Sam Connors is the Crouching Tiger of Cape hockey

September 20, 2019

Corners for Connors - Sophomore Samantha Connors is the inserter on corners for the Cape field hockey team. Sam is a smooth player, a technician and middie in the middle of the ebb and flow of the game. She plays with whisper-jet stealth and efficiency. Cape has been awarded 60 corners this season through four games, while the team has scored 17 goals, and not all on corners. Corners can kill you, from the ones you don’t make to the ones you don’t stop. I have asked field hockey coaches over the years, what is a good conversion rate on corners? They always look back at me like, “This guy has no idea what he’s talking about.” The answer is usually, “Every corner should result in a goal.” And my response is, “Yeah, well, it don’t!” Connors is in that inserter position because she can go Crouching Tiger and send a straight, easy-to-handle pass to the curved stick of the Hidden Dragon on the circle who’s supposed to receive it. Hockey dads don’t like extra passes on corners; you can often hear them yelling, “Shoot the ball!” 

I think we won - The girls’ quad meet cross country race at Sussex Central with invited guests Cape, Caesar Rodney and Indian River was half over. The top seven runners for Cape and Caesar Rodney had finished. I asked overall first-place winning runner freshman Katie Kuhlman, “Did you guys win?” “I don’t know. I think so, I mean. I’m pretty sure,” Katie said before hugging her Grandma Marie. The win was four levels beyond humongous. The Cape girls hadn’t beaten Caesar Rodney in 10 years. I wanted to blast it into the void of cyberspace. But if I was wrong, it would be more “Fredman is getting daffy” jokes, so like a bishop’s slap in the face, I needed confirmation. I asked coach Matt Lindell, “Did the girls win?” “I’m pretty sure,” he answered. I waited another 10 minutes until all athletes in different-colored jersey were in yellow buses. Then I asked assistant coach Rob Perciful, and he told me he was pretty sure the scores were Cape girls over CR 21-39 and CR boys over Cape 23-33. No word by next morning on official scores, but that is the sport of cross country, lots of data yet super chilled. They need a spinner spreader to get the word out. 

My Best Friend’s Girl - A highly skilled tile guy named James was working at my house Tuesday morning. He asked me, “You take pictures of sports, right? Did you take pictures at that Cape field hockey game last night? My best friend’s daughter was playing.” “Yes, I did. What is her name?” “I don’t know,” James said. “How about your friend, what is his last name?” “I don’t know,” James said. And now we all don’t know. 

Chair jokes - So many years ago, Mike Betins (aka Lumpy) had been thrown out of class by coach George Pepper for going John Candy with comedic commentary too many times. Mike arrived at my doorway. “Coach Pepper is wrong, Fredman. He threw me out of class and told me to go to the office and sit in a couple of chairs.” “That’s a good one,” I said. And Mike responded, “I have to admit, that is pretty good.” Mike had been to the edge of the cliff with health issues the last couple of years; some weird infection almost ate him up, but he is bouncing back and remains a lovable character. Monday at the JV game, I heard a voice from beyond the fence, “Hey, old man. Nice blue chair. You need a chair now?” Mike’s son Ryan Betins is a freshman tackle on the football team. I know Ryan from seeing him wrestle at Beacon. He has developed into a good football player. “He talks to Lucas [Ruppert] a lot about what he should do,” Mike said. Lucas Ruppert, a sophomore and heavyweight wrestler, shows up on game day and, according to coach J.D. Maull, is Cape’s best lineman. That’s the Linemen for Life Club, always taking care of each other. 

Snippets - New Jersey wrestling referee Alan Maloney received a two-year suspension as a result of the outcry last season when he gave wrestler Andrew Johnson of Buena Regional High School the option of cutting off several inches of his dreadlocks or forfeiting the match. The video of a ponytailed manager cutting Johnson’s hair went viral, prompting discussion on all kinds of issues, from dreads to surfer-dude hairstyles. During the era of Danny Ozark managing the Phillies (1973-79), the Phils were behind by four games with three to play. Ozark said, “We’re not out of it yet.” The 2019 Phillies are three games behind the Brewers and Cubs for the final wild card spot with 12 games left to play. “It ain’t over until it’s over!” Go on now, git! 


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