Runners and wrestlers are a tough breed who go at it alone

December 11, 2018

Crash cart - Ron Carpenter, 69, of Hudson, Mont. (not the 6-foot-7 Cape basketball guy from the ’70s), ran a 3:49 marathon and crossed into the finish chute with a bloodied face. “He fell at mile five,” said half-marathoner Meaghan Nana-Sinkam. “I had a washcloth and bottle of water in my drop bag and helped clean him up after the race. He was more interested in his daughter and granddaughter, who also ran.” They had different last names, so in my world they remain lost.

Dog on the run - Tim Pfluger, 40, an elementary school teacher from Schwenksville, Pa., ran the marathon in 3:02:30. He crossed the finish line with his dog Ripp on a leash. Tim Bamforth and I just looked at each other and shrugged, not about to go off yelling, “That dog could trip somebody or bite someone (like me)!” Ripp is a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever and had only run 100 yards. “My wife handed him off to me about 100 yards from the finish,” Pfluger said. “He and everyone around loved seeing him finish with me.” Tim trains with a local tri club, the Spring Valley Gators.

Left at the altar - I spoke with Donna Randone before the start of the Saturday races. I simply asked, ”Where’s Mr. Santa?” She said, “I don’t know. Today is our 36th wedding anniversary. The day we were married, he never said his vows; he just stood there. Maybe this is his way of leaving me at the altar.” Donna and Michael Randone finished the half marathon in 3:35 and seemed “so happy together.” Takes a sense of humor over time to make a relationship work.

Holla back yo - Grandmom Rose: “If someone yells at you for bad reasons or to offer advice or words of encouragement, you should yell back. It’s guaranteed they will respond, “Why are you yelling?” During the indoor sports season, I hear lots of yelling from coaches, most in the category of helpful, not critical. Still, it’s the athlete who is out on the mat or the basketball court, not some washed-up coach. There is a place for the firebrand coach, and some are effective, I’m sure. I once took the bench during a basketball game, telling an assistant coach, “If you know what I should do every time I touch the ball, why don’t you go out there and do it?”

Wrestlers and runners - Both are individual efforts, and often a team score is kept. I got a heavy dose of both last weekend with wrestlers at the Milford Invitational and runners at the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon. At these events, I mostly say nothing, just take photos and keep my size 8 head on a swivel in case something unusual or interesting happens in my area code. Wrestlers and runners learn how to reach down inside and give that extra effort. They are athletes who can handle the pain without sharing the blame. Outside of their sports lives, I have found them to be confident people.

Semester make or break - All giddiness and proud momma and poppa stuff aside, this is semester break time for college kids and a moment of reckoning when grades arrive home. Parents should never take their kids’ word on grades: “Show me the transcript so I don’t throw good money after bad.” When young college students knock down good grades, the rest falls into place, at least most of the time. At the Santa 5K finish line Dec. 9, Pete Hayes asked Emily Farrell, “Do you know where you’re going to college and what you’re going to major in?” I said to Pete, “She’s a 15-year-old sophomore at Sussex Academy.” Emily’s dad Brian offered, “She’s not there yet.” I added, “I was there, and I wasn’t there yet.” Matriculating and marauding young men on athletic scholarships should be tracked on GPS, making sure they go to class so the best of times doesn’t result in the worst of times.

Snippets - Any Philly fans standing up and spelling “EAGLES” this week? Redskins get whooped by the Giants and Ravens give back a game to Kansas City they had in the bag. But the big story on Action News is Miami in desperation mode going pass and double lateral to beat the Patriots. The NFL athletes are too freakishly good and situationally dumb to be coached in the final minutes of games. Just take off the headphones and watch it happen. Go on now, git!

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter