Mark Schaeffer is Sesame Street by the Sea’s tribute muppet

Don’t need Prevagen to remember a career of sports highlights
April 28, 2023

Tribute Man - If there is a tribute-issuing muppet here at Sesame Street by the Sea, it is Sussex County Councilman Mark Schaeffer. Mark hit me up by same-day email April 26, asking if I could come over to the high school to take a photo of him presenting tributes to state champion wrestlers C.J. Fritchman and Luke Bender. I thought, “There must be reasons I can't make it, but none that didn’t include the word couch.” I give Mark Schaeffer all the credit in the world for getting out there and brightening the days of community impact players, getting to meet them face to face. Both Fritchman and Bender are understated personalities. A tribute from Sussex County Council or a check for a million dollars, and their reactions would be the same. Be it hereby known to all hosers and posers at Sesame Street by the Sea that Fredman commends Councilman Mark Schaeffer, aka the tribute muppet.  

Memories - “The way we were.” Coach Fred didn’t need a Red Bull spiked with Prevagen to recall the Henlopen Conference track championships on the Milford track in 1977. I showed up this Tuesday for a Cape at Milford dual meet that included 10 heats of the 100 meters, each one slower than the previous. My world was decelerating, but I didn’t need a memory booster to figure that out. I recalled Garrison Duncan, a Rehoboth kid, winning the conference championship after waving off a coach Fred-suggested warm-up lap. “All the way around this big track? I ain’t no distance runner. You must be crazy.” And after he won the 100 meters, Garrison did the best human impression of a horse I had ever seen and heard, circling while smacking his hip in giddy-up fashion. I was concerned someone was going to go to the rodeo and try to ride him. “Tonto, jump on it. Kemosabe, jump on it.”

No run, no win - Cape senior distance runner Katie Kuhlman told me last week while sitting out a tri-meet versus Sussex Central and Caesar Rodney that she was out for the season with Achilles tendonitis. On Tuesday at Milford, Czar Bloom, a volunteer coach, asked me before the meet, “What races is Katie running?” I told him, “None, she’s injured and out for the season.” Czar said, “Her hair is braided, with blue and gold bows added. I'd say she’s running.” Czar was right. After all, what do I know, having watched Katie run since she was a kid? Katie won the 1,600 in 5:36 and the 800 in 2:36, and ran on the winning 1,600 relay team. She was Cape’s high scorer in the meet with 13 points. Cape won the meet 77-69. Katie is also on the 4-by-100 team that will run at the Penn Relays on Friday. 

Yakety Yak looking back - I was 28 years old with friends at the Penn Relays in April 1975, having coached four years with Chris Dwyer at Mitchell School, where we lost only one meet — thanks to me — and Chris won the rest. The hall of fame announcer Jack O’Reilly bellowed across Franklin Field, “Coming off the turn it’s Woodson, Paramus Catholic, Malcolm Shabazz, Cape Henlopen” ... he paused ... “Cape Henlopen, I love saying that name.” Susan said, “I think that’s one of the 50 schools you applied to.” My answer, “I have no idea. Never heard of it.” Through a series of job rejections, I ended up in Lewes that August, renting a house on McFee Street for $225 per month. I started football practice as an assistant. Athletic Director Frank Coveleski told me I was named head track coach — I didn’t apply — then I saw a sign in front of the school that said state track champs 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975.  Bill Collick and Charlie Hickox were my assistants. We were toast. The athletes were so disappointed. Tom Hickman had retired. The athletes loved him and wanted him to stay, and so did I. But the deal is, “I am no chump.” We may lose, but not because of me. I kept charts, we scouted meets and asked to see result sheets so I could see who got seconds and thirds. The Henlopen Conference passed a rule to keep us off the infield. No one else wanted to work that hard; 85-13 over the next 10 years, with five state titles and another three we should have gotten. Life’s greatest successes are often built on a series of rejections. 

Snippets - The Syracuse women beat Virginia Tech in the second round of the ACC tournament 14-12. Ella Rishko (Cape kid) had two goals in the game. Ella, a freshman, is second on the team in total points with 50, including 44 goals and six assists. Division II West Chester beat Kutztown 22-5 to win the PSAC title and enters the postseason undefeated at 16-0. Lindsay Monigle (Cape kid) had one goal and five assists for the game. Monigle, a fifth-year senior, has 26 goals and 48 assists for 74 points. West Chester is ranked No. 1 in Division II lacrosse. Sawyer Walker, playing Division I lacrosse for Xavier University, is a freshman with 10 goals and 20 draw controls. This weekend looks like a weather washout. That doesn’t mean your team isn’t playing. I already have the wet dog blues. Go on now, git!


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