Relentless racers push the envelope at Tuesday night open track

No fees, no trophies
July 22, 2022

Nobody gets a trophy - Tuesday night’s open track meet at Cape “looked like fun,” said the man in the blue chair. Young kids to senior striders were so jazzed that some ran every event. I suggested to some grown men that running the 1,600-400-800 triple was just insane, and if I made my track athletes of the ’70s do that, they would have either revolted or grabbed a hamstring and complained about pulled groin. But it was just the joy of being out there with no trophies and no banners to carry around, just competition for its own sake. Track and field remains the purest of all sports. 

Chummy dummies - Cape football (9-1) was playing at Newark in the first round of the state tournament back in 1998. I saw a Cape player over by the fence being coached up by some blockhead I didn’t recognize. I went over and told the player to get back with his team and told the coach from another program not to talk to Cape players during a game, and if he didn’t know not to break that protocol then he wasn’t any kind of coach no way anyway. Fast forward to the 2022 MLB All-Star Game where mic'd up players are talking to the media during the game. There used to be a professional standard called equal access, which the national media has trampled upon. Not too long ago, fraternization during the game was discouraged by MLB and NFL because it gave the impression the players weren’t serious enough about the game and the long-standing rivalries that rabid fans have carried since the days of AM radio broadcasts. Don't get me started on statcast and exit velocities.

Talented and tough - “Does the name Ruby Begonia mean anything to you?” George “Kingfish” Stevens. How about Ruby Leps? I started to notice Ruby running in 5K races, then on Tuesday, at the everyone-is-welcome track night at Legends Stadium, I photographed Ruby as she competed in every event. The next day, July 20, Ruby turned 8 years old. Can anyone remember how they saw the world when they were 8? I didn't know what planet I was on. I just knew the Immaculate Heart nuns couldn’t decide if I was a “bold brazen article” or worse, just a simple sneak. Ruby ran 31:18 at Sunday’s Degnan 5K, which means 51 runners were beaten by a 7-year-old girl. I remember walking out of a youth wrestling tournament 40 years ago and asking myself, “Just how tough are these people?” Kids don’t play around when they get serious. 

Keep an eye out - WBOC meteorologist Mike Lichniak uttered the first words I heard Wednesday morning as a prelude to the heat wave that was about to slide in for five days like a turkey in a convection oven. “Keep an eye on the elderly and the pets.” I am an elderly person who is also a pet to many muppets who pat me and hug me before sharing their stories. When former student Mandy Manship was a substitute secretary at Beacon a few years ago, she suggested I would make a good therapy dog. I would do it over coffee. The idea is not too far-fetched, but I ain’t wearing no bandana. The elderly and the pets would make a great planet or country song. 

Good hydrations - Anyone with a history of serious workouts in the high heat outside or inside with air conditioning knows that no two days are the same, and some days, body acclimation just can’t keep up. Those are the days when you find a cool place to sit, then drink some water and stay down because if your homeostatic balance gets tilted, you may not be able to self-correct. We’ve all got stories, so stay safe.     

Snippets - Mason Fluharty’s first roster spot in baseball was with the Blue Jays of Lewes Little League when he was 9 years old. Circle the diamond and last week, the Cape and Liberty University lefty was drafted in the fifth round by the Toronto Blue Jays and has already signed and been assigned. Mason is now playing Rookie A ball in Dunedin, Fla. Cape baseball players who were drafted or signed minor league contracts include Benny Wiltbank (15th round, Pirates), Obie Maull (26th, Orioles), Brian Mifflin (free agent, Mets), Tyler Townsend (third round, Orioles) and Zack Gelof (second round, Athletics). Former UD catcher John Schneider (2000-02)  has been named Toronto Blue Jays interim manager for the remainder of the season. Joining coach Steve Re’s basketball staff for 2022-23 are Kevin Larkin and Ben Ashby. Larkin played at Sussex Tech and Niagara. He will have the JDG position at the high school. The last two seasons of covering wrestling have been amazing, with Cape capturing consecutive Division I state titles and Mikey Fred (145) and Lucas Ruppert (285) winning individual titles in 2022. I plan to be back at it this upcoming season to support coaches, and I expect another great team. Go on now, git! 


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