Road races and classrooms feature people and life stories

September 19, 2023

Race to the top - Road races are like classrooms and sports teams. Everyone has a backstory to tell, but no one is there for a Dr. Phil moment of revelation and reconciliation. I know as a teacher and coach, I was always interested in the personal history of students and athletes to show them I actually cared about who they were, and I was privileged to share their world and maybe help them on their journey.

How many stories were at the starting line on Saturday for the Ronald McDonald House? I talked to a grandfather who lost a grandson to cancer 13 years earlier. He was a tough dude yet cried when he related the story. He had lots of family members in the race, some younger than 13; they move on but they don’t forget. The flip side is broken families that are walking around in the same area code but don’t do anything to support one another. And that is its own special kind of sadness.

Fanboys - I am a fan of the 2023 Baltimore Orioles but I’m not an Orioles fan. I’m also a fan of the Dallas Cowboys but was never a Cowboys fan. And I’ll apply the same logic to the Boston Celtics. I appreciate them when they are good and doubly appreciate it when the Cowboys and Celtics are bad, but I never ginned up any bad feelings toward the Orioles. And I’m not trying to make any sense – just ask anyone who ever tried to teach me or invite me into a service club. Speaking of young male fans at girls’ volleyball and field hockey games, it’s OK to be  enthusiastic while cheering loudly, but you shouldn’t sound like a wounded animal from the deep woods while deriding officials and visiting players. I concur with the observation that actual accomplished athletes who have experienced the discipline it takes to be on a team don’t rock mean commentaries from the sanctuary of the stands. 

Chairman of the board - I walked into the Cape football coaches’ office 10 minutes after the 56-0 win over Delcastle Sept. 15. They were all sitting in metal folding chairs seriously looking back over the game while talking about practice plans leading up to the next game at Lake Forest. I interjected into the stale air, “You are all on the record, so continue on as if I weren't here.” A coach got up and gave me his chair; it wasn’t my son Jack or my nephew Mike, but rather my buddy Dwight [Tingle]. Coach Dwight and I go way back, sharing the sanctuary of the postgame locker room. Somber and steady, win or lose, that is the way good coaches roll.  

Snippets - Tuesday, Sept. 19, it’s Cape versus the Polytech Panthers Day. Field hockey plays at unbeaten Poly, 3-0, at 4 p.m. on the Bermuda grass. Cape volleyball will host Poly (1-2) at 5:15 while soccer hosts the 4-0 Panthers at 6:30. Salisbury University football lost to Johns Hopkins 42-7. The lone touchdown for the Gulls was scored on a long pass to Jaden Davis, who rushed for 145 yards on 17 carries. The academic profile of the typical Johns Hopkins student coming out of high school is a 3.9 GPA and 1450 SAT score. The question I have is, “Where do they find these people who can expect to pay $80K per year, as DIII schools offer no athletic scholarships?” Middle school sports start this week. If you are a grandparent, prepare to bring a comfortable chair and a journal for your grandchild to sign, giving you credit for showing up. Cape football and track athlete Maurki James has committed to DI Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., of the Sun Belt Conference for football. Katie Kuhlman ran 25:21 for a 6K, a 6:48 mile pace, for the University of Delaware at the Virginia Tech Invitational. Lehigh University cross country defeated Lafayette 18-41. Ryan Baker ran 25:35 for an 8K (approx. 5 miles), placing in the top 10 for his team. The winning time was 24:52. Launch angle, a term to describe a baseball coming off the bat, could also apply to tacklers launching themselves into the offensive guys who have the ball. “No fear” is the football player’s mantra; the flipside is, “Hesitation will get you hurt.” Watching all the games Sunday afternoon on the  Red Zone channel, I just wondered, “Why are NFL players so amped?” The players’ union talks about safety concerns but let's also discuss human aggression delivered by big, strong, fast people. I was concussed in 1965 playing for Temple, then went to the sidelines and broke into a medley of Four Tops songs including “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” and “Bernadette”; you just know that ain’t good for you. Go on now, git!       

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