Lee ‘Doc’ Masser dies at 84, closing chapter of an open book

DIAA board to meet Sept. 10
September 8, 2020

I’m about half - “How are you feeling?” “I’m about half.” Not sure what that expression means. It’s certainly open to interpretation, like “half in the bag” or “I’m perfectly balanced, just quintessentially chilled like a Laurel watermelon.” Sept. 6 in Dewey Beach, 150 runners took part in the Summer’s End 5K. The 2020 version of the race dropped 150 runners from the 2019 edition, but given life in the pandemic shadows, it sure seemed like waves of people from octogenarians to unitarians in buggies (not even a year old) were happy to be socially active. I’ve never heard so much talk of mental health since sports were taken from the mentally healthy. Many runners wore orange to honor the late Lee “Doc” Masser, who passed Sept. 4 in Annapolis at the age of 84. Everyone up and down the age groups loved “Doc,” who was spreadsheet old school. He was on the running scene the last 35 years, always a smiling and gracious individual. Bennett Brumbley, 9 years old in 2017, ran the Father's Day 5K in 22 minutes, then went back out on the course to escort Doc to the finish. That tradition continued for all races after. At the Prediction Run 5K in Rehoboth Sept. 5, it was Bennett going back out to escort Paul Kiefer, 80, Jim Marvin, 70, and Jack Noel, 81, to the finish. At the time, none of us knew Doc had passed, and it was a fitting closing chapter to a book that remains forever open.  

Call me irresponsible - At Grove Park Sept. 5 before a 5K race, someone asked me about my understanding and position regarding sports for middle schools and high schools starting up this fall. I started to speak and it was the “EF Hutton Factor” – nearby adults I didn’t know started to listen, then began weighing in like 10-wheelers at the pre-Route 1 bypass Smyrna Route 13 truck stop. I didn’t want to be the whale out of water spouting off in a sea of tranquility (nobody likes that guy), so I simply rested on the position, “If I were on a board that made the decision and had a vote, I’d vote to let them play and to allow their parents to be spectators, but I have the luxury of having no responsibility for my position.” Think like rap lyrics, “Here we go, yo, so what the scenario?” DIAA will revisit the various plans Thursday, Sept. 10, and as we’ve learned from other state agencies in the contiguous states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, plans approved are not necessarily universally adopted. Entire conferences in both states have opted out of playing this fall. 

Photosynthesis - I intentionally didn’t pay attention in most science classes because I couldn’t extract much funny material from the lectures. Sunday afternoon, weary of Philadelphia sports, I decided to trudge a lap around Blockhouse Pond wearing big old plastic misshapen earphones attached to an actual iPod Nano while wearing a Cape mask that was impacting my ability to breathe and exchange carbon dioxide with plants in exchange for more oxygen. No way an athlete could play a sport while masked. They’d be passing out in a hypoxia stupor.  

P Giddy - It doesn’t take much success for Philly sports fans to snort the laughing gas of high hopes. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday night, the Flyers were playing Game 7 versus the New York Islanders, with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Phillies, with a 19-15 season record, were playing the New York Mets. The Phils were winners of five in a row and 10 of 11, and were now hunting down the Atlanta Braves. There was talk of a World Series. Less than 24 hours later, the Flyers had been shut down by the Islanders 4-0 and the Phils dropped two by a combined score of 19-2. You can’t look good while playing bad, so just move on or go home.

Stupid stuff - I watched the last half and overtime of the Milwaukee Bucks’ 118-115 win over the Miami Heat. I focused on Donte DiVincenzo, dubbed the Big Ragu by sportscaster Gus Johnson, like he was my nephew because he played at Sallies and Villanova, and led the Sals to a state title and the Cats to an NCAA title. Donte scored 10 points off the bench in the Bucks’ victory, which is remarkable considering he rarely received the ball in good scoring position. Offenses in NBA basketball are predicated on fundamentally bad basketball covered up by extraordinary talent. How any player meshes with that insanity is a mystery to me. Go on now, git!


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