Play like it matters, but if you’re 12, it doesn’t
Wells quells yells - The Sunday morning club-a-dub-dub, steamy showdown between 2027 lacrosse girls going into eighth grade, Eastern Shore Pirates versus Check-Hers Elite, elicited more fan reaction than a high school state tournament game. The game was back and forth and so were the fans. It’s not my job to act like a golden retriever with a camera listening to fan commentaries, but I heard every dumb sports cliché ever yelled at 12-year-old girls playing between the lines. Check-Hers is a club out of Carroll County, Md. (think Westminster – not the dog show) that feeds into six powerhouse high schools. The Pirates had a two-goal lead late that shrank to a single goal. Time was running out, and a failed clear gave the ball back to Check-Hers. A tall attacker was on the doorstep of the crease. Pirates goalie Emily Wells didn’t bite on the first fake, stayed locked in, then stuffed the would-be tying shot. It was emphatic; it was dramatic, yet it wasn’t such a big deal as Eastern Shore prevailed 8-7. A Pirates dad in the stands snapped at a Check-Hers dad, “Relax, it’s just a kids’ game. Let them settle it.” The retort “shut up” pretty much ended that philosophy of youth sports argument.
Hot dogs and hot babies - I’m a camera-on-a-pole and head-on-a-swivel sideline photographer. On Sunday, after enduring eavesdropped unpleasantness at a 2027 game, I dropped down to a 2029 contest on Bermuda grass to watch the 2029 Eastern Shore team play Dark Horse out of Easton, Md. I knew many of the girls on the 2029 team, including granddaughter Meredith, which is why in the Fred kitchen we just call it Meredith’s team. I captured a candid of a hot child crawling about, but I never noticed the blue-eyed blond doll and, trust me, I’ve noticed a few in my day. The little girl was Remi Draper; her sister Linley was in the game. Amy Burton Draper is her mom, and her dad Hank played attack and set the scoring record at Cape in 1993. Coral Trench was the goalie; her dad played for Cape in 1995. And Meredith’s dad Jack also played in 1995. I took a photo of a plump chocolate lab and made a joke and said, “Sorry, dog, the only reason I talk is because I can.” Maggie Lingo, who went 21-0 as a Cape softball pitcher, focused under a straw hat, said, “This is Rebecca Hollingsworth’s dog, Fredman. I’m just watching her. Her name is Scout. And don’t worry about what you said, she's deaf.”
Lax waxed - Lacrosse is a sport where you can get waxed like a 1957 linoleum floor in a Catholic grammar school preparing for a papal visit. It is humbling and mostly oddly episodic; if it becomes a pattern, then go fill out the school choice papers. I watched the Lady Blue Crabs 2026 dominate the Eastern Shore team 17-4 Saturday. LBC played Pride Red twice Sunday, losing 17-1 and 11-1. It reminded me of 2010 when the Cape girls lost to McDonogh 25-1 in a scrimmage, then went into the season with rookie senior goalie Sarah May – a swimmer – and won the state championship. Grandma Rose: “You just never know, except most times you do.”
Puppies of the pandemic - Who adopts a puppy during a pandemic, then two years later returns their forever fur baby to the pound? Answer: Thousands of American citizens nationwide, and what that has to do with sports is everything, because dogs are the best athletes on the planet. I’ve made several of them Athletes of the Week over the years. More tennis balls are fetched by dogs than returned by tennis players, and never double-team a dog who doesn't want to give the ball back because he will make you look foolish. How about a dog who snares and steals pickleballs? I'd adopt that dog and just drive around taking videos.
Snippets - The Dewey Beach Patrol has four state champion wrestlers from the Class of 2022 working the beach, including Mikey Frederick (145), John Antonio (152), Nick Hall (170) and Lucas Ruppert (285). DBP also has lacrosse Players of the Year Ella Rishko and Hank D’Ambrogi. Not to mention all-state trumpet player Josh Turek aka Turkey who was also on the Cape swim team, and all-state lacrosse player Hunter Jones. Breaking news ... never mind, this is Sussex County, what’s the hurry? Go on now, git!