Milford Central Academy is the heart of a connected community

Kids still like stories, depends who is doing the talking
February 14, 2020

Uncle Fredman - A Tuesday night boys’ basketball game between Cape and Milford at Milford Central Academy, the house is alive with DJ and cheerleaders and generations of connected cousins. It is Senior Night, honoring basketball players, cheerleaders and managers. I see the 5-year-old cheerleader Keller, and she is killer cute, and a Cartwright, first cousin to the Savage clan of Cape, but don’t let me chase that ball or I’ll never come back. Suddenly, the cheerleader coach says my name, “Hello, Mr. Frederick, do you know who I am?” I am a cross between Rainman and Sherlock Holmes, using my own brain for facial recognition. A beautiful Afro-American face and I’m seeing American Indian. I definitely know her. “You are Sturgis,” I say. And she was. Myrna Sturgis, working for Milford at Lulu Ross Elementary for the last 18 years. “I graduated from Cape in 1985,” Myrna said. “How did you do that?” We talked about Myrna’s sister, Bernice Sturgis, one of Cape’s great sprinters who still holds the Legends Stadium record for running the 200 meters while wearing a dress. And then Myrna Sturgis Shockley sang the national anthem, which was the absolute best and most inspiring live rendition at a high school game this old dog has ever heard. The players on both teams were falling out, fans were clapping, it was a happening! Milford Central Academy is just that, the center of the connected community. 

The Mentalist Interventionist - I sometimes have the privilege of talking to a high school athlete one on one in the morning sitting at a small table. My style is conversational. I am there to discover something about them and to celebrate their journey and share my own stories as they relate back to the athlete’s voyage. Josiah Miller just smiled brightly as I told him of Oscar Williams, a 6-foot-7, 300-pound athlete who threw the shot put at Temple in 1965, but played no football, letting us know that his scholarship was a much better deal. And later I told Bryan Ciabattoni a few pole vault stories about Randy Johnson and Maren Ford winning indoor state titles. I said to Bryan, “Sorry for all the stories, it’s just the way I do it.” He said, “Are you kidding? I love your stories. I read them all on Facebook.” 

Three guys at Wawa - There we were on a Tuesday morning at the Wawa coffee counter. Bill Collick, Brian Donahue and Fredman. We talked about football and school board, but mostly unrelated non-important stuff. I left first, saying, “I have nothing to do for the next few hours, so let me set about doing it.” Plus, I wanted to give them a chance to talk about me.  

Erased in cyberspace - Go to the Sussex Tech banner on websites4sports, click on football, then coaches and you will find no head coach listed because coach Mark Quillen has moved west to Seaford. And there is a glitch in the system, so if you remove Quillen in the present, it removed him in the past. I’m also told that the “lottery” system used to select applicants to Sussex Tech is now handled by Department of Education or Uncle Buck or some agency in Dover making the process completely random, which makes it impossible to build and replenish sports programs. 

Snippets - Cape placed 16 field hockey players on the NFHCA Academic All-American list. That requires a 3.5 GPA. A scholar of distinction is an athlete with a 3.9, which means you can’t get a fastball or curveball past them and they will knock your changeup out of the park. Scholars of distinction are: Haley Craig, Riley Keen, Riley Klopp, Emily Monigle and Anna Stancofski. Academic All-Americans are Bella Conte, Maggie Dawson, Marleee Geppert, Julie Heffernan, Jhayden Holloman, Sydney Jefferson, Abby Kane, Destiny Kusen, Lola Messick, Cameron Smith and Lee Lee Wilson. An email from Brandon Smith of Dewey Beer Company: “Hey Fredman! Thought you’d get a kick out of this. We (Holly and Brandon) just ran our first Ultramarathon last weekend in Pocomoke City at the Algonquin 50K. It was incredibly muddy, ankle to knee deep water, a ton of sand. 90 percent trail, very little road. Holly went out to have fun, finished first female, sixth overall and her time 4:21:38 is the ladies’ new course record. And of course she was smiling the whole time.” Rob Coslick won the overall title in 3:49:25, which is really impressive for that trail. He has a second overall finish at the Hurt 100K. He’s a stud. I saw an old basketball referee doing a JV game who ran like I would if I were dumb enough to try it. During a timeout he said to me, “Man, these kids are fast. Back when we played, we slowed down and passed the ball.” I didn’t want to be in his story, like when a fat guy asks you, “Where do you buy your pants?” Go on now, git! 


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