School year trumps calendar year for sports fans

December 31, 2021

Minimize to maximize - Monday night sitting at my 27-inch iMac, I was following the Cape girls versus Westtown School game at the Slam Dunk on “stat broadcast” while also checking out high school wrestling tournaments on track wrestling. There was a YouTube channel playing soul music, while another section of screen showed Facebook, and yet another was reserved for Google Docs. I checked emails from two different addresses on my phone while also sending a text or two, and I had the 15-inch desktop TV turned on in case there was any breaking news, plus it flashes caller ID numbers if my landline were to ring. And somewhere there were Christmas cookies and a can of electronics duster to keep my keyboard clean.

Calendar year versus school year - My entire life has been pegged to the school year calendar because of sports seasons and vacations. The January flip was never very interesting to me. A New Year's Eve celebration is best avoided especially during the Omicron escalation; there is no need to allow inebriated transmissibles to slobber in your face. Reflecting on calendar year 2021, Cape won state titles in wrestling, girls’ lacrosse and field hockey. The oddest question I heard asked before each of those events commenced was, “What are they going to do next year when these talented seniors all graduate?” Is there really a good answer to that question?  

Back to the banquet - Every state championship banquet where I have stood at the podium fussing with a cheap microphone with weak batteries, I have said, “Goal No. 1 is ‘Back to the banquet!’” The rubber chicken circuit of sports banquets is where it’s happening. And the Cape district has the best venues with the most choices. The Jan. 3 state championship field hockey banquet scheduled at Baywood Greens has been postponed because of a spike in positive COVID cases, plus chicken cacciatore won't pass through a mask. The last state championship banquet for field hockey was in the summer at Hopkins Heartland, where it was hotter than a cow on a tin roof on Sunday afternoon. Get it? Tin Roof Sundae? 

Drop the other shoe - Somewhere there is a divide between those old-school Eagles fans who anticipate collapse in the face of hope and the “we” generation who talk about playoffs and Super Bowl after the team climbs a game above .500 with two games left to play. The Eagles win out versus Washington and Dallas, and they are in the old “control your own destiny,” a misapplication, as fate triumphs destiny, which you never control. It's an illusion. The website FiveThirtyEight, which has blown more calls than a nearsighted leader dog, gives the Eagles a 60 percent chance of making the playoffs. And if the Eagles get in as the seventh seed, they may play at No. 2 seed Dallas in the opening round. “Tanked but no thanks.” The Eagles don’t want to face the Cowboys two weekends in a row. The Cowboys host the Cardinals this Sunday and are three-point favorites. Philly is favored by three over Washington.  

Smoove Operator - J.B. Smoove is a comedian and a funny “haha'' guy. I know him from the Larry David series “Curb Your  Enthusiasm” on HBO. I understand why Caesars Sportsbook would use him to promote their online gambling app, but the Manning family including Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper? Sports betting is like throwing money away; you may as well donate it to a political action committee. People blow up their lives because of gambling addictions. Why not just advertise crank and crack? And then there is the Crown Royal commercial directed by Spike Lee where the hip young man brings a bottle of Crown Royal to share with his mom at Sunday dinner. I don’t know many whisky-drinking moms; perhaps they also bet on NFL games. 

Snippets - Many of the school buildings I attended, gyms I played in and sports arenas where I watched the pros play have been dropped by wrecking balls, imploded and plowed under. Connie Mack Stadium, Conventional Hall, Veterans Stadium, The Spectrum, JFK Stadium, Bishop Egan High School and gym, Cape Henlopen High School and its Little Big House, Temple Stadium, South Hall on Temple University campus. Live long enough and your past will be littered with demolished buildings. It’s weird, but it’s just what happens. Go on now, git!    


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