The moon is down all over the town of Dewey Beach

Cape lacrosse dads of 1998 were no joke
April 10, 2020

The Moon is Down - Skyjack drone photos by TJ Redefer often show the sun coming up over Dewey Beach or setting into Rehoboth Bay. TJ’s spirit flew into his own photo April 7, passing up and away on the same day as songwriter John Prine, who wrote, “The moon is down all over town, the forecast is gray now that he’s gone away.” But there is also the message of hope, “The sun will be fine, it'll still shine all the time. You see gravity pulls but it can’t keep you around. It’ll be one long day and now the moon is down.” Back in May of 2009, in the final minute of Cape’s first state championship in girls’ lacrosse, goalie Leigh Ann Redefer had tears coming down her cheeks. I was standing behind her goal. She turned to me and said, “Shut up, Fredman! I can’t help it!” I snapped a photo on Senior Night that season with TJ, Bobbie and Leigh Ann. The girls were crying, but TJ hovered above it all, while young Jack, a freshman lefty at Sussex Tech, was off playing a game. Friends are sad because the family is sad, “Don’t let the sun catch you crying,” to which we reply, “Shut up! We can’t help it!” There are hundreds of testimonials written to honor TJ’s memory, so I’ll just be succinct like TJ and capture the essence of who he is, not was, because in the world of magical realism at Sesame Street by the Sea, all muppets live in real time always and forever.  

Missing Link - (from May 29, 1998) - A Tatnall father made the big mistake last Saturday of pulling up a place next to the chain-link fence opposite Cape’s attack zone on the field. That is the veritable Badlands, where even wives and children fear to tread. “He made the mistake of politely suggesting that we calm down,” said one anonymous parent who rhymes with Dingo while another made short work of the private-school pop’s request. Hulking linebacker Bill Bergey left the Cape spectator side of the field and watched the game alone across the way. A smart read on the part of No. 66. When Derrick Quillen was leveled after a goal, Uncle Ron (of Wallaby Wyatt clan) launched into a tirade: “That’s the only way they can play, ref! (Tatnall goon tactics?) Two minutes non releasable! Put him in the box!” I know that the Cape fans annoyed the Tatnall faithful to ever-loving death, but that’s “just the way we bees sometimes.”  

Refocus - Just wondering if high school athletes who were deprived of a spring sport will shift focus to the fall and maybe join a sport they left in middle school or never played before. What if a talent surge showed up for football or boys’ soccer, or how about field hockey and volleyball? There are some blue-chip athletes who would enhance any team they joined. The smart athletes are getting their fix during shutdown by fiendishly working out to get bigger, stronger and faster. 

Where are you now? So many games and thousands of athletes have passed through my life as a teammate, coach and sportswriter, so all I’m asking is, “Where are you now?” What happened to those people in signing photos? How many excel at the next level? And of course there is always a next level you can’t reach, so then what happens? How many of us left part of our game on the field? It is natural to embellish your past, but what are the harsh realities? Schools will never have a handle on the intrinsic success of their programs if they have no idea what happens to the student-athletes who move out into life's game. Schools do teach history, but have little idea how to capture and document their own. 

Out the in door - I was checking out of Weis Market and realized I left my wallet in the truck, so I quickly went out the in door to the parking lot because not only did I not see the arrows, I didn’t see the Indians. An old joke, just relax, and to all the people who gave me a dirty look and broke bad behind their bandanas, just chill, dogs. I just learned not to stand in front of automatic doors that read in when I’m trying to get out. It’s like changing rules of baseball in the late innings. 

Snippets - I live in gyms all winter, going to every Cape wrestling match, including two-day Henlopen Conference Championships. Blood, sweat and tears, bodies on bodies, nose plugs and bandaged heads ... and those were the fans. The season ran its course and finished. Basketball was not so lucky. That is just perplexing; perhaps we all should all wear singlets and roll around the mats with each other. Immunity has to be earned. This is so far beyond my comprehension, I should host daily press briefings. Go on now, git!

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