Tough and tumbling Cape cheerleaders in the Big House

January 28, 2020

Tumbling runs - Lost in the Thursday night Big House dysfunction junction dissonance was Cape’s competition coed cheerleading squad directed by coach Courtney Hennesey. They were using the game as a practice session for a Saturday competition at the new Woodbridge High School, which is a great building. The team placed first in both coed stunt group and and coed routine. I said to Courtney on Thursday night, “You guys should have tumbled through the melee to show them how real athletes do it.” 

Grandma Rose - Why is it that after a Thursday night chicken fight on a basketball court, individuals a generation younger start sounding like my grandmother offering commentary and advice on how to save society? I could write a book, “The 25 Greatest Sports Fights of My Career.” I’ve been in a few and witnessed a bunch more. Basketball gets the bad rap, but I’ve seen it across all the sports, except for field hockey. When grown people land serious punches or kicks, or use props as weapons, it’s called felony assault. You just don’t get to do it. Read John Feinstein’s book, “The Punch,” about how in 1977 an on-court fight between the Houston Rockets and the LA Lakers resulted in Kermit Washington throwing a punch into the face of a charging Rudy Tomjanovich, who was coming to break up the fight. Rudy was almost killed by Kermit, two good guys colliding in a crazy situation. I had sent out a Facebook blast during the first half of the Thursday night Sussex Tech at Cape boys’ game, “I’ve seen more excitement at an impeachment hearing.” There was no energy in the half-filled Big House; then with four minutes left in the third period and Cape up by 10, push came to shove, followed by “air punch! air punch!” Stupid is always in the house and when it comes loose, it’s best to go back door or at least stay seated and for players to stay on the bench. I sat in the blue chair and calmly took photos of poser pugilists breaking bad. There was no bad blood among the young men playing the game – they all know each other off the court. The three-on-three game that followed for the next 12 minutes was more entertaining than the 20 minutes of full-squad basketball (read Kenny Riedel’s story). I give much respect to those six athletes who simply balled when crazy was in the Big House. 

Heaven’s Gate - Cape Athletic Director Bob Cilento gave me a heads-up about Cape and Sussex Tech basketball players meeting at the Jusst Sooup Ranch Saturday morning. He said, “You should go,” knowing I was the best person to spin that story in real time. And so I showed up, but the gate was locked and I have no code for the keypad, even though I’m the honorary deacon of doughnuts for the Jusst Sooup Ministry. “We’re closed,” said Ken Dunning by cellphone. “The event was cancelled due to the weather. Please come back next Saturday for regular church services. By the way, what happened? Dale and I just got back from vacation in Florida.” I was standing outside a locked gate like a homeless sportswriter in search of a story. Kenny and I have been friends since 1975. I wouldn’t let me in either. Later I discovered the ecumenical community service meeting was moved to Friendship Baptist’s Church Hall. And that was followed by a submitted story in Cape Gazette and it dawned on me, “I should have gone to the cheerleading competition at Woodbridge. At least coach Courtney invited me.” 

Feasting of fat guys - Sophomore Hank D’Ambrogi started at Cape quarterback in his second year of football. Hank was 13-0 in JV wrestling his absolute first year in the sport, and Friday night at Woodbridge coach Shane Jensen jokingly said, “I told Hank (170) it’s time to stop feasting on fat guys because there are some real people coming.” Hank got tagged with the first loss of his career, leading 4-3 and on top in the third period. He gave up an escape and a takedown. I joke about Hank, but when it comes to sports, he is the know-it-all who in fact does know it all. Trust me, if there is data on any Cape undefeated JV wrestler, Hank is aware of it.    

Snippets - Cape basketball will play at Polytech Tuesday, Jan. 28, minus two starters who are suspended for three games, and the players who fled the bench are out for one game. The same goes for Sussex Tech. Meet me at Jump Street, hurry on down. Go on now, git! 


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