Young men who inspire us at Crushin Cancer 5K
Ryan Ennis - I didn’t know I knew Ryan Ennis until I saw him Sunday at the Paradise Grill Crushin Cancer 5K. Ryan is a Paradise Grill employee recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The race was run under his name, which explains the 200 people. I know him as the personal trainer at RISE. To me, he looked like the Game of Thrones red-haired warrior Tormund Giantsbane or Justin Turner of the LA Dodgers. Ryan took the pre-race microphone and made everyone feel hopeful and better about themselves.
Lamar Arrington - A young man of 33, who has stood up to the struggle of bone cancer since he was 15, walked among the crowd at the Paradise Grill 5K. With a gregarious smile, he explained his gray marked-up shirt that said, “I am proof there is life after cancer.” Lamar was first diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma when he was 15 years old. “I fought back and kicked cancer's ass,” Lamar said. “There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not happy to be alive. Those of you out there fighting, there is always hope. Don’t ever give up! You can win! I am living proof!” Lamar added, “Today is a celebration for Ryan. God bless you, Ryan. It was a pleasure to meet you and your family.” Regular runner Laurie West Milnes was a nurse’s assistant when she met Ryan 12 years ago. “He always had the best attitude when faced with adversity,” Laurie said. Lamar is three months past high-tech exotic surgery on his right leg (I believe), which now has an internal titanium prosthetic from his ankle up to and including his hip. Talk about bad to the bone. Lamar is one tough hombre.
Camaraderie and confidence - At Champions Stadium Sept. 21, a group of Cape football players were standing along the fence watching a field hockey intersquad scrimmage. The Cape athletes have always done a great job supporting each other. I saw talented football athletes not derailed by an 0-3 start, all losses that could have been wins. I really thought they had a good chance to beat Dover. Cape is big up front and they have an array of talented skill people. The Vikings jumped Dover to lead 13-0. Three quarters later they had lost 34-13. That’s two games in a row the lead evaporated like Carnation milk. Sixty-four unanswered points scored against the defense over two weeks. Football is the leading sport of incomprehensible outcomes. Cape has a bye week before hosting Demar (1-1) Friday, Oct. 8. The Wildcats will play Milford and Woodbridge before facing Cape. Coach Dave Hearn will have the Cats ready. Cape football will also be ready and the student section will be packed as always.
Tommy 5K - The 5K race to honor Tommy Coveleski and benefit the Sussex Consortium is Sunday, Oct. 24. It starts at the Rehoboth Ale House on Wilmington Avenue at 9 a.m. If you are a Seaside muppet, you need to be there to support Tommy, the Consortium and all of us who miss him every day. You can register at races2run.com.
Playing JV - I was a sophomore at Bishop Egan High School playing in a basketball game at Council Rock. I scored 17 points in the JV game, then dressed for varsity (no quarter limits because no one cared) and scored 19. The next game I was in the JV starting lineup again; the coach simply said, “You need the work.” I usually only cover JV if I have a relative playing. I’ve covered Anna, Lizzie, Katie and Lina playing JV hockey and Mikey in a few JV lacrosse games. JV games are real; they speak to the overall health and future of the total program. I remember a T-shirt idea when Lina was playing B team middle school hockey, “I came for the B game.” I’d take a hundred great photos, then leave and post the photos on Facebook. My joke: “You want free photos, you have to move her up.” I saw parents and grandparents travel to Tower Hill Saturday for the JV game, which ended in a scoreless tie. It wasn’t that hot. I often pour bottled water over my head. I can tell you that all these not-ready-for-primetime players have gotten a whole lot better because at Cape everyone gets coached up hard every day.
Snippets - Jo Jo Kirby, straight outta Mariner and Cape, had a 100-yard return of an interception for William Paterson University, as the Pioneers won their first home game in five seasons 28-7 over SUNY Maritime. Terrique Riddick (Slaughter Neck and Woodbridge) had 16 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Go on now, git!