Omaha to Oakland, the storied summer of the Gelof family

Wisdom of aging: Skip the race; go straight to the beer
July 18, 2023

Omaha to Oakland - The storied boys of summer cross country baseball sojourn of Jake and Zack Gelof was highlighted by a trip to Omaha for the College World Series, where Jake played third base for UVA, then was later drafted No. 60 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then a few weeks later, older brother Zack got called up  from the triple-A Las Vegas Aviators to start a weekend series at second base for the Oakland Athletics versus the Minnesota Twins. ”I know Adam and Kelly drove to Omaha and brought the dog,” said former Cape athletic director Bob Cilento, who was at the World Series with wife Barbara because their son Bill is the associate head coach for Wake Forest’s Demon Deacons. Saturday morning, my friend Lynn DeCourcey, who lives in the Glade, asked me if I had watched Zack’s opener Friday night against the Twins – she knew every highlight. I told her, “I sure did!” (except I didn’t), but I watched Sunday's game on ESPN stream. Locally connected muppets of Sesame Street by the Sea are all over this story. An appropriate song may be “Hit em with your screenshot!” Zack went 4-for-12 over the weekend series with a double and triple, and two singles. Zack was on deck with the tying run on second in the bottom of the ninth with the A’s trailing 5-4. I just knew if he got to the plate, “destiny’s child’ was going yard for the game winner and weekend cycle. But alas, my tripping  begins and ends at the corner of my couch. 

Summer seabreeze - Tom Fitzpatrick is a downtown Dewey guy “talking ‘bout my generation,” in his 70s like me, runs a lot of 5K races; he is a back-of-the-packer. I always wait for the long-gone peloton to amble by my camera. They always say, “Thanks for being out here in this weather,” and I think, “If there’s no weather, I’m an astronaut.” Saturday morning, there was no sea breeze, bay breeze, land breeze or summer breeze to make you feel fine. I took Tom’s photo and he said, “I didn't run today. I'm just walking to the finish line to grab a beer and do some socializing.” With age comes wisdom, but it takes a lot of miles to get there. 

Epically too long - The Wimbledon final with Carlos Alcaraz, 20, beating Novak Djokovic, 37, took four hours and 42 minutes to play. There was one game that lasted 27 minutes. “A final for the ages,” the Sporting News reported, yet attention deficit ranks right up there with climate change as a topic we didn’t see coming 30 years ago when we weren’t paying attention. I remember this every time I have gone  to a microphone: “You have a maximum of 10 minutes, even if you're interesting, inspiring, irreverent, witty and wisecracking wonderful, then you have to get off.”  And the audience will never suggest you return to talk a little longer. Just too long a match – and that’s coming from a sportswriter who will wait 70 minutes for someone to finish running a 5K.

Snippets - Cape will be running two field hockey camps at Champions Stadium in the upcoming weeks, one for high school-aged players 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Thursday, July 24 to 27, and an elementary and middle school camp from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday to Thursday, July 31 to Aug. 3. The question with little people is when encouragement crosses the line to pushing too hard. Cape football is participating in a 7-on-7 league (passing, obviously no tackling) at Milford on Mondays at dinnertime, or more appropriately, “no-dinner time.” What’s the deal with showing up for the signing photos, then not showing up for the sport? I’m not going to chase those stories, but I wouldn’t mind hearing them. The 26th Bill Degnan Faith in Human Spirit 5K run was held Sunday morning under dark and rumbling skies on Cape’s campus. Race Director Tim Bamforth talked about the great person and coach that was Bill Degnan. Bill’s sister Kathy Leonard was there; if you subtracted 26 years from the ages of every runner, most had no knowledge of Bill. But his own faith in the human spirit was unmatched as a teacher and coach. I remember when Bill became an administrator at Woodbridge; he showed up at a track meet in a suit. I said, “Did Slacks and Jacks have a going-out-of-business sale?” Bill laughed, then said, “Not for me, boy,” and went back to the classroom. Go on now, git!  

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