Sports sidelines are friends central like a Quaker meetinghouse

Concussion protocols have changed the game of football
November 5, 2021

Make it, take it - The sidelines of sports prior to competitive games is friends central for me, a spontaneous Quaker meetinghouse. On Monday, it was Beth Conaway, the recently retired Milton Elementary principal, whom I’ve known since she and her brother Danny were runners at Seaford. Then along came Awesome Izzy Fuscellaro and Brianna Windish, new huggy bear friends of mine from the JV hockey team. Eric Gooch and George Pepper were on the sidelines; their daughters Lexi and Hannah coach Mariner and teach in the district. Eric said, “You’ve got the right lens. Don't get lazy. Take a photo of Beth with the girls.” 

Tunnel vision - I was in the fieldhouse tunnel Monday at 4 p.m. to take field hockey Senior Night photos as a weather bad guy saturated the skies outside like a team shower room from the ’60s. Football guys Jeb Zolper and Ryan Betins were there for trainer assessment and assistance. I talked with Ryan about concussion protocols, of which DIAA lists six, and elaborated on what is a qualified medical professional. Let me just say that the list runs so deep, there’s at least a half dozen of them in Wawa during peak hours finger-jabbing the touchscreen of creative hoagie construction. I told the 1965 story when downfield covering a punt for Temple, I dove for a Bucknell return man only to miss, getting kicked in the face then in the back of the head by a fat guy in high tops who had no business being downfield on punt coverage. Back on the sidelines I was singing a medley of Motown hits when coach Jack Jones stepped in front of me. “Frederick, do you have a concussion?” “I’d be the last to know, wouldn’t I, Sugar Pie Honey Bunch?” I was sent to the showers, where my songs did sound better. It's the same old song.

Free Willie - Willie Mays is the oldest living baseball Hall of Famer at 90 years old. He is reported to be doing well, and his playing days go back to when the Braves played in Milwaukee. I saw Mays play in person for the New York Giants baseball team at Connie Mack Stadium against the Phillies. I’ll never forget him slicing a foul ball over the right-field dugout into the shaded section, the screaming ball hitting some woman dead in her face. There was gushing blood pouring onto her soft pretzel. She was driven away in a 1950 ambulance down Lehigh Avenue. Mays is the godfather of Barry Bonds and was a teammate of Bobby Bonds. Willie has had glaucoma since 2005. Mays and Hank Aaron are two of the greatest who ever played the game of baseball. 

Tune-up for tournament - Cape and Delmar will play Saturday at Sussex Academy at 2 p.m. for the Henlopen Conference Championship. The following week, both will enter the postseason state tournament in separate divisions in pursuit of a state championship. Cape and Delmar don’t really count conference titles, but they admit to needing each other to test how good their teams are when everyone on the pitch is an all-star, and every hit, possession and corner is so meaningful. Delmar beat Cape 2-1 in overtime Oct. 7, with a 25-12 shot advantage and 19-5 advantage in penalty corners. Delmar beat Cape on Nov. 2, 2019, in the Henlopen Conference Championship game by a score of 2-1 on a goal by Josie Hollamon with 36 seconds left on the clock.

Call me unreliable - I don’t predict high school football, but, “if only you believe what I believe, baby,” we’ll get by. Stay away from gambling on pro and college football, but upsets in high school are less frequent. My colleague Brad Myers of Delawareonline has a success rate of 151-33 (.821) picking winners of high school football games. That is freakishly good or lucky, or just maybe upsets are rare. I’m feeling that Cape is going to break off the chain and bite somebody. If not Saturday at St. Georges, then perhaps in the first round of the Tier 3 tournament because it’s unlikely they can take down Smyrna, but you never know, except 82.1 percent of the time you do. 

Snippets - Last school year, Amaya and Aya Daisey were on the Cape swim team and track teams. This year, Amaya is at UCLA and Aya is at Stanford. Average composite SAT at Stanford is 1505 with a 4 percent acceptance rate. “She’s there representing Cape public school,” said her dad Blaine. The admissions rate for out-of-state students at UCLA is 16 percent. UCLA does not require the SAT. Blaine ran and jumped for Cape track and Frostburg University. He was the 1981 Kevin Kennedy Award winner, now retired from the Delaware State Police. He drives a 25-year-old Toyota T100 pickup and joked, “I’ll be driving that truck a lot longer. Know what I’m saying?” Go on now, git, know what I’m saying?


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