Muppets are the serious players behind Cape’s championships

July 12, 2019

One Mississippi, two Mississippi - I’m at home among football guys. They are intense, yet they make me laugh. I watched coach Shawn Bradham play press coverage on Ja’Vaughn “J-Roc” Burton like he was back in 1994. It seems like yesterday, not 25 years ago. Coach JD Maull was explaining to a running back, after going through a fake, how to sit down and check for a blitzer before releasing into the flat. Coach Maull talks fast and I knew what he said – one Mississippi, two Mississippi – but it sounded like a foreign language. The player just nodded his head, just like I do when I hear something that makes no sense. Cape has a nice array of athletic-looking young men, but I am always struck by those physically gifted genotypes who decide not to play. You’ve got a half dozen of those guys – they can turn around the program. If you don’t get them, then you struggle. 

Muppet Status - I have built my own social register here at Sesame Street by the Sea. Muppets walk the village and are known by a single name, nickname or at the most two names. Being local doesn’t gain you automatic entry – that’s a different list entirely. Many muppets are not locals and some locals are not muppets, and I’ll be the judge of all it since it’s my idea. There are 23 interscholastic sports offered at Cape in 2019-20. Six out of 23 head coaches for 2019-20 are Cape grads. Those are JD Maull, football; Shemik Thompson, boys’ basketball; Pat Woods, girls’ basketball; Tim Bamforth, indoor girls’ track; Ben Evick, baseball; and George Pepper, girls’ track. And of those, the only ones who pass the locals test (born here) are JD and Pep. Most pass the Muppet test. 

State titles, muppets and locals - There have been 58 state titles won over 50 years of Cape sports. I'm coming up with 12 teams coached by Cape grads with only three having local status, those being Ruth Skoglund, 1995, field hockey; Dan Cook, 1991, girls’ tennis; and George Pepper, boys’ XC, 1979 and 1982 along with girls’ track 2012, 2011, 2004, 2005. Muppets rule! 

Beating them like a bongo drum - It may have been 1984. All Henlopen track coaches were given a slip of paper at the conference meet to vote for Coach of the Year. I walked up behind three coaches who were discussing who deserved to win. These clowns were so clueless they didn’t recognize the coach who has been beating them like a bongo in a calypso band all season. “What about the Cape guy?” one asked. “Who couldn’t win with all that talent?” another said. “I hear he doesn’t even make them come to practice,” was another comment. These guys resided in the zone where clueless and catty intersected. No wonder they couldn't beat nobody. 

Thirty-somethings - When you reach the point when you have nothing left to prove, most people of action continue to go out to prove otherwise. In sports, it’s not just the notoriety and the money, not the cups and trophies, it’s about the exhilaration of being in the moment. Top of the tree are tennis stars Serena Williams, 37; Roger Federer, 37; Rafael Nadal, 33; and Novak Djokovic, 32. They have combined for 76 grand slam tennis titles and are all worth more than $100 million. All four speak multiple languages – yes, Serena speaks French and gets by in Spanish and Italian – and all have multiple endorsement deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But the challenge is staying at the top. 

Surf accident - I rocked my captain safety message before every Lewes Polar Bears New Year’s Day jump, telling them all, “Don’t dive; just keep running until you have enough water to sit and turn. Sprinting then diving into shallow surf inside a crowd is dangerous.” Then I’d realize I was giving a safety lecture to crazy people about to plunge into a 38-degree ocean. Nobody ever listened to me, especially the young males who went full-bore flying porpoise on their way into the white water. On July 4 in Ocean City off 38th Street, 19-year-old Ben Paepcke dove headfirst into the surf and shattered his C5 disc. A recent Calvert Hall graduate has all four limbs paralyzed at this time. Ben’s mother Lillian asks people to keep her son in mind and to use the hashtag #PrayersForPap. 

Snippets - There are lots of successful weight-loss stories out there. If you’re one of them, message me on Facebook at “Dave Fredman Frederick” and we’ll chew the fat, and celebrate and share your successes. The University of Delaware will move all Saturday afternoon football games up to a 1 p.m. starting time. The move is to boost attendance. Having said that, the Blue Hens will open the season at 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 29, hosting the Delaware State Hornets. Brandon Nixon (Cape) is listed as a redshirt junior defensive tackle on the 2019 UD roster. Brent Reed (Cape) is a redshirt junior at tight end. Many of the incoming true freshmen and transfers will emerge as they make their way through training camp. Go on now, git!