Old dogs pose in a snow squall to capture a mammalian moment

February 5, 2019

Field and Stream - A quiet snow squall caught us all by surprise Friday afternoon, prompting schools to dismiss early, Friday night sports to be postponed, and scores of people to make fun of local “meteorologists” on social media all of whom predicted a dusting, “if anything.” The roads went from stone cold to slippery in an instant. The flakes stuck to frozen surfaces like an omelette to a cast-iron skillet. Time to let the dogs out for a bit of “mammalian mayhem,” to coin a Frank Zappa lyric, “Watch out where the huskies go, don’t you eat that yellow snow.” Darby Dog and I, a couple codgers joined at the arthritic hip, hit an open field for a romp and stomp and some photos. Darby mostly posed like he was auditioning for a Field and Stream cover. But him making the cover of an outdoors magazine is as likely as me making the cover of Runner’s World while sitting in a blue chair. The snow shut down sports for a day; too bad the shutdown didn’t last through the Super Bowl.

Pain tolerance - Tens of millions of fair-weather football fans reached a real-time consensus before the game was over that Super Bowl LIII was boring, the halftime show was the worst ever, and the commercials sucked. The NFL hype machine can no longer deliver to its comfortably numb fan base. We have been inundated for half a century watching the game grow more remote from real people’s lives. “Boring” is an Instagram indictment, a favorite word of high school kids who want out of captivity. But no one had to be bored inside the bonus room on the cul de sac of their unimaginative life. Turn the television off and step outside; maybe chase the dog around the yard or take his photo as you both stand still. That would still be more action than a groaner of a game.

Great White Hype - I was an original Lewes Polar Bear (started in 1982), kept it going through my sports column. About 1996, the LPBs  joined with Special Olympics Delaware for the February fundraiser. I just jumped in, to see what condition my condition was in, five times a year for 30 years. I plunged with a stapled stomach after surgery, and one year while running out I pulled a quad muscle and had to throw in the towel, except I couldn’t pick it up. The one-day Polar Bear Plunge fundraiser may be the most successful in the country. The Special Olympics athletes and staff behind Ann Grunert kept adding to the weekend, from an ice sculpture contest to a Run to the Plunge 5K. I would show up on the Sunday stage and announce numbers of plungers and monies raised. And then I disappeared like a dissident in Argentina. I’m all about Special Olympics Delaware; I just didn’t feel like jumping in the ocean any longer and had become a polar poser, getting credit for doing wonderful things when, in fact , I was doing nothing. A Robert Earl Keen country lyric played in my head, “I kinda like just doing nothing ... it’s something that I do.”

Massey’s Landing - Shane Massey of Lake Forest  delivered the stunner at the state meet on Saturday, coming from behind in the 800 meters like Dave Wottle in the 1972 Olympics to win the event in 1:57.7, upsetting Napoleon Hernandez of Tatnall at 1:58:04 and Michael Keehan of Salesianum at 1:58.21. Shane’s father played linebacker for Cape. His coach is Charlie Pollard, the Kick n’ Chicken entrepreneur who had a stint as Cape’s track coach. Shane is the great-grandson of the late George H.P. Smith, a former Lewes mayor who has a park named after him at Blockhouse Pond. You don’t get more local than the state champ from Lake Forest, Shane Massey.

Snippets - This Friday is a big sports day with the state wrestling duals, eight teams each for DI and DII, Cape girls’ basketball hosting Sussex Tech for supremacy in the Henlopen North, and Temple women’s lacrosse opening at home hosting the University of Delaware. Grand Mom Rose would say, “How can you be two places at once when you’re nowhere at all?” I’m still working on getting in shape for my scheduled Dr. Heckert physical six weeks from now. Linemen for Life are all about goal setting, but we ain’t about staying there. Susan bought me two soft pretzels from Old World Breads on Sunday morning, saying, “I know how much you like them and you probably won’t eat them, but I had to buy them for you anyway.” She’s codependent like a cupcake-making team mother who is skinny for a reason; she’s a baker not a taker. Go on now, git!