Parents usually make decisions on injuries; pop pops don’t get a vote
Gangly growth phase - Coach Steve Re and I were sitting on the Beacon Middle School stage prior to Cape basketball camp talking about something that must have been profoundly important like, “What makes a tough Cape kid?” The gym was nearly empty except for a few early arrivers shooting around. Then bang bang, a body goes headfirst into the bleachers. It was my cargo, Sweet Baby James Frederick, a rising fifth-grader now into a gangly growth spurt. Re raced to him, then took James to the nurse’s office for repairs. And then he came and got me. “He has a deep gash in the back of his head. I got it to stop bleeding. What do you want to do?” I reflected back to 1996 when Bobby Leggins left the state championship game versus Howard with a bleeding scalp and returned with a bandaged head looking like a Cambodian Khmer Rouge revolutionary. James said, “I want to play basketball.” If Docs Stancofski and Sabbagh were there, they would have glued him back together like they did me after I blocked my 4Runner with the top of my head in the parking lot at a Saturday afternoon field hockey game. Fruity Pop Pop Fredman made an executive decision (crazy old guy waiver clause) to clean James’ wound, put antibiotic cream on it, slap a Band-Aid on his head and send him back out there. I’ll take the Icy Hot, formerly known as “the heat,” or atomic bomb, as they say in the film “Oppenheimer.” Note: I recount this story because mishaps and injuries are a part of the game, and tough decisions usually fall on the parents; most pop pops rarely get a vote.
Kevin Larkin - We all know the feeling of a stop and chat gone sideways because you have no idea why you have no recollection as to the identity of the person who seems to know you so well. I always joke, “I’m the sports person in Delaware who knows the most people who don’t know him back.” And it’s impolite to ask, “Just who the heck are you?” I know young Cape basketball coach and Jobs for Delaware Graduates teacher Kevin Larkin. I know his sister Dania Cannon and even his grandfather Kevin Perry, who was the Pinetown version of Kevin Garnett back in the day. Coach Steve Re told me, “I love Kevin Larkin and TT Hazzard as coaches. They bring so much to the Cape basketball program.” As an aside, I ran into 10 people I knew at Beebe hospital recently (it was like shopping at the Lewes IGA in the ’70s), but only six of them knew me back. I asked Kevin Larkin if he knew who I was – he didn’t – but after I said Fredman, he had the greatest answer, flashing his real-time intelligence: “I thought that was you.” I’m going to use that one.
The Bank went ballistic - Michael Lorenzen looks like one of the Bennett brothers pursued by Marshall Raylan Givens in the FX series “Justified.” Michael is a long, limber, athletic pitcher who threw a no-hitter Aug. 9 for the Phillies, keeping batters off balance for nine innings. His mom, wife and baby were in the stands. Mom never let go of her cellphone, even post game when the family was reunited in front of the Phillies dugout. Lorenzen is articulate and communicates like a motivational speaker. He said, “What these fans have done for Trea [Turner] is just heartwarming; shows what they are all about.” Listed under Personal Life on his Wikipedia page, it reads” “Both of Lorenzen's parents struggled with drugs and alcohol and frequently fought, with Lorenzen stating that police would show up at his house almost every single weekend." Lorenzen, 31, is described as a devout Christian, a person most Phillies fans hadn’t heard of two weeks ago but will now remember forever.
Curse of Kevin Brown - I liked the entire Baltimore Orioles story of the 2023 season until the organization suspended young announcer Kevin Brown for an on-air report. According to usatoday.com, “Brown pointed out − and an on-screen graphic reflected – that the O's were 0-15-1 in their last 16 series at Tropicana Field, and that they had won as many games there this season as they have in the previous three seasons combined.” The Orioles dropped two games to the Astros, and Brown is expected to return to work Friday in Seattle. If I were on air, I’d welcome him back to the booth as “Bambino Brown,” then I’d be gone like an Eddie Murray home run.
Snippets - Two trainers were on a Gator at football practice, Hollyann Wettstein and Ashley Schuster. I like them because they are fans of the kids and as pleasant as a late-summer breeze off Delaware Bay. Hollyann knew my connections to Cape athletics because Ashley has been schooling her with muppet flashcards, I’m guessing. Go on now, git!