Reaching across wrestling history tying Cape community together

Truck riding with racing on the radio
March 1, 2022

Embracing the past - I saw the Brittingham boys, Eugene and Kevin, roll into the Cape Big House at 5 p.m. Saturday for the wrestling finals. It was crazy crowded. I asked Big House Billy Collick to find them the best spot, as Eugene, better known as Blue, had lost his legs to diabetes and needed accommodations. Soon after the 10th bout at 9 p.m. when Mikey Fred nailed down the 145-pound state title, I found Mikey in the wrestling room and explained, “See the plaque on the wall for Willie Vann, Cape’s first state champ in 1973? Well, his brothers are here and you need to meet them and have a photo taken for them and you and all of us.” And we sought them out. Cape eyes were tracking us: “What is Fredman up to?” Brothers of Willie “Shooby” Vann, Kevin and Blue, welcomed newest champ Magic Mikey, who walked back and visited history and embraced it. And to close out Black History Month, Cape’s first state champ Willie Vann was Afro American, as well as the next, Tyrone Gibbs, 1976 and 1977, and later Charles Turner, 1980, and Andre Currie, 2020. And Alvontae Drummond, 2013 state champ for Milford, was a coach in Mikey’s corner waiting to catch him after his match as they embraced history together. 

See World - The Cape Big House needs a portable raised platform to accommodate wheelchair-using fans who attend big sporting events. I grew up around my dad in a wheelchair, so I know all about inaccessible discomfort. We all need to do a better job taking care of each other. Once any person realizes, “It ain’t about me,” life becomes much less depressing. 

Point and counterpoint - James Harden and Joel Embiid are the best point guard-big man combination since Guy Rodgers and Wilt Chamberlain played for the Philadelphia Warriors. Rodgers was left-handed like Harden; he led the NBA in assists twice and placed second six times to Bob Cousey. Harden plays with such intelligence and finesse. He is old school in the modern era and makes all Sixers’ games must-watch events. 

Racing on the radio - I have no idea what’s going on, but I took a Sunday drive in my 17-year-old, three-quarter-ton Tundra to the Cape state park. I wanted to park at the Point and soak in some salt air, but too many tourists were obstructing my view. Do they know who I am?  Yes, nobody,  just like them. But I was listening to NASCAR radio. I just like the sound of engines in the background and the announcers rolling names off their tongues like car wheels on the open road. I’ve met professional athletes from all the sports, but for reasons unknown to me, I’m most impressed by race car drivers. And don’t ever argue they are not real athletes until you ponder that they risk it for the biscuit on every lap and never flinch. 

Beat and beat down - I’ve become a bit of a beat writer – high school wrestling – and a slightly beat-down writer, always looking for a place to park my blue chair. When I pull  up next to a mat, I look like an RV pulling into a campsite. I am a portable obstructed view machine. It is most challenging at the state wrestling tournament in my own house. Other places I go, I’m told, “You go where you want and we’ll work around you.”

Snippets - Randolph Macon men’s basketball with Ian Robertson at forward won the ODAC for the third straight year and now heads into the NCAA Division III tournament with a legit shot to win it. The Shamrock Shuffle 10-Miler and 5K run is 9 a.m., Sunday, March 6, at Cape Henlopen State Park. I’m thinking of sponsoring a Fredman invitational mile for charity and only inviting people I’m pretty sure I can beat. Trust me, the invitation itself is the flipside of flattery. Delaware Tech men’s lacrosse will play home games at DE Turf. Sean Tischler is the head coach, and Franc Cook, by way of Cape and Lynchburg University, is an assistant coach. Jack Dennis out of Cape is a midfielder for the Hawks. I’m jumping free from the hamster wheel on the Habitrail to nowhere, taking a short break until we meet again. Go on now, git! 

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