A locals guidebook - act like you know, even if you don’t

June 13, 2017

Tim and Grace - I snapped a photo of Seashore Striders Race Director and Beacon track coach Tim Bamforth and his athlete Grace Hudson at the Blue-Gold 5K June 10. I did that Sussex County thing and told Grace I knew both her grandfathers, football coaches Charlie Hudson and Bob Cuthrell, and that her grandmother is a Cannon and her uncles are Jeff, Mike, Pat and Kelly, and that Aunt Sarah is her father’s sister married to Derrick Layfield. I stopped short of how far I could have gone and said, “I was the high school track coach for your coach Bamforth and coach Gilbert Maull, and your principal Mr. Frederick is my son. Did you know that, Grace?” She shook her head, “Yes.” I followed, “You didn’t know that, did you?” She shook her head, “No.” Sussex County, the land of “Yeah, right, sure, whatever, I don’t know!”

Saturation Sports - On Sunday, I watched college and Major League Baseball and also Stanley Cup hockey, the U.S. men’s soccer team tying Mexico 1-1, and the NCAA track and field championships. On Monday, I will sprinkle and shake some NBA Finals action. I don’t watch hockey during the regular season, but the Stanley Cup playoffs are simply the best TV and the hardest-earned trophy in all of sports. The NBA is soap opera, show time, rabid fans always on social media talking about best teams and best players of all time comparing one to another. Soccer is played by exquisite athletes on a big old field with a really big ball and sports’ largest goal cage, and still nobody can score. My favorite mascot is the Nashville Predators. My favorite team nickname, the Long Beach State Dirtbags. 

Mike “Doc” Emrick - The voice of the NHL is 71 years old, and he is simply the best play-by-play guy in the history of the world (Vin Scully is on his own planet). Emrick has a master’s degree from Miami University and a PhD from Bowling Green. I think he should work part time doing weekly press briefings for the White House. Doc just walks in, gives the press everything they need to know in 20 minutes, then walks out.

Winter track caps - Every winter, each Cape track athlete who ran for coach Tom Hickman in the early ’70s and competed in parking lots, school hallways then all the way to the Philadelphia Civic Center and Spectrum had their own skull cap, light blue with gold stripes, knitted by Tom’s wife Marge. Cape was old school in real time back in those days. Marge Hickman passed away earlier this month at age 93 (she and Tom were married 69 years), and athletes from that era will pause and remember a woman most never met, but her hats were on your heads making you warm, but better, making you forever Cape. A memorial service will be Tuesday, July 11, at 11 a.m., at the Ocean View Chapel of Melson Funeral Services. 

All-star games - All-star games for high school seniors across all the sports rest somewhere between a pickup game and an absolutely stupendous experience. I will never forget, which is why I plan to wear my jersey once a year for the next 50 years. Softball plays at the Dover Little League Complex Tuesday night at 6 p.m., while across town as the Falcon flies it’s girls’ lacrosse at 6 p.m. at Wesley College followed by the boys’ game at 8 p.m. The 62nd Blue-Gold High School All-Star Football Game is Saturday night at the University of Delaware at 6 p.m. The opening ceremonies featuring the Hand-in-Hand buddy program, the best 10 minutes of the sports year, begin at 5 p.m. 

Snippets - Sidney Crosby of the Penguins won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second year in a row. The only other players to do that were Mario Lemieux 1991-92 Penguins, and Bernie Parent of the Philadelphia Flyers 1974-75. I will never forget the run of the Broad Street Bullies and the sign a fan held from his seat at the Spectrum, “Only the Lord saves more than Bernie Parent.” Parent, now 72, is an ambassador for the Flyers. He has a 45-foot yacht called The French Connection on which he lives in the summer docked in Wildwood, N.J. “I haven’t had a drink in 35 years, but I’m thinking of starting again,” Parent joked at his 70th birthday party. Members of the local running community gifted me a blue director’s chair with my name on it prior to the running of the Blue-Gold 5K June 10. But I’m keeping my folding funky field chair too because it has character and history, and it’s easy to bail from if a large runner comes barreling toward the finish line trying to out lean some little kid or their wife; some guys just hate to get chicked or childed. Go on now, git!