Masks or no masks: What is going down in the world of school sports?

Cousins proliferate on Sussex County sports scene
May 7, 2021

No mask, don’t ask - Fans from afar looked at my posted game photos of the May 5 girls’ lacrosse game between Sussex Tech and Cape, and wondered why the Cape players were wearing masks on the field and the Ravens were not. DIAA and DPH and AAMCO (transmission joke) have withdrawn the requirement to wear a mask on the playing field for all spring sports except boys’ lacrosse (knuckleheads), so why do the Cape girls elect to wear masks? Because they don’t want the COVID Crazies coming after them before the tournament and having key players quarantined, which happens inside the hallowed halls of high schools all over the place. 

Pliant and compliant - We are mostly pliable gumbies on the sports scene, taking our masks on and off, and pulling them down, then hiking them back up. I discovered that I cannot honestly process thoughts with a mask over my nose. I would be the robber who pulled down his mask before instructing the bank teller, “Put the cash in my satchel, and don’t you laugh, it’s an old word; just put it in the bag.”  

Don’t be dropping no ball - I was in downtime between sports assignments gazing at but not comprehending the Orioles baseball game. I didn’t even realize that John Means had pitched the first complete-game no-hitter for the Orioles in 52 years until the final out. And, that all that stood between him and a perfect game, a 6-0 win over the Mariners where he faced the minimum 27 batters, was a dropped ball on a third strike where the runner reached first base, then got caught stealing second. “That was no wild pitch. The catcher has to make that play,” said Cape baseball coach Ben Evick, a former pitcher who never threw a wild pitch, especially when his brother Mike was catching. Means threw a no-hitter for the Delmarva Shorebirds in 2015. 

Sussex County kin - There has been a resurgence in the use of the words Cuz and Family. My standard joke is, “If you purchase a puppy through the Sussex Guide and henceforth consider the seller a cousin, you earn down-home points.” I was talking to granddaughter Katie, a UD student, who said, “My roommate called me from a bar and said she met this guy who claims to be my cousin.” “His name is Christopher Czerwinski,” the roommate told Katie. Katie, always understated, said, “Sure, OK.” Christopher is Susannah Martin’s cousin on her mom’s side. Suz is married to Jack Frederick, the brother of Katie’s dad Dave. What’s up, Cuz?  

Stratton and McGee - Sounds like a small-engine repair shop. I am always chasing the ball figuring out who is related to whom. I was at Sussex Central covering the college signings of P.J. Stratton and Duce Magee when I merged into the cousin roundabout. I knew the Strattons and Curries of Cape/Milford were cousins, but then I found out that Duce McGee is the grandchild of Jackie Maull, sister to Janet, which makes Duce a cousin to J.D. Maull, who was there. I knew enough to be confused, but the families liked that I was even interested. 

Signs and banners - There are more state championship track signs being bolted onto the bleachers at Legends Stadium while championship banners are heading for Champions Stadium. Banners are by Fishtails, a business in Midway run by Ethan Ghabra, whose sister Sam plays field hockey and lax for Cape. The 1979 and 2020 banners were unveiled May 5 at the ring ceremony for the 2020 state championship hockey team. The ring is designed by Chuck and Amy Hudson of Jostens ... and we can track their cousins all day long.   

Kicking the real - Cape boys’ lacrosse plays at unbeaten Sanford on Saturday afternoon. The Warriors are 10-0 with an average margin of victory of 14 goals. Tower Hill and Caesar Rodney are the only common opponents, and both Sanford and Cape ran the clock on both of them. The last time I was on the Sanford campus in 1973-74 is when basketball legend Walter Davis – UNC and NBA –  was doing a postgraduate year. Davis is the uncle of Hubert Davis, the new head coach at UNC. Walter Davis won a gold medal for the U.S. in 1976. I was there as an assistant basketball coach for the Mitchell School out of Haverford, Pa. My son Dave was 3. His nickname was Helium because of his high voice. In Philly, even toddlers have nicknames. 

Snippets - Don’t ever tell a coach a featured game has “lost its luster” because of recent losses. Cape baseball hosts Salesianumn at noon, this Saturday, a good old-fashioned hardball game. Cape is 11-4 with in-state losses to Sussex Tech, Delmar and Appoquinimink. Salesianum is 8-5 with in-state losses to Sussex Tech, Saint Mark’s (twice), Conrad and Delmar. This game is a good matchup at a pivotal point in the season. Manager “Moonbeam” Gabe Kapler of the San Francisco Giants has his team in first place in the NL West with a record of 18-13. Gabe is new-school cool, but he was not a good fit for Philly – just too articulate and fit. Go on now, git!  


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