Remembering coach Lou Nicoletti

Pandemic shuts down sports and beach parking lots
April 14, 2020

Happy birthday to Lou - (written Sept. 30, 2017) - There were no balloons and thankfully no singing prior to the cross country meet at Polytech Sept. 30. And don’t ask me how I know what I know because I don’t know, but I did wish Roxy Ramirez a happy birthday before her race, asking her “17 or 18?” and she answered, “Oh, I can’t run that fast.” So I clarified my question, “No, how old are you?" Roxy said, “18,” then I snapped her photo and moved on. I met coach Lou Nicoletti on the berm overlooking the start of the race. Nick is like the Italian grandfather in a sitcom. He told me he turned 66 that day, I told him it was Roxy’s birthday too. He was like, “OK.” We both agreed the older you get the less patience you have but with more insight and wisdom. We agreed it is not a good combination. Afterward, I told Lou to stay put as I was getting Roxy for a candid “once-in-a-lifetime” shared birthday photo. Roxy the runner was thrilled, saying, ‘I’m the first runner to get their picture taken with Coach Nicoletti.” Coach and athlete sharing a Sept. 30 birthday on a cross country drizzly fall afternoon with a pending hurricane in the forecast – it just doesn’t get any more memorable.

Just say whoa - I am inside the coronavirus high-risk population in terms of age group, but I have no underlying conditions unless being a smart aleck makes one more susceptible. If there is an age group most likely to get stopped and dropped by this microscopic menace, I’m glad it’s mine; otherwise, I would be worried. Legacy looking for longevity is coming behind me and long may they run; Fredman and his still-running buddies old enough to be scared have also been blessed to have circled the sun 70 times at 585 million miles per lap, a total distance of over 4 billion miles. Divide that by the 26-mile marathon number and get 153,846,153.846 marathons. Sounds like the universe was designed by Mike Wardian, the craziest ultra runner any of us locals know on a first-name basis.  

Shoo-fly pie - Temple University and Under Armour just agreed to break a 10-year, $30 million contract after five years, which allows the Owls with 19 varsity-level Division I sports to sign a new contract with industry leader Nike. Terms of the New Deal (excuse the FDR reference) were not disclosed. I thought Temple’s Under Armour uniforms across all sports were just awesome. The amazing relationship is that companies like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour outfit all the teams plus pay the university millions for the exclusive rights. Michigan secured a deal with Nike for $174 million over 15 years. If you are in an age group of political persuasion that’s been hating on Nike ever since they made Colin Kaepernick the focus of an ad campaign in 2018, the “Swoosh” remains the industry leader in sales. My issue as an athlete would be: “I’m wearing New Balance. I’ll buy them myself. It’s not in my contract to advertise any brand.”

Masked marvel - I walked Route 1 south to north in Dewey Saturday morning with a camera around my neck. I was there to pay respects to TJ Redefer and his family. Susan and Darby sat in the 4Runner in front of Dewey Beach Liquors looking like they were waiting for it to open. I recognized friends Cheryl Crowe and Roxanne, both with masks on, and each had an extra mask for me. Darby growled when I returned, and the liquor store locked the doors. 

Snippets - DIAA is making an effort to “keep hope alive” for spring sports, and I appreciate that, but looking at the data from surrounding states and the spiking of coronavirus positive cases in Delaware, it is hard to be hopeful. Fifty years ago Joni Mitchell wrote, ”They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” And now the parking lots between us and paradise are closed. You don’t need a degree in animal husbandry to know as the weather gets warmer and days get longer, people are popping out into the open and will frolic with a frenzy. And I’ll be taking pictures. I typed “Bunny” into the finder window on my iMac Easter morning to get photos of runners wearing rabbit ears and up popped Floyd Davis, known as Bunny in Coolspring. Floyd, Cape class of 1980, was a kicker and running back on the 1979 football state championship team. Go on now, git!  


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