Runners and racers don’t give up position without a fight

John Robinson is a soccer official and former NHL ref
November 3, 2017

Better two too late than never - Runners Lizhet Patraca of Indian River and Haylie Cox of Delmar doubled down the 5K winning time of Cape’s Olivia Brozefsky, 20:01 to 44:19 at the Sussex County Cross Country Championships Oct. 31. The athletes trailed the field early, but they hung tough like wolverines on leather work boots. The boys’ then girls’ results became data entries into the laptop computer. All except for IR and Delmar. The best race finish of the afternoon commenced a signature signing off of Championship Tuesday. Two athletes raced each other to the finish line in “no way, not today,” focused fury. I sprang from my blue chair fearing I may get plowed and harvested like feed corn. I focused myself for the game-day photo finish. I asked veterans at the finish line, “Was that just crazy or more inspirational?” They all said, “Go with inspirational.” I know it meant something to me, a guy who has waited for the last runner to cross the finish line a thousand times. I’m inspired by everyone, front to back and in between, so thanks, girls. Thanks from all of us. Who won? Look it up! Ironically, it doesn’t matter to me, but it sure as heck mattered to them.

Simpler times - I was sitting on the back bumper of my 4Runner prior to the Sussex Country Cross Country Championships at Sussex Tech Oct. 31, when Zach Simpler came over. I snapped his photo on approach. "Sorry for your loss, Fredman," he said. I have no idea what Zach misses in the classroom and life in general; I just know he gets all the important things. He ran 26:07 for his 5K and beat some runners coming down the straightaway toward the finish chute. The high school crew gives up no positions without a fight.

Christmas card - Big lens and tight focus, the photographers’ version of, big hat no cattle. I framed, focused and snapped an image of the middle school soccer official Nov. 1 at Legends Stadium, saying, “Christmas Card Ref.” He answered, “I could tell you a story, but I’m busy.” Then he chased the ball to the other end of the field. The official is John Robinson and everyone - OK, two people - agreed that he is such a nice guy. Anna Moshier, the homeroom mother of all soccer moms, told me that John is a retired NHL referee. Robinson looks like he could’ve wrestled a fighting skater to the ice or a middle school soccer player to the pitch. 

Did you get that? Doing a sports photo assignment, I can easily snap off 700 to 1,000 photos. But anytime a player makes a circus catch for a touchdown, like Cape’s Terry Day, No. 82, did Oct. 30 in a JV game versus Cape, then comes up to me and asks, “Did you get that? Did you get my catch?” it’s uncanny how often the answer is “maybe” followed by excuses as the player laments, “Man, Fredman be messing up.” 

Rocking and rolling - Downstate Delaware is one of the few places where a field hockey conversation can break out at another sports venue. At the Sussex County Cross Country Championships Oct. 31, the subject of Delmar’s dominating 15-0 field hockey season came up. I just added, “They will rock your world all day long and be cool about it, wearing dark sunglasses and orange uniforms.” The Cats scored in the double digits seven times over 15 games. But when they beat Cape 6-3 after 12 straight losses to the Vikings, they were totally cool about it, almost subdued. Their mission is to close out the season with another championship. Cape and Delmar will have a joint practice Tuesday, Nov. 7, at Cape. Tower Hill is also unbeaten. They’re coached by Robin Adair, so don’t sleep on the Hillers, who were running the triangle offense long before the NBA tried to get three of five players to cooperate.

Snippets - The last home football game of the season is set for Friday night, Nov. 3, as Cape hosts Dover. It’s a pair of pretty talented teams sitting on two-win seasons. The great thing about sports is there is always the next opportunity. Look how the Houston Astros fought back from 100-loss seasons to become World Series champions. Cape will honor 13 seniors before the football game. Congrats to the Mariner field hockey team for finishing the season undefeated 11-0 under coaches Lyn Shoop and Hannah Pepper. A bunch of athletes will sign letters of intent or discontent, not sure how all that works, across college divisions Wednesday, Nov. 8. It’s a signing day, and I will be in the Cape rotunda to capture the magic. Go on now, git!