Shut out from Silver Spring Grapple at the Brook tournament

January 18, 2022

Attack Dog Me - I went through channels like a manatee for all seasons hoping for permission to photograph the “no spectators” Grapple at the Brook Invitational Wrestling Tournament at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Md., last weekend. The host coach told Cape’s Chris Mattioni there was a countywide directive of “no media” at indoor sporting events. Was that some type of Djokovic? Once at the tournament, coach Chris sent me a photo of a Lifetouch (yearbook guy) photographer taking photos. “Mattioni is trying to unleash me, prompting me to turn into an attack dog, but I ain’t biting,” I said to Susan, who understands my position of not being an attack dog for a cause I don’t care all that much about. Photographers are slowly being phased out of relevance, and it all goes back to Napster and file sharing. Just very little depth of field is emphasized in our fast-paced, digitized society measured in bytes.     

Tuck and run - Dak Prescott is an awesome quarterback and the Cowboys’ finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. He was at the College World Series last spring supporting his alma mater Mississippi State. He’s one of five children of Peggy and Nathaniel Prescott. His Faith, Fight, Finish Foundation  helps people going through adversity. Dak is a great young man playing a rugged sport with a boatload of harsh critics. His older brother Jace committed suicide in April 2020. He is like a lot of us who have experienced crushing grief inside our families. And yet when he took off and ran Sunday afternoon with his team trailing the 49ers by six points with no timeouts and the clock expiring, it looked like the wrong decision. Goofy Tony Romo in the broadcast booth was frantically saying, “The ref has to touch the ball before he can spike it, this game is over!” The official bumping Dak off the ball made the best game of the day end in a slapstick comedic moment that had Cowboys fans crying. 

Sell its own self - Football played by larger-than-any-lifeforms sitting at your kitchen table is not a sport that sells itself. In fact, through Wild Card Weekend we saw every body part injury conceivable, from head and neck to feet to entire bodies being bent backward. Results from a survey by the Barrow Neurological Institute say numbers of youth playing football are declining and yet the numbers of boys and girls ages 5-15 in the Pop Warner program is about 400,000. Those results come from, so pick your own verifiable research model. The argument around coaching cliques is, “Are kids today getting softer or smarter?” 

Chemistry and character - Cus D'Amato, a renowned boxing manager and trainer, said way back in the early 1960s, “A fighter with character will beat a fighter who has none every day of the week.” Cus discovered 70 years ago that better people make the best athletes –  even though there are always exceptions. The NBA players from the 1950s through modern day will tell you the secret to team success is chemistry, and we’re not talking periodic tables. You’ve heard coaches say, “I’d rather lose with people who care than win with those who do not.” But the best bet is to win with those who care, and forget about those players who let you down when the going gets tough.      

Girls’ b-ball killing it! The Cape varsity basketball girls have won their last two games by a total of 98 points. The Beacon girls’ team is 6-0; its closest win was 47-19 over Woodbridge. Mariner is 3-0. Beacon hosts Sussex Academy Wednesday afternoon. The Seahawks are 5-1. The Beacon boys, also 6-0, play Sussex Academy in the second game. The great thing about middle school afternoon basketball is two games for the price of one and you are home by 7 p.m. And if you are a local muppet, you will know most people in the gym. 

Snippets - I will look like a muzzled rottweiler in a German war movie behind an N95 mask. The bleeding of politics with the pandemic has made lots of people cray-cray. Staying positive is the way forward. I don't need to hear about all the slackers and whackers in the gym. This was the 36th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday holiday. He was just 38 years old when he was assassinated. Most celebrations are small and colorized. And why is that? A discussion for another day. Go on now, git! 


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