Youngest to oldest runners embrace the day and what’s best about us

March 19, 2019

Sub masters - The combined ages of the first three runners at the Shamrock Shuffle 5K March 17 added up to 38, just two years shy of the masters category. Bennett Brumbley, 11, was the overall winner in 21:05. He was followed by E-Beth Melson, 15, in 22:04 and Faith Mitchell, 12, in 22:16. And watch out for Shiloh O’Grady, 9, who placed 13th in 26:42. Magic Jack Noel, 80, ran 52:10. Brumbley finished, then went back on the course to escort Jackie Quigley, 51, winner of masters 10-miler in 1:20:12 and Jack Vassalotti, 67, in 1:46:47 to the finish line. Winners of the Lunch Ladies Trophy were Bill Holdsworth, 58, who ran the 10-miler in 1:15 (he works at Cape High and jokingly calls himself a lunch lady) and his wife, Lori Holdsworth, 57, who was masters champion in the 5K in 23:43. Ron Niblett, 82, of Newark, a legend of the roads, ran 28:52 to win the 70-79 age group. Younger to older, from lunch ladies in the middle and a sandwich toss in a Niblett of history, all heroes are grinding to glory on a Sunday morning.

Roster reveal - I read roster bios from college through professional sports and always start at the back under the heading “Personal.” Duke’s roster bios are revealing across all sports in that no college majors are listed but there is an emphasis under “Personal” of athletic pedigree. Everyone is talking about freshman phenom Zion Lateef Williamson. His parents are listed as Sharonda Williamson, who ran track at Livingston College, and stepfather Lee Anderson, who played basketball at Clemson. I am curious about the whereabouts of biological dad because he has got to be one massive dude. RJ Barrett’s godfather is Steve Nash, which is interesting and good to know. Freshman Justin Robinson, 6-foot-10, is the son of David Robinson, former No. 1 pick in 1987 NBA draft who played 14 seasons in NBA. Switch to the men’s lacrosse roster and find middie Jake Seau. His father was the late Junior Seau, NFL Hall of Famer. Pedigree has always been an influencing factor in the recruiting process.

The Real McCoy - While working the finish line at the Shamrock Shuffle 5K and 10-Miler on St. Patrick’s Day, somewhere on the Junction and Breakwater Junction Trail, I met Tim McCoy, 63, who had finished his 5K in 30:58. We commenced to communicate. Tim told me that he has jumped in the ocean in Dewey off West Street, where he lives, for 200 straight days. “The winter wasn’t really that cold,” he said. I tried that same challenge in 1975-76 but quit when seagulls rolled on their backs laughing after I flopped in the froth with the flu during a northeast storm. Tim jumps all different times, day or night, often alone. None of it is wise or prudent, but at least it’s invigorating, and what good is living on the ocean block if you don’t jump in everyday? Betty the Bulldog, the speed bump of West Street, knows what I’m talking about.

Pearls of Wisdom - Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl, talking to his team in the locker room prior to the SEC Championship game versus Tennessee: “Forty minutes until we cut down the nets! Forty minutes until we give all glory to God!” Give it to him before the game, Coach, and where is Agamemnon? Agamemnon never needed God’s help. He wanted to keep it a fair fight, which he knew he was going to win anyway. Religion and basketball. Don’t tell Villanova the sports god ain’t Catholic.

Bracket rackets - A compulsive gambler is like an alcoholic at happy hour once the NCAA brackets come out. Most drinkers are not afflicted with the gene that makes them self distruct after one beer like a Mission Impossible briefcase. The majority of those who wager on sports aren’t betting the farm on basketball, especially if they live on a quarter-acre property. “My bracket is already busted” is a common lament after the first week of March Madness when the Sweet 16 is determined. The game is insane, just throw all rhyme and reason out the window.

Snippets - Friday afternoon will be insane on Cape’s campus, as softball and baseball host Sussex Tech. Beacon is hosting a five-team middle school invitational on the Legends Stadium track. Show up or steer clear. In either case: Go on now, git!