People you don’t know are never surprised to see you
Hover like a mother - Susan and I rolled north through Hockessin to West Grove, Pa., Wednesday afternoon to catch a Cape boys’ lacrosse scrimmage between Cape and Avon Grove High School. No one was surprised to see us because barely anyone knew us in the first place. The Avon Grove Red Devils are part of a high school of about 1,800 students, with a super-nice campus and nice kids to go with it. Avon Grove lit up Cape early, as the Vikings couldn't penetrate the goalie defense. Susan, with greater insight than her sportswriter husband, said on the way home, “I couldn't tell in the first quarter if that goalie was really good or Cape’s shooting and shot selection was poor.” I added, “Wearing practice jersey numbers that didn’t match helmets, I couldn’t tell who anyone was and who was playing where.” “Was No. 1 Mikey, marauding the midfield? I picked up Hank being Hank, and Jack Schell, then finally zeroed in on Joe Coveleski, and figured out Cody Trivets was No. 4 on his jersey and No. 16 on his helmet.” Cape scrimmages at Annapolis Friday, then travels to John Carroll Tuesday before opening the regular season at home Monday, March 28, at 4:30 p.m., hosting Episcopal Academy. “We made some pretty typical errors in the clearing game that are common in the early season,” said coach Mark D'Ambrogi. “Some guys were getting their first taste of varsity experience.”
HIPAA rules and sports - Any athlete who goes down hurt in practice, a scrimmage or a game and misses significant time or an entire season is of special interest to me, but people in positions of medical assistance don’t confide in sportswriters. HIPAA protection of information between a patient and medical professional applies across all sports and all levels. But it’s also true that if you stand in one spot long enough, someone will come by and open a conversation with, “Have you heard about?” And you will get the full injury report on everything they know. The number of injuries this spring on Cape’s campus has been alarming in many ways; the non-contact injuries involving ligaments, tendons and hamstrings are the worst. Concussions at least leave the body parts intact, except for that pesky brain rattling. Injuries that take the player out of the sport require constant support and counseling so they know they remain part of the team every single day.
Boardwalk Muppets - I was a ripped, fit 18-year-old athlete walking down the Atlantic City Boardwalk on Easter Sunday in 1965. A kaleidoscope of colors and characters, a spectrograph of all ages and levels from peak fitness to debilitating physical conditions before walkers saved the tennis ball industry, and joint replacements assured ambulation into the reclining years. I thanked God for the diverse wonderment of it all, adding, “I’ll stay the guy I am, but I certainly appreciate all these other people.” Tuesday night at the field hockey ring ceremony, I was surprised with a birthday cake and happy birthday song from the field hockey girls. Lori Voss announced my age as 29 – everyone laughed – and I really did have something in my eye, in case anyone thought my 76-year-old Fruity Pop Pop self was crying.
March Madness - The NCAA wrestling championships begin this weekend. The University of Pennsylvania has qualified a school-record nine grapplers to the tournament. Ralph Baird, head basketball coach of the 1975 and 1976 state championship Cape teams, still takes personal days on the Thursday and Friday opening days of the NCAA tournament even though he retired 30 years ago. The Randolph Macon Yellow Jackets (31-1) basketball team, with Ian Robertson (Cape) at forward, will face Marietta at 5 p.m., Friday, in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III tournament. The Friday winner will face the winner of Wabash and Elmhurst Saturday night for the national championship.
Snippets - It used to be called the rubber chicken circuit; now it’s just the banquet season. March 20 is the Cape state championship wrestling banquet, and April 10 is the field hockey banquet. Both are Sunday morning at the Baywood banquet room. The Delaware Afro American Sports Hall of Fame banquet is Saturday, April 16, at 6 p.m. at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover. And the Delaware Sports Hall Fame banquet is Thursday, May 12, at the Chase Center along the Riverfront in Wilmington. I will “get to the microphone” at three of those events, employing my wisdom, “Brevity is a virtue” and “I can tell it but I can’t sell it.” And I’ll wait for the collective crowd to mumble “Go on now, git!”