Runners rumble, rock the boards at Bunny Palooza
Thunder Road - No one has sat in a blue chair and watched more oncoming race traffic through a camera lens than I have. High school runners are the most frenzied and insane when it comes to beating someone to the finish line. I never expect to be bowled over and rolled into the gutter – God has always spared me. At the Bunny Palooza in Bethany April 16, the boardwalk shook as the masked COVID creatures of the dark night came face-first out into the sunlight to make up for lost chipped time. The boards actually shake and quake when competitive runners rumble to the finish as if an Olympic medal were the prize. Shown in photo is No. 185 David Kulak, a 45-year-old from Middletown, whose final finish time of 27:52.1 edged out Giordana Von Paris, 9, of Sykesville, Md., who posted a time of 27:52.9. But the chip time had Kulak in 27:42 to Von Paris in 27:47. Make sense or have you lost interest? Tim Bamforth: “The majority of race directors do overall finish by gun time so that the first person who crosses the line is your overall winner. Age-group awards may be by chip time.”
Confessions of a screwballer - A volunteer fireman from Penndel, Pa., taught me to throw a screwball when I was 13 years old. All my fastballs were screwballs, but not all my screwballs were fast balls. I just remember my ball sailed in on right-handed batters and away from left-handed batters. I am the old athlete who ponders, “Whatever happened to my screwball and the screwball in general?” I honestly don't know the difference between a circle change and an eephus pitch. I found a 2014 New York Times article by Bruce Schoenfeld called, “The Mystery of the Vanishing Screwball.” If you are/were a Phillies fan, you are thinking Tug McGraw, who wrote a book “Screwball,” and if you’re humming “Country girls and boys getting down on the farm,” by Tim McGraw, I can’t help you. The Tugger was on the mound for the final out when the Phillies beat the Royals in 1980 to win the World Series. Tug was nicknamed by his mom because of the aggressive way he breastfed, which is why I rarely ask the derivation of mysterious nicknames. Tugger also had a syndicated comic strip called “Scroogie.” Tug McGraw died of a brain tumor Jan. 5, 2004. The Tim McGraw hit later in 2004, “Live Like You Were Dying,” was recorded in his father’s honor. Note: Like most of my writings and riffs, I started with the screwball story and just followed the ball into the mitt for the final out.
Full circle - In 1975, three Cape High buildings ago, I locked student Vaughn Trammell out of the classroom after he disappeared into the halls for 25 minutes on a bathroom pass. We looked at each other through the glass window of the classroom door. He pounded and called me a name. Later, he put his head on my shoulder and said, “I’m sorry, Fred, you didn’t deserve that.” Saturday night at the Modern Maturity Center for his induction into the Delaware Afro American Sports Hall of Fame, Vaughn went to the podium for his three-minute speech delivered to a room of 500. I went to the front to capture a photo of the moment for the muppets back home. The first person Vaughn thanked was his late mother; the last person he thanked was his track coach Dave Frederick. Forty-seven years later, we were looking at each other again on the far side of an improbable long journey of friendship. Full story on the banquet in the Friday edition of the Cape Gazette.
Snippets - Marcella Sabbagh played at Cape and Christopher Newport. She is a member of the Puerto Rican national field hockey team that has qualified for the Caribbean Central American Tournament next May in El Salvador. I watched the Yankees play on television and saw the Orioles beat them twice, and I decided I’m an Orioles fan for the rest of the season. I just like that they are underdogs each time they take to the field, and they play hard. Post-game interviews of NBA players from the loser's locker room are a sham. If I were credentialed press in the media room, I’d ask, “Hey, I know you lost but what kind of car you drive and where you stay at and what’s your favorite charity?” Go on now, git!