Strong friends stay tethered together for a lifetime

Dewey lifeguards win national titles
August 16, 2022

Silver Anniversary Run for JJ 5K - Girlfriends since forever, having grown up in Rehoboth describes Kathy McGuiness and Mauria Stein. I am ready to photograph the 25th running of the JJ 5K. I have been at them all. I listen to Kathy and Mauria talking about their girlhood days. They are laughing; I see them hug. I get the picture because in anticipation I know it's going to happen. They each hug me, and I feel good that I have reached that level of friendship and trust. Both women have been facing down very different types of struggles; Kathy’s are political and Mauria’s are medical. I only know what many of us local muppets know, which is to just solidly be there in friendship. 

Leader dog - Ann Stephenson Cameron volunteered to be a guide runner tethered to blind runner Joe Aukward. Ann saw me and said, “I don’t even know what he looks like.” “You’re even,” I said. “He doesn’t know what you look like either.” She asked me, “Do you know him?” I answered, “I know everybody.” “What’s he look like?” she asked. “I don’t know; never saw the dude,” I said. Ann did a great job, running happily and not nervously with Joe as the 61-year-old clocked a 33:12 for fifth in his age group. If you ever go sightseeing with a blind person, you can learn a lot about how much they can see by listening to your descriptions, then saying things like, “That sounds beautiful.” 

Todd Fritchman of the Dewey Beach Patrol is the Tonka truck of lifeguard captains. He sent this release and photo from the USLA lifeguard championships in Hermosa Beach to my desktop. “Over the weekend the Dewey Beach Patrol earned 5 National Championship Gold Medals, one Silver, a 5th, 8th and more in the top 20 at the USLA National Championships in Hermosa Beach California. The image is the men's 4x90m Sprint Champions and the 25 and over Beach Flags Champion. Local neighborhood young men have helped brand the Town of Dewey Beach on a national level and trained hard to do so. The Sussex County Life Saving Association Team (all Delaware lifeguard agency members united) standing will be announced soon. We may have won the whole thing united.”

Day Tripper - I pegged the young group dressed the same as a Pennsylvania cross country team. And so after they all finished the JJ 5K, I assembled them for a group photo and told them to stop screwing around, because I had a life to re-enter. And then I started to recognize, like in the movie “Sixth Sense,” “I see wrestlers.” Jaafar Ahmad-Statts, 145, third in states, and his brother Nurrideen Ahmad-Statts, fourth at 152.This was the Killens Pond summer workers team and their second year running the JJ race.  You know coaches say, “Nothing good happens after midnight,” and I’d add nothing bad happens before 8 a.m.

Snippets - Aug. 15 is the first field hockey practice for Cape, and all varsity candidates must break 16 minutes in the two-mile run. Junior varsity players  face an 18-minute standard. Goalies must get four laps in by lunchtime. Hockey players run like house cats and there has never been a house cat break 16 minutes in the two-mile, but maybe 16 seconds because cats are magical. Most school rosters have their coaching staff  posted. It will take another week for numerical team rosters to post, and some schools will lag like a shot-putter anchoring the distance medley. The Cape and Hodgson football teams gathered in the end zone after the Saturday scrimmage because it was the last time the Silver Eagles will play on that field for coach Frank Moffett Jr. Moffett will retire after this season, and the field will be shut down for renovations, so games will be played elsewhere. The scrimmage was chippy, and afterward the athletes were chummy. Go figure – and go on now, git!    


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