Lost my shoes but found memories in a cardboard box

November 11, 2022

Strangeness of life - I lost a pair of New Balance size 13 Quad E sneakers somewhere in my house. I prayed to St. Anthony, who answered, “I only look for small things. I mean, really, who loses their shoes?” I was looking in boxes in the garage and came upon two cobweb-encrusted plaques. One said “X- Country Champions 1977,” while the other was Coach of the Year, Boys’ Indoor Track 1985. I thought that’s all well and good, but where are my New Balance sneakers? Earlier in the day heading into my wellness visit with PA Kelly Yudt (I love her), I handed the person my Medicare cards and license and began fumbling in my wallet. “What are you looking for?'' she asked. “My license. I just saw it here this morning.” “You just handed it to me. Here, you can have it back.” Kelly later asked me, “memory OK?” and I said, “absolutely extraordinary.”   

The game is rigged - There is seepage inside the greater culture where politics and sports mix together. And it is not a healthy concoction; let's say like a strawberry smoothie with baby blueberries folded into it. Politicians who can’t accept an election result that finds them below the waterline as a group are contaminating the sports culture. Athletes and teams get beat sometimes because they don’t have enough points. Teams don’t lose because the officials hate their school or the timer was on the take or the other school recruits illegally. The Rolling Stones song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is set in contrast to the Kris Kristofferson song ”Blame it on the Rolling Stones,'' or at least Joe Biden. 

Bragging on family - Celebrating and sharing family successes on social media is a good thing usually centering around school and sports. It’s more preferable to those who post than those who hold contrary opinions to what they believe must be stupid. But sometimes I think that young people who get relentlessly celebrated by parents and grandparents just want their families to stop the hype and take a break. They don’t want to hear about Mikey Fred’s tremendous fall ball season of lacrosse at Mercer University. Well, I’m not going to tell you because he won’t even tell me and there must be a reason.    

Downtowning - There is a flipside to relentless hyping and only seeing a game through the lens of your own blood relative, and that's downtowning your own pony in post-game analysis. I've seldom heard it over 40 years of covering sports, but it happens before the player gets on the bus. “It may have been a great game, but my kid did nothing.” We normal people all react the same way, which is to walk away. But I’m not normal. I always say, “Don't ever bring negative comments to me about a young athlete who just played a game, whether yours, mine or anyone’s kid.”

The science of prediction - Betting on college and professional sports is a surefire recipe for blowing up your budget, which eventually will blow up your life. And you know the cliche in sports, “You never know what’s going to happen.” Well, in high school sports, you never know, except most times you do. My friends at the News Journal predict weekend high school football games at a rate well over 90%. And that's because without point spreads, picking winners is fairly predictable. Will anyone predict Cape football will beat Smyrna Friday night? How about CR at Central on Thursday night? How about Sallies hosting Appoquinimink at Abessinio on Friday? The results of those games are what Richie Ashburn called “a lead pipe cinch.” That’s an old expression for “a sure thing.”

Snippets - Practices for winter sports began Nov. 7 to accommodate a tryout period, which is actually not a practice. We talking practice, man. Cape soccer has a quarterfinal home game Friday night at 7 p.m. versus Appoquinimink, the Native American word meaning “you can’t spell.” Go on now, git!

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