Turkey plays the trumpet as fans in the stands go silent

Luke Bender, injured, lost in emptiness
January 14, 2022

Trumpet solo - Josh Turek, Cape senior all-state jazz band lead trumpet, brought an excited crowd of wrestling fans to stone-cold silence Wednesday night when he soloed the national anthem on his trumpet. People’s souls were touched, all for personal reasons, and that is the purpose of playing the anthem, the reflection and realization of one team, one purpose. Turek’s bandmates simply call him “Turkey.” Get Turkey back for the state tournament. 

The Banner - Wrestling coach Chris Mattioni is not afraid of any moment, from going down 20 points in a match then watching his planned comeback pan out to unveiling the 2021 state championship banner and having Bobby Brooks (who better?) announce the names of every wrestler who was on that team. I’d be going Stevie Wonder (Very Superstitious) rocking that banner before grappling with Smyrna, a team that had won 10 state titles. But who better to comprehend wrestling tradition and success?

Reflection and introspection - Luke Bender, post elbow surgery, a defending state champ, stands behind the Cape bench and a major victory goes down followed by Cape celebrations all over the gym. Injured athletes are happy when their team wins, but they are lost in emptiness. Cape won the Governor Mifflin Holiday Tournament followed by come-from-behind dual-meet wins over Stephen Decatur and Smyrna, both traditional powerhouse programs. But eventually the team will pay the cost for losing the boss. Bender is bad, and he will be back. 

Country song - Sussex Tech boys’ basketball shedding a 20-game losing streak at Cape on the strength of a buzzer beat four-point play was karma landing center court. Everyone in the gym was into post-game analysis and no one was wrong, “This is why they lost,” but the thing is, with four minutes to go and up by 10, can you stop the locomotive of fate that's about to roll over your program? Once the train is in the station, everyone knows how it got there. And I may add that the Pinetown Connection along the Sussex Tech bench is screaming for Jimmie Allen to write a basketball country song about his relatives, who include Magic Johnson – no joke. 

Look out for the cheater - “Make way for the fool-hearted clown.” Remember when a teacher would give a high-stakes test, then walk around the room trying to catch people cheating? That is an invitation to some personality types to cheat just to meet the challenge of criminal expectations. The mask posse people are just asking to have their minds blown, so it’s best to pick on high school kids who will respond “whatever” and work the mask like a shade in the bedroom. Basketball players get sent to the bench for “mask down while playing and trying to breathe simultaneously” infractions. 

Flip Like Wilson - It’s a Philly cover band that has played the local bar scene. During the center mat captains’ meeting at the Cape versus Smyrna match, referee Paul Hertz handed Davey Fred the coin to flip. Davey did and it came up green, home team choice as to who comes out first (closet joke book). That set up the winning strategy of Cape’s bump-and-run at 138. And after the match, Davey shook coach Aaron Harris’s hand; the Inclusion Kid brings everyone into his orbit.  

Snippets - High school wrestling and lacrosse teammates Finbar Rishko (Washington and Lee) and Andre Currie (Bethany College) have both transferred to the University of Delaware for the spring semester. Delaware must have designated admissions counselors whose job is to help Delaware kids find their way back to the mothership. Lewis Grizzard was a Georgia boy humorist and sportswriter who died in 1994. I remember Grizzard writing about the Georgia National Championship victory over Notre Dame in the 1980 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. “Dawgs were crawling in the street on all fours barking. A Notre Dame coed said, ‘If the game meant that much to you, I’m glad you won.’” If you are from the North, you cannot figure out the South – you have to experience it. I called Car Shield – I have three cars totaling 46 years – they hang up on me, and State Farm, with surprising great rates for athletes who are already insured by their league, dropped me. I’m beyond all demographics except Dr. Pepper, and we all know how good soda is for your health. Whose back you got? Go on now, git!


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