Summer sports stories take over as schools shut down

June 7, 2019

Shut down scribe - Scholastic sports take a rest for a couple of summer months as they have the last 37 years I’ve been a seaside sportswriter, so what is there to write about? The available sports pages in the Cape Gazette increase, along with advertising, as hundreds of thousands of tourists decide this is the place to kick it for the family vacation. In no particular order, there are Little League tournament games for baseball and softball, starting at the minor league level, not to mention Pat Knight tournaments. There are all kinds of lifeguard competitions and rookie tests. There are at least two running races every weekend. There is the Beach Bash girls’ lacrosse tournament at Cape and the entire DE Turf scene where you can find fields filled with hockey, soccer and lacrosse players. We always cover the Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game. There is summer league basketball, and swimming competitions and sports camps all over the place. There is sunfish racing and tournament fishing, or just go to the weight room to see what’s shaking and quaking. I’ve done them all, no story too small, but the tread is wearing from the tires, and when I finally make a pit stop, I’d be getting out of the car and fading into the infield.

Ring Ring - 10 years ago ... “Hello?” “You that sportswriter fella from Cape Gazette?” “That be me, ma’am. What’s up?” “We got a Millsboro team playing in the Pat Knight tournament over to Seaford this weekend. I was wondering if you were going over to cover them like you did that 10-year-old minor league team out of Lewes with all those nice pictures. We’d love something like that.” I stepped into the trap pond. “I’m sure those kids are great and certainly very worthy, but we usually don’t push out as far as Millsboro with our sports coverage.” “You don’t? Is that right? Then why do you sell all them newspapers over here at the Wawa?” I had a clever comeback. “I don’t know, ma’am. That is an excellent question, and I don’t have a good answer.” I could have shown up and made a story sing, along with photos that grandparents would have cherished. But I didn’t, and that still bugs me, but situational laziness eventually claims us all.

Call me irreplaceable - A few times over the last two weeks riding the north/south highway with Cape Athletic Director Bob Cilento going to crucial games that sometimes didn’t happen, we discussed sports issues, not NAFTA or NATO treaties. Bob said on a few occasions, “We are all replaceable, Fredman, because none of us is irreplaceable; although we’d like to think we are.” I nodded like Mr. Ed with a heavy bag of oats around his neck. But I disagree. Nobody in the entire universe can do what I do the way that I do it. The job will be done, and in a short time most won’t know I’m gone, but my uniqueness goes with me, never to return. The same can be said for all of us children of the universe.

Cat’s cradle - If you can afford to chase a scholarship, then you don’t need one. The zone where school sports intersects clubs and travel teams and the endless series of competition camps is all part of a greater economic model for coaches and colleges to find student-athletes and to convince them to matriculate at their campus. The so-called minor sports need to be healthy on a college campus in order to attract young people of promise and get them and their parents into the financial aid office. It’s a web of interconnectedness, which is a word with a lot of letters. Graduating with a debt load and degree, with marginal marketability, is another discussion entirely.

Proof of product - A 10-year reunion would be the place to start. List all the graduates, say from 2009, and figure out where they are now and how it relates, if at all, to who they were the day they graduated from high school. The Cape Class of 1984 will hold their 35th reunion Saturday, Aug. 3. That should be a minefield of information. I may write about that in place of covering the Pat Knight tournament.

Snippets - Cape is keeping me in the dark on who may be the new head coach of boys’ basketball. I just know it isn’t who everyone thought it was going to be. Words of farewell to the World Championship of Punkin Chunkin, which is moving to Illinois. Go on now, git!

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