Ian Fleming runs Bottle & Cork 10-Miler inspired by Blind Faith
Take it to the bridge - Silver Lake Bridge leading into Rehoboth in the early morning is a beautiful vista, a mixture of salt and sea, flora and fauna, which is all inclusive, a zone where ducks and people are equals. The term flora is from the Latin name for the goddess of flowers ... good enough for me. I just look – it’s so beautiful – but I have no idea what I’m looking at. Which brings me to the Sept. 10 merging of two races, the Bottle & Cork 10-Miler with a five-minute head start from Dagsworthy Avenue being chased by 5K runners. The race fields mixed, with furiously fast 5K runners heading south on the bridge on the way back while slower runners were still on the way out. I spotted former top eliminator Ian Fleming, 52, now sightless, with his guide on a bike. Ian had his hand on her shoulder. He ran the 10-miler in 1:23, which is an 8:24 pace, and placed third in an age group of 13 runners. The 5K race had all these young males at the front. It was just crazy. The first 31 runners were male and all under 20 minutes. I snagged winner Alex Horgan, 22, on his cool-down run. He won the 5K in 15:47. Alex is a former runner for St. Andrew’s. He’s now a senior at the University of Delaware. He was part of the carpooling entourage of 90 runners that are members of the University of Delaware cross country club team. My granddaughter Katie, who last fall was president of the UD field hockey club team, joined me at Silver Lake. She said, “That is inspiring that all those young guys are racing at 7 a.m. instead of getting drunk in Dewey on Friday night.”
Varsity Blues - The term JV runs back at least 80 years and I’ve never liked it. It just has a greater/lesser talent connotation, and let's be honest (do we have to?), many top-roster JV players are better than bottom-roster varsity players. In 2022, some healthy sports programs have JV teams that are better than some varsity teams, and often those varsity teams don’t have enough players to field a JV team. I’m for ditching the JV label and calling it Varsity Blues, and allowing those teams to play an independent schedule battling lesser varsity teams and stronger JV teams. There are just too many talented kids who commit to programs that don’t get enough outside competition.
Candid Camera - Kids are sometimes comical in the midst of the oh-so-serious sideline moments. Maurki James is a star who wants the light to shine on his linemen. And so during the game, he delivers them. A few hockey girls sitting along the bench listening to coaches do post-game analysis make eye contact with me, then move their heads closer together. I see a thumbs up. A great thing about young athletes is they have a limited attention span for serious moments. They want to have fun.
Marauding managers - Football coaches are focused on the field and mostly don’t notice what’s going on behind them during the game, like two managers having a catch with the football. But fans notice and may later describe it as a lack of sideline discipline. I called two Cape “young rascals” over to my camera Thursday night as their harmless catch and throw started up in the first half and reignited in the third quarter. I saved the sarcasm – kids mostly don’t get it – and said, “When your coaches see the film and you jokers throwing the football back and forth like tailgating college kids, they are not going to be happy. I'm nobody in the sideline scheme of things, I’m just trying to help you out.” They put the ball back in the bag and crawled in behind it.
Snippets - The good news is University of Delaware field hockey forward Noelle Sabbagh scored two goals against UConn and another against Penn State, giving the freshman three in the young season. The bad news is Delaware lost to UConn 4-3 in overtime and Penn State 4-2, and is now 1-5 on the season. Ashlyn Carr, straight outta Delmar, also scored against UConn and assisted on one of Sabbagh’s goals. Comcast your fate to the wind. I just know when the Eagles, Ravens and Commanders all play in the 1 p.m. time slot, the Eagles get bumped, and by the way, what happened to the “Hail to the Redskins” fight song? Bumped! Go on now, git!