Maren Ford is a color commentator for Big 10 field hockey

Geezers and gazebos go together like coffee and conversation
September 8, 2023

I must be steaming - An email from Jim (Mayor) and Teresa (Kids’ Ketch) Ford: “Hope all is well with you in your amazing world of the extended Fredman family and friends. This is a picture of Maren doing a color commentary for the Big 10+ streaming network. She worked a couple of games, most recently last Sunday, Michigan vs. Old Dominion, Michigan won 1-0 in overtime. She worked with Jon Morosi, who has broadcast experience with MLB, Fox Sports and the NHL. They were a great team, working together seamlessly. You never know what that girl will do next when it comes to field hockey. She still has multiple travel club teams with her Fer de Lance program, and also referees. I thought you would find this interesting in that you always follow through with graduates as they continue on life’s journey. That is one of your fine assets. Love your column. Keep it going. Take care, Jim and Teresa Ford.” Maren played for Cape, then at Princeton for Beth Bozman, who also coached at Duke, and now lives locally and officiates field hockey. Maren’s husband, Ryan Langford, is in his 15th year as an assistant coach of the Michigan field hockey program. Ryan is a 2003 graduate of Appalachian State, where Sam Connors of Cape is a current player. He and Maren, a former National Team member, were married in 2011 and are parents to son Silas and daughter Reese. I could go on connecting dots until Ossie Warrington’s cows come back to Cape.  

Geezers gazebo - I haven’t seen the old boys of summer all racing season, but Leo and Skip stepped into my focus ring Saturday prior to the running of the Last Blast Prediction 5K. Leo Hannigan, 75, just became a grandfather for the sixth time and found it hilarious, recounting how store clerks looked at him after he bought a box of Pampers. Leo handed me a 20-ounce  Royal Farms coffee, saying, “I hope you're OK with sugar.” Paul “Skip” Kieffer crossed over the 80 barrier and works as a landscaper. Paul always asks me, “How's Davey doing?” I wanted to go full-boat Grove Park gazebo talking ‘bout my generation to catch up and share stories with Leo and Skip, but first I had to figure out how to take photos one-handed with a scorching cup of coffee in the other.   

Degree don’t matter - I have a degree from West Chester University in sociology/anthropology and a master of arts in liberal studies from the University of Delaware. I’ve been a sports columnist for 42 years, and yet with all that I stay away from sports and society issues as they relate to the race of the athlete. It was 50 years ago when Bill Cosby, speaking of mixed-race children, said, “We get the kids.'' It is, in fact, a cultural definition, if you remember genotypes and phenotypes and did not drop the class. Coach Prime talks about being a Black coach inside a locker room where 70% of the players are Black. But if you sent geneticist Gregor Mendel into that population, he’d come out with enough hybrids to start a car dealership. Ben Shelton defeated countryman Francis Tiafoe to reach the U.S. Open tennis semifinals. wrote: “For the first time in the Open Era, multiple Black American men advanced to the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam. With Tiafoe and Shelton drawn against each other, the occasion was made even more special by its headlining status in Arthur Ashe Stadium.” Ben Shelton is mixed-race – his mom is white. I know, who cares? My point exactly, so why is race relevant? One conclusion is – forget science – humans see what they want to see. If I were teaching class, this is where I would lock into four-wheel drive and go way off road. 

Good stuff - Cape football led Red Lion 21-0 with 11 minutes to play, then needed a goal-line stand in the final minute to secure a 21-14 victory, which was Cape’s first opening-night win since 2017. I’m a stand-on-the-rim-of-relevance, aging sportswriter, and coaches speak freely postgame as I hover like a fan boat in the Everglades. Coach Mike Frederick chose to play the moment happily, telling his players it was one of the greatest high school games he’s ever been involved in. I listened to George Glenn in 1996 speak to his team after giving up a fourth-quarter lead to Caesar Rodney and losing the game. “It’s OK if you want to cry, because I want to cry,” he told his players. And he had them for that moment and all future moments. When  Glenn called me the next morning at 5 a.m., his comments were not printable. I was just a friendly and trusted sounding board.

Snippets - I once threw a second-half punch in a basketball game in 1964 playing for Bishop Egan versus LaSalle. The benches cleared, and when the melee mellowed, I was thrown out along with a LaSalle player who had never been in the game and hadn’t left the bench. The LaSalle coach argued vociferously and the referee said, “Fine, I’ll put your kid back in, but Frederick goes back in as well.” The LaSalle coach assessed the deal and said, "That's all right, they can both stay out.” At Cape’s football game, the referee was ready to throw Jukai Payne out of the game for throwing a punch. I said to graduate Thomas Gibbs, who was standing next to me, “The game when Jukai throws a punch is the moment I go straight home and put my house up for sale because I know the end of the world is coming. Just too nice a person.” I guess Thomas told Jukai what I said, because he came up to me on the sidelines and thanked me for believing in him. By the way, Lex Wescott, Cape’s shutdown corner and stud wideout, was tossed during a roll-around on the ground with the guy he was guarding, yet the film revealed no punch. Coaches tell me Lex is a solid kid, absolutely no problems. It seems I’m the only problem child in my own column. The ruling is on appeal. Go on now, git! 


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