Saturday morning packed with three Pop Warner games and clouds of rain
It’s Eclectic! Boogie Woogie - A Cape Vikings Pop Warner tripleheader versus Smyrna at Legends Stadium Sept. 2 was a community coalescing of cultures. All aspects of the pinwheel were spinning around. A kaleidoscope of colors and people from all walks of life who invest time in children. I may have been the oldest guy in the stadium - it’s happening a lot - but so many coaches and parents came by and said, “Thanks for coming, Fredman. We really appreciate you being here.” Jami texted me from the concession stand, “I see you are here. Let me know what you want and we’ll run it out to you.” The game and a half I watched were great - it’s real football. The kids don’t generate enough torque to hurt each other, and they are coached up on every play. Smyrna brought enough canopies to open a SUNY outlet store in the mall. Motions and offside infractions were mostly ignored, but holding seemed to be a popular call. The day I call a 7-year-old for holding, it will be followed by, “Let go of my leg. What do you want?” But all joking aside, I saw an early season practice when the kids didn’t know much, and now they are football players and nobody is investing all that practice time to not win games. There is an all-play rule, much more complicated than Little League baseball, because there are so many kids. The big question is does Pop Warner participation translate into success in high school? What about middle school? Should my son play Pop Warner or play for his middle school team? I can respond, most definitely, that I don’t know, but what I do know is that quality time spent being on a team and learning a sport is invaluable, and the Cape Pop Warner Vikings are doing right by kids, who play it back by being inspiring little people and funny without trying to be.
Wheelman - I was in North Philly for the Temple lacrosse banquet Sept. 1, a driver and grandfather, there to support Anna and Lizzie and Taylor Gooch. Bo and Dawn were there to support their Taylor, who is in her third year, is on the dean’s list, majoring in kinesiology, and I guarantee you, Bo has no idea what that is all about. Temple lacrosse holds a banquet the fall following the spring season, so the outgoing seniors and incoming freshman can be there together. On the way in, I saw a shirtless, graying man with long dreadlocks walking by 9th and Diamond streets carrying a sledgehammer on his shoulder. I thought, “Big hammer, no truck” would make a good reggae song. Lizzie’s class all got varsity jackets with letters. I have a varsity letter sweater from Temple from 1965. I gave it to my girlfriend, then married her because she wouldn’t give it back. That is a great story, a 52-year family gap in Temple varsity letters, except I didn’t get to talk. It wasn’t on the program. What am I, a photographer or a player? Afterward, I drove Anna over to West Philly on the Penn campus where she is living then back to Lewes to process photos then off to the Last Blast Prediction Run the next morning. I stopped at the Pop Warner trilogy at Legends Stadium afterward in time for a Tiny Mites game and half of Mighty Mites, but bailed on Junior Pee Wees. I just ran out of stamina. Glenn “Pop” Warner was a Temple football coach. I took a picture of his picture Friday night. Then Saturday, Notre Dame football poured it on Temple, and that made me mad. Notre Dame costs $67,000 a year and low-end SATs scores are like 1350. That’s a quarter-million-dollar free education, and I can’t speak to 1350 SATs and football players, but if there are five out of 90 players, I’d be surprised.
Cheerleaders - Each Pop Warner team has its own group of cheerleaders that practice and learn routines, including pyramids, cartwheels, coordinated choreography and the actual cheers themselves. Some people like to argue that cheerleaders are not athletes, but it’s football that has unskilled positions. Cheerleaders need to be coached up and held to high standards; when they are, they become athletes. Ever see Delaware’s squad? They are insane. There isn’t a football player that could make that team.
Snippets - I covered the Seashore Striders Last Blast Prediction Run 5K Sept. 2, followed by the Races2Run End of Summer 5K Sept. 3. The September calendar is loaded with races and a triathlon, and, of course, fall is the marathon season. It’s hard to live here and stay fat, as everybody seems to be on a diet or into some fitness regimen. Congratulations to local runner Michelle Peeling, who is entering her 30th year teaching senior English at Indian River High School, for being named Delmarva Teacher of the Year. My wife Susan was a high school English teacher, but never made my column; although, many people swear she wrote it. Go on now, git!