Satchels and gym bags hold cameras and crackers

No fans in stands has its upside
March 2, 2021

Satchel days - Back in my day, which was last Sunday and 900 moons ago, we athletes carried everything we needed in our satchels – later called gym bags. We certainly never carried luggage on wheels with a retractable handle. I was on a two-day Big House lockdown Feb. 27-28 taking wrestling photos. Even the old-timers greeted me with a gasp, “You’ve been doing this a long time,” and that is true, but carrying crackers, bananas, protein bars and bottled water along with an extra camera and my own chair ... that is new. I introduced myself to new DIAA Director Donna Polk: “I’m Fredman,” and she said, “I know. Everyone knows who you are,” which definitely is not true. I always say, “I’m the sports person in Delaware who knows the most people who don’t know him back.” Anyway, I offered my appreciation to Donna and all the administrative players with actual responsibilities for miraculously getting the indoor sports seasons to happen. And now I have to find an opening on my calendar to get my Moderna booster shot. I'll have to check my satchel to see if I stuck a shot of vaccine under a second pair of socks.

Upside of down - The two days of DIAA open tournament wrestling across six mats produced the largest number of competitors in state tournament history. The rounds moved quickly and, in fact, had to be slowed down to allow wrestlers the required recovery time. In many ways, no fans over two days of qualifying was a good thing; the first seven weight classes grappled on Saturday and the next seven on Sunday. Eight wrestlers per weight class advance to championship Wednesday, where all eight will be recognized as state placers. Each wrestler had to submit names for a guest list, as limited spectators will be permitted. There were a few moms at the weekend matches, but they were all wearing security shirts. 

Angst but no thanks - I was on the sideline in 2013 after Cape girls’ lacrosse beat Tower Hill 12-10 for their fifth straight state championship. A couple of dads of younger players shrugged their shoulders and said, “C'mon, Fredman, what was that all about? We were lucky to win that game.” Cape had beaten Tower Hill two weeks earlier 13-5. “What it was all about was a win in a state final,” I said. “It’s tough to put the trophy on the bus. I don’t care if Fred Harvey or Ralph Kramden is driving it.” I’m hearing the same question in 2021 after Cape’s unbeaten girls’ team beat Woodbridge 37-36 to win the Henlopen Conference Championship. It’s about a championship is what it’s about. The players get it, reflecting the confidence of the coaches. Let the second season begin. It is about to get real. Coaches play them “one game at a time,” but veteran columnists look down the road. If Cape beats the winner of Sussex Academy at St. Georges on Wednesday, they will host the winner of Lake Forest at Woodbridge on Friday. Delmarva Christian looms as a spoiler in the girls’ tournament.   

Wackadoodle - I would never pencil the Cape boys’ basketball team in for a win nor would I count them out of any game. The Vikings have components that sometimes synchronize. It certainly has been a disjointed season, but they could go to William Penn Tuesday and steal a win. Their reward would be to play at Howard on Thursday night. William Penn is coached by Gary Lumpkin and William ‘Tail’ Davis, two athletes who know all about showtime. The Colonials are 5-8. Rostered players are each allowed two spectators. 

Snippets - The collegiate spring sports season also includes some football and hockey games, and I’d be confused if I were more interested. The University of Delaware will allow limited media to their spring home games and no photographers on the field. You have to shoot from the stands like somebody’s uncle who got a camera for Christmas. Spring sports practices have begun. Athletes coming from a winter sport are entitled to days off (unwritten rule), but few frontliners want days off; they had enough last spring when The Rona was Rocking in the Free World. Go on now, git!   


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