Prophet on the porch wonders ‘What’s Going On?’

June 2, 2020

Tribal elders - I have landed beyond the demographic as a lifelong teacher and writer. I represent survival from generations of cultural chaos. Two decades into the new millennium I am a slugged WP – white person – told I was born into privilege and that I can’t relate to the plight of people of color. “One tribe, one time, one planet, one race/It’s all one blood, don’t care about your face” – Black Eyed Peas. Talking about my generation, Sam Cooke wrote and sang, “A Change is Gonna Come” (1964) at the height of the civil rights movement in response to racial injustices he experienced in his own life. Sam Cooke died as a result of gun violence in Los Angeles later that year. Marvin Gaye recorded “What’s Going On,” a song inspired by an incident of police brutality in Berkeley, Calif. Marvin died on April 1, 1984, one day short of his 45th birthday. He was shot by his father during a domestic argument. Otis Redding, “The Mad Man from Macon,” recorded “Dock of the Bay” in the mid-‘60s, a song about racism in America. Redding died in a plane crash in 1967 at the age of 26. When I was an emerging child running wild on the streets of Philadelphia, I never reflected on who I wasn’t, and I think now at 74 years old, I’m pretty sure who I am and who I’m not. I am trained to pay attention – columnist  and teacher – and it’s just my nature. I’ve watched the current demonstrations turned riotous thinking of the lyrics of Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” recorded in 1970. I think in 2020, the revolution is being televised and I for one have no idea “What’s Going On.” 

Teenage Targets - You know your life is out of control when you’re looting a Target big-box store and your grandmother sees you on television. Speaking of reopening the country in phases, let’s target teenagers on sports teams and just turn them loose; it seems justified as they were the first to be shut down. Unlock the chains and open the gates and grant access to the fields. There is no proof I’m aware of that teenagers are super-susceptible to the coronavirus. Find one that tested positive and I’ll make that person Athlete of the Week. And open the track as well. All the healthy people with the self-improvement gene will show up, and they can breathe on me any time they want, even heavily for runners that have really been missing me.  

Name that dog - Susan and I married 51 years ago May 31. Our first jointly owned dog was a 1970 two-toned beagle named Maggie with a four-barrel carburetor and four-wheel drive. Puppies of the Pandemic is a human phenomenon social scientists never saw coming, just like the proliferation of the rescue network or fostering and my personal least favorite, rehoming retrievers and Rottweilers. Last year, I asked a veterinarian who may have been a vegetarian if she was aware that Delaware had an official state dog. “No, what is it?” she asked, chasing the ball. “The rescue dog,” I said, with sideways sarcasm. She responded, “Give me a break.” And I said, “Rescues make great pets and create beautiful stories, but in downstate Delaware, it’s the retriever.” Speaking of sports, the Labrador and golden retriever are the best and smartest dog athletes in the world. If your lab wears a bandanna and vest and walks at the end of a retractable leash, you are getting 40 percent of what the dog is capable of being. When I taught psychology, I did an entire unit I called Name that Dog because you can’t understand American families unless you understand how they relate to pets and religion. Amazingly, neither of those two family  mainstays  are included in textbooks – whatever they are.   

Relatable quote - An email to the Delaware Interscholastic Football Coaches Association from John Wilson, head football coach at St. George’s Tech and a learning support instructor, states, “DIFCA is in the process of creating guidelines for coaches to allow for a safe progression for the unacclimated, deconditioned athlete to start participating safely.” Finally, an athletic category that aptly describes my current condition. 

Chart stoppers - I don’t convert charts to paragraphs because I’m not afflicted with “everything in its proper place” syndrome. DIFCA is proposing to DIAA just for football – you still there? – that Delaware realign into three divisions, each of them with a North and South. Criteria taken into account are enrollment, record last three years and record last five years. The conference structure and divisional system currently in place in Delaware, a state that’s 96 miles by 39 miles, just doesn’t work well and needs streamlining,   

Snippets - Coming this Friday in the Cape Gazette, digital interviews with five Cape coaches of fall sports, including J.D. Maull, Matt Lindell, Kate Austin, Pat Kilby and Tyler Coupe. Go on now, git!  

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