Philly friend Mike Brown looks after Temple athletes on Broad Street
Philly friend - (Written in 2018) Mike Brown, 59, a father of four and grandfather of eight, works for Allied Universal, a security company, a subcontractor for Temple University. Mike grew up in Philly and went to the Parkway School – no walls – think of it as a different field trip every day. He then lived in Clarksville, Tenn., before moving back to Philly. He works at the new Temple Sports Complex at North Broad Street and Girard Avenue. Admission to games, lacrosse in the spring and field hockey and soccer in the fall, is free, but you don’t just walk in to hang out; it is a venue to watch college athletics. “The students' lives are in my hands, and I take my job seriously,” Mike said. Most security types work on a tough look, but Mike is the congenial friendly guy who learns everyone's name because he honestly cares. “Mike is great,” said my granddaughter Anna, adding, “I just love him.” I missed the first Temple game this year and Mike asked Anna, “Where’s Fredman? I was looking forward to seeing him,” adding, “I check him out on Facebook all the time.” Lesson: Don’t forget to see people and engage them; it’s a gift that just keeps giving. I saw Mike in a news video earlier this week speaking by megaphone to people on Broad Street about the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m proud to know Mike, but it makes me sad that his life experience has made the moment necessary.
Pinball Wizard - I ping and pong around at the rare social gatherings I attend. On Monday, there was an outside gathering of Cape coaches and some boosters at Bluecoast in Rehoboth to thank Bob and Barb Cilento for the last 13 years. I worked hard to find a subgroup where I fit, but it didn’t happen, so I kept careening to another circle. Bob is retiring from his Cape athletic director job, leaving 25 state titles in his collapsible western mirror. Barb stays on as the school nurse at the high school, not for the money, more for the funny – she just enjoys being around the kids. Mark D’Ambrogi spoke, then Bob, and there was no way I wasn’t saying something. In a weird way, I bounced the ball off the backboard and made it about me by celebrating Bob and all the coaches, saying, “You can judge the character of a person by the company they keep. Bob and I are buddies, which makes me feel pretty good about myself. In fact, my wife Susan says, ‘You become good friends with the best people; that must make you feel good.” In the colleges I strafed as a student, I was instant friends with the craziest and funniest people on campus. I’m wondering if that is still happening. I’ve seen coaches come then go then come back and go again while I’m still bouncing around waiting for the Fred machine to tilt.
Help me Honda - Daddy don’t want no power washer for Father’s Day. Eight years ago on Father’s Day, I was in West Chester for a U14 girls’ lacrosse tournament. The Eastern Shore Lacrosse team was coached by my son Dave, and his daughter Lizzie was on the team. There were players from Cape, Worcester Prep, Stephen Decatur, Sussex Tech and Sts. Peter and Paul. ESLC came within a goal of winning the tournament. During a game, a girl from Peter and Paul said to her coach, “It’s a shame, Mr. Frederick, you have to be 100 miles from home up here coaching us on Father’s Day.” Dave said, “Guys don’t care about Father’s Day.” “They don’t?” she asked. “No, just ask him,” he said, pointing at me. “Who’s he?” “That’s my dad.”
Silver Anniversary - Jordan Brown was a player on that 2012 ESLC team. Her parents Ed and Maureen were there. It had been 25 years since they met at West Chester University. Where I come into the story is I brought Eddie to West Chester in 1987. Jordan learned that without my foresight and E-ZPass, she may never have existed. We all walk the planet by accidental happenstance.
Scott Abraham - Sometimes the guy who seems too congenial to be real and the guy who remembers your name, the unrelenting nice guy untarnished by success, is just that guy. Scott Abraham was an impact player when he was sports director at WBOC. He was destined to move along the extension ladder of success, but he hasn’t forgotten any of the muppets from his Eastern Shore days. Scott was recently promoted to sports anchor at WJLA in Washington, D.C. Local sports fans at Sesame Street by the Sea are ready to declare Honorary Muppet Status on Scott.
Snippets - Cape football coach J.D. Maull has been teaching physical education at Mariner the last two years. Coach is being assigned to the high school for the 2020 school year. Most coaches of all sports recognize the importance of teaching in the building where they coach, and that is especially true for football with its large and diverse roster. Cape has never had a state championship-winning head boys’ or girls’ lacrosse coach – 18 state titles – who taught in the high school building, for whatever that’s worth. George Pepper and Tim Bamforth represent about 10 state titles won by a coach not in the high school building. You may conclude from the data that a head coach being in the building has little to do with the success of an athletic program. But football guys are less homogenous, with more alpha dogs off the chain. I know, I’ve been there and had three sons who played football. The helmets are hard and the heads are harder. The mission is, “Get to the game on Friday night.” Every football coach knows what I’m talking about. Players take lots of interventions and interactions during the school day, and sometimes sit-down counseling sessions. Go on now, git!