more fit. Last week was Inclusion Week at Cape. It’s just a boost of understanding to help our kids pay attention so they don’t become too cliquey and self-absorbed. The adults lead the way and show the power of inclusion. I am the grandfather of Davey, the Inclusion Kid. I’ve seen so many kids and coaches do right by him because it’s in their hearts to begin with. Here is a photo of Cape team captains prior to the Oct. 17 hockey game versus Sussex Tech. Shown are players Anna Stancofski, Cami Smith,  Abby Kane and Lee Lee Wilson with honorary captain Elle Nauman. Elle was busy because she was also a manager and co-captain for the volleyball team earlier in the day. Friday night there was a one-lap Inclusion Walk around the track prior to the football game. I was at Bellevue State Park for a cross country meet with close to a thousand runners racing – lots of inclusion embedded. Oddly enough, a clique of veteran upstate coaches and officials coldly ignored me, and, honestly, I felt excluded. Too smart to be hurt, yet too sensitive not to notice. 

The Jinxster - Thirty-three high school cross country teams lined up at the edge of a field, each in its own imaginary box. Before starter Dave Cummings, who has been wearing the same red shirt for 30 years, could fire his gun at the Joe O’Neill Invitational, I said to fellow photographer Geoff Heath of Blue Hen Photography, “I’ve never seen a major fall down and roll around at the start of one of these races. I’ve never seen a recall like sometimes in track.” The race started and two guys, thankfully near the back, unceremoniously tripped and were pitched to the clumpy turf. Geoff announced to nearby spectators while pointing at me, “He jinxed them. He called it.” And most looked like, “What did you do that for?” Personally, I don’t believe in sports jinxes. If I had that power, I’d be jinxing players and teams all day long, then placing bets on my phone. 

10 games - High school football plays just 10 games a season, fewer than all the other major sports. One game per week. The season goes from miserable August heat to miserable November rain, and throw in a couple nor’easters. The bottom line is that six wins equals a winning season; otherwise, it’s not a season lost, but goes in the books as a losing season. Cape is currently 1-6, but could easily be 3-4, having lost close games to Delaware Military 22-21 and Caesar Rodney 31-28. Polytech (1-6), Smyrna (5-2) and Sussex Tech (3-5) remain on the schedule. The flood tide is coming back to the beach. Cape’s football fortunes have always come in waves. Players who stay the course will reap the rewards. That is the plan and the expectation. Full moon fever in the skies over Legends Stadium.

Snippets - Camryn Dennis (Polytech) scored a goal for No. 3 Salisbury at 76:49 of double overtime to secure a 2-1 win over visiting No. 14 Christopher Newport Oct. 19. Marcella Sabbagh (Cape Henlopen) started on defense for the Captains. Salisbury is 13-1 on the season, while Christopher Newport slips to 10-4. Robert Mitchell (Cape), 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, started at center for North Carolina Central, who lost to Bethune-Cookman 27-13 Oct. 10 to go 2-5 on the season. NCC will host Delaware State Saturday, Oct. 26. The game will be broadcast on ESPN 3. The Hornets are currently 1-6. Ben Weathersby (Cape) started for Lebanon Valley lacrosse as a freshman in the recent alumni game. Lebanon Valley is coached by John Haus, a legend of the sport and former head coach at North Carolina, Johns Hopkins and Washington College, and of course he knows Cape’s Mark D’Ambrogi and all his lacrosse relatives. Speaking of D’Ambrogis, Hank kicked 40- and 41-yard field goals at Friday night’s game. I’m pretty sure that has never happened. I’m not sure of the school record. Back in the day, Patrick Dukes and Bryan Williams were pretty good. Hunter Simmons, who kicked for Cape as a freshman then moved on to IMG Academy and is now a senior on the Salesianum roster, is a kicking prospect possibly committed to Virginia Tech. I’m just not sure of his personal best in an actual game. Sallies doesn’t enter stats on its website because they don’t want anyone getting an unfair advantage over them. Go in peace. Go on now, git!


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