Rudeness is a self-reflection, revealing lameness of character
Punks and perspective - Davey Fred, the Inclusion Kid, is a bona fide player on the high school wrestling scene. He is a Cape kid, but everyone inside the sport knows him. Wrestlers bond through a shared warrior mentality. It is a trial by fire – earned respect, sportsmanship is the way it ought to be. Davey saw his friend Hank D’Ambrogi win a tough three-period match and had to go get him afterward. It was just natural. Later, Mikey, my grandson who wrestles at 145, was on the bottom grappling with his friend Tim O’Hara. A front-row, pretty fit-looking dude who missed the sportsmanship lessons the sport emphasizes, yelled, “C’mon, Tim, he’s a fish. He doesn’t want to wrestle; just turn him and pin him.” That type of commentary is lame on so many levels, and former athletes who do that I guarantee have no trophies in the bonus room of their rental property.
Old-fashioned Philly win - The Eagles’ overtime Monday night slog through the bog was quintessential Philly tough, like a day-old soft pretzel in the middle of winter. The upside of the downside of social media is you get to read reactions from people who wouldn’t know a stoop from a park bench, saying, “The Eagles suck anyway. They had to go to overtime to beat the Giants.” I’m impressed, but not surprised, that the entire Manning family flew to Philly to watch Eli perform, and a part of me was rooting for the guy because he doesn’t need the money, just needs to be that guy, the same guy he’s always been.
Wrestling women - Emily Thode, a Milford freshman, wrestled varsity at 106, leading off the match versus Cape Dec. 11. Brooklyn Grant, a sophomore, wrestled a JV match. Both girls are skilled and fit and are no joke. After all matches ended, I was talking to Cole Pavlik, a Milford teacher who ran on a state championship cross country team at Cape and whose sister Jenna wrestled for Cape and later became the head coach at Woodbridge. Jenna is now out in Big Sky Country in Montana. “Whenever I have a wrestling question, I just text Jenna,” Cole told me. Jenna coached two state champions in heavyweight Dom Pierce in 2016 and 152-pounder Willie Davis in 2014. In fact, Pierce lifted coach Jenna and carried her around the mat. I have a question. I’ve read that wrestling for girls (women) is all about pent-up demand. Schools in Jersey and Pennsylvania are fielding teams. There is a scattering of girls throughout the state who are on boys’ teams. But can pioneers be blazing the same trail for 20 years over two generations?
Comparing scores and records - Here’s a sports cliché, “You just never know.” Except most times you do know who is going to win, and therefore, who is going to lose. The liftoff to the high school basketball season has been whack, with teams losing games by 40 or 50 points and other teams not reaching double digits in a four-quarter game; then those same teams come back and beat somebody else. I’m not a plumber, but basketball seems to be in a state of flux right now. Most of the players show up on game day in the off-season unless they have networked into the AAU scene. They just don’t play, just no place to get game except open gym, which is not as much fun as shooting a weathered ball and hearing it clank through a chain net.
Snippets - You know that sound of rusted gears rotating? That is Fred Pop with his head on a swivel and a Nikon camera strap choking off the neural pathways to his fingers. Tia Jarvis, footloose and fancy free, flew around the track at the Worcester Rec Center Dec. 11 in 43.6 seconds, pushing up against the school-record 43.4 of Alia Marshall. Next field hockey season expect to see Tia unleashed; she is a weapon in waiting. Dogs are outlaws like Josey Wales and therapy vests can be purchased online. I’m thinking of getting one for Darby, except he’s a situational idiot just like me. Transition: Just too many dogs in road races; you don’t see Billy the Beagle running a 5K. Go on now, git!