A simple ‘good job’ goes a long way in the sports world

Big games about to go down
March 31, 2023

A simple “good job” - I photographed the Caravel at Milford Middle School boys’ lacrosse game March 28. I know I did a good job and don't need an affirmation, but it's nice when someone takes the time to say “thanks, these photos are great.” But I was amazed that a single referee controlled that game with just the right amount of emphasis. These are developing players, many of whom don’t know the difference between a cheap shot and hitting them with your best shot. After the game, I told the official, “you did a great job out there reffing by yourself – that is not easy.” He said, "thank you” and moved on because the No. 1 objective of the post-game official is to get to the car. I posted the photo on Facebook and James Tingle responded, “I believe that's Kenny Cay.” I had joked, “I guess I made his day,” inferring I don't have that kind of clout, then Kenny shows up on the thread and writes, “Absolutely it made my day! Thank you for the kind words.” Kenny’s son Kenny graduated last year from Sussex Academy and is playing lacrosse at Newberry College. An addendum to the story: On Wednesday, the Mariner lacrosse girls opened the season at home beating Dover Central 17-1. I was escaping the Cape varsity game at halftime because trainer Ashley gave me a Gator ride when a trio of exuberant Mariner girls still in uniform ran up to my 4Runner to tell me the news. Meredith Frederick, Daisy Hughes and Linley Draper. Meredith said: “There was only one ref and it was Uncle Dave.” They all chimed in, “Yeah, it was Uncle Dave.” You have to love downstate Delaware. 

Uncle Jack - Jack Frederick coached football last fall with his cousin Mike Frederick. This spring, he’s helping coach Milford Middle School lacrosse because his son Will is an eighth-grader on the team. “Jack is a really good coach,” his mother told me, and I responded “absolutely.” To respond otherwise I would’ve been traded in for a Bernedoodle. Anyway, Milford along the fence is still a town with lots of great people all wanting to chat. A man came out of my Cape past going back to 1976. A grandfather asked me, "How many points is a goal?” Kimberly Sivels told me it was her first lacrosse game. I call afternoon middle school games the longhouse of scholastic sports. It’s a little like a church, except you can talk whenever you want.

Mysteriously mediocre - I have used these terms respectfully over the last 15 years to describe the Caesar Rodney field hockey and girls’ lacrosse teams. The Riders always have a lot of great looking athletes who get after it. They can be scary and yet at the end of games they were always on the southside of the scoreboard. The games I saw were always against Cape, a perennial powerhouse in both sports. But now a confluence of storylines is about to collide. The Riders lacrosse team is now 5-0. They’re coached by Gina Voss (Cape 2012). CR will play at Sussex Academy (4-0), coached by Taylor Gooch Gibbs (Cape 2015) at at 5:30 p.m., Friday, March 31. 

Opening Day - The smells of the city: diesel and unleaded fumes and electric trolley cars hissing. I grew up (but socially not much) the first 10 years of my life living in a row house on Huntingdon Street between 23rd and 22nd, three blocks from where the Phillies and Athletics played home games. I liked to hang by the corner bar on game days. I wasn’t allowed inside because I was 5. I snuck into games at Connie Mack Stadium wearing sneaks. The neighborhood was called Swampoodle before everything was a poodle/doodle. This area of North Philly is sometimes called the Badlands where you can pick up a three-bedroom row house for $100,000. Today, in 2023, I watch away games in the garage to get the sense of travel. 

Snippets - Cape football players are currently working hard in the weight room while many of the players are doing a spring sport. Fitness is fun and makes you feel good. Why athletes ever choose to go off road and give up on all that is such a mysterious mistake. There are two major sports stories I could not care less about: the final destinations of Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson. I see the wall has finally been built. I just didn't know it would be an online paywall. I sometimes can get over a wall I already paid for because they are very browser sensitive. Go on now, git!


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