My cat was away in a manger, but later he came back

December 25, 2018

Christmas column - My tomcat had a case of the manger once, so he wouldn’t come in from the barn. Never mind, that was mange. Years ago, I wrote a few Christmas present columns and they were so stupid, even by my standards, I decided not to do them anymore. Christmas in my seaside world of sports is basketball and wrestling tournaments along with all-day but far away indoor track meets. Swimming is out there somewhere, but any event contested by wet people inside a natatorium makes my want to go stick my head inside a humidor. Running races on the roads have always intrigued me, but the more gimmicks attached to them, the less interested my sports guy is in reporting results.

Lineman for Life Yo Yo Diet - If you’re an aging or active football lineman who is two standard deviations to the right of ideal weight on the Metropolitan Body Mass Index, you may consider starting a diet, but you’ll only talk to other exploding mesomorphs about it because only they will understand that you and your diet make no sense because you’re a crazy Lineman for Life. I started a diet on my own by sitting at the kitchen table alone for a little lunch. “You don’t ever eat lunch,” my wife Susan said in the midst of making a gross of Christmas cookies before packaging them in tins like dietetic drones. And then she noticed, “Are you eating a bowl of cocktail wieners? I was bringing them to the Christmas party you’re going to skip. Seriously? You’re eating cocktail wieners with a spoon? Would you like a box of toothpicks? Do a little spearfishing perhaps?” High-performance linemen can never be fat guys, and they don’t want to look like 28-34, otherwise known as Jared Kushner. Anyway, down six getting ready for my physical March 14. Pass the cocktail wieners.

Crass expressions - I write what people say, but not everything they say, extracting what may be inappropriate for family reading. And we all know that the easily offended are the weirdest people in the village. Last summer, a high school-aged person among a group I was talking to used the expression that parents are up his butt every weekend. “It’s pretty nauseating, Fredman.” “Sounds nauseating to me. Do you mean the parents are living the sports of their youth through their kids?” “Yes, but it’s all about the hype. They need to back it down. If you’re always hearing how great someone is, you begin rooting for them to fail.”

Good Bobby - It was 1994. I was wearing a hospital gown, whacked out on morphine, supine in a bed with rails well past visiting hours, and I was recovering from surgery. I hallucinated the Tasmanian Devil of basketball tournament directors, Bobby Jacobs. A nurse said, “Dr. Jacobs is here for a quick visit.” Bobby sat on the edge of the bed and began to laugh. He said, “Dink Peters,” then said it again, “Dink Peters.” “Who are you, John Dillinger?” I answered. Bobby expanded his message, “6 feet, 8,300 pounds, out of Potomac High. William ‘Dink’ Peters. His cousin couldn’t pronounce Stink, so his nickname became Dink. That story is in this new program. Do you want to hear some more?” “I don’t, Bob. I’m on drugs. I’m not even sure you are here.” The many of us who go back to the beginning owe Bobby Jacobs for bringing showtime to the Cape Little Big House. And now the band, “Cheers!” By 2000, Peters was playing with the Washington Justice, a member of the Overwatch league.

Snippets - Denise Zelenak is the head coach of the Drexel Dragons field hockey team on which former Cape star Tess Bernheimer is an all-star player. Her son Paul Zelenak is the head field hockey coach at Padua Academy, which lost to Cape in the state finals. Change for Christmas is a program run by the Cape football teams through school lunches to raise money for holiday meals for six families. I wonder which event produces the greatest local economic impact, the Rehoboth Marathon or the Slam Dunk to the Beach holiday basketball tournament? The Lewes Polar Bear tradition continues, and this Jan. 1 at Cape Henlopen State Park beach in Lewes will mark the 37th consecutive year. Beware of frozen Jello molds. Go on now, git!

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