Trust and Respect runs deep through the sports community
Trust - I found out the news five minutes before I received a voicemail that simply said, “Fredman, this is Boo Boo. Give me a call.” I called right away and told Boo Boo I had just heard that his dad, Tom Rushin, had passed away Nov. 7. I told him I was sorry. He said thanks and there was a picture I took of him and his dad back in his first year coaching (2015). He asked if I could post it in the Gazette and maybe just say a word or two. “You knew him,” Boo Boo said. I knew him through the growing up years of my twin boys, from Lewes Little League to youth basketball. Mr. Rushin was always out there. His voice was unmistakable, his enthusiasm was contagious, and when my twins were on an opposing team, he always appreciated that they were “off the hook” and hard for their dad to control. I saw Mr. Rushin frequently over the last five years at basketball games. He was in failing health it seemed for a long time, but he wasn’t going to miss his son coach or grandson Kris play basketball. “The Big Hurt,” Tom’s son Ronald, was always at the games to help his dad get around. Ring the Belltown Bell. A good man who lived a long life staying close to his family has left the village. His name like his son’s is Tom Rushin, but everyone knows Boo Boo and Mr. Rushin. Remembering people at their best. Let the good times roll like a Spalding basketball.
Respect - Cape field hockey rotates attacking players like an approaching hurricane. They crank shots on cage like gulls on Thrasher’s fries. In a Nov. 10 night game at Sussex Central, Cape won 9-0, sending 30 shots at goalie Kianna Kelly. She stopped 21, many of them real deal saves that go in if not for her aggressive athleticism. It was a Cape fan who reminded me, “Don’t forget to mention that Central goalie, she was off the hizzy.” When did grandmas start talking like that? I “left out” the hockey game to capture the Cape at Sussex Central volleyball game. Cape won 3-0, but Central player Brenya Reid was a high-flying highlight film, delivering 13 kills while climbing the ladder on jump serves. A Central grandmother said to me after the game, “I hope you got some pictures of Central girls too. We’ve got some fine players too.” One of my personal strengths has always been that no matter what I’m doing, I either look like I don’t know what I’m doing or I’m doing nothing at all.
Panda power - Padua cross country is coached by Marnie Giunta and they are insanely fast and deep – it’s just hard to mess with them. On Nov. 7 at Killens Pond, they beat a good Caesar Rodney team 15-50. The Cape girls had beaten CR 27-28 to open the season. Pandas runners took the top 16 places; extrapolated, they shut them out two times. The Pandas have won 20 state titles in cross country going back to 1981. And – not to be a Panda groupie – they are no joke in track, soccer, field hockey, volleyball and basketball. There are so many good school choices to make along the I95 corridor for young women who are athletically and academically talented. Padua, Ursuline, Tower Hill, Archmere and Saint Elizabeth’s, and that’s just a sampling.
Economics - There was a hardback textbook passed around in college to more students than an open bottle of peppermint schnapps. It said “Samuelson” on the front (published 1948) and many people would love the chance to smack that author Paul Samuelson in his supply and demand, price point, graphic face. I was reading that catcher JT Realmuto turned down a one-year, 18 million dollar offer from the Phillies and may sign with the Mets, whose new owner is worth $14 billion. The luxury tax may kick in, which is levied by baseball itself for rich teams that exceed the soft cap limit. The money collected then gets shared by all the other teams, and someone needs to shake me and shout, “Snap out of it, silly rabbit, your C in economics 50 years ago disqualifies you from this discussion.”
Snippets - Take me to your feeders. What happens when the pandemic ices middle school sports programs, which are allegedly the feeder programs for varsity sports? We know what happens: the athletes find other places to play. Many are on multiple outside teams and can be found in travel tournaments at venues all along the East Coast. Corona is as real as the masked nose on your face. In sports, I feel we’ve progressed from shutdown to throwdowns, but right now the entire system is on shaky turf. Go on now, git!