One-trick Poppy: Falling back to one game a day

April 12, 2024

One-trick Poppy - There are more streamers than the Philly New Year's Day Mummers Parade at most athletic events I cover. I just take photos at games and try to figure it all out later if generation digital cooperates with posting results, which often they do not. I am Columbo with two good eyes. I took photos of Mariner hosting Worcester Prep Tuesday afternoon. I was not on assignment, but as Fred Pop alias Fruity Pop Pop, because granddaughter Meredith Fred is a seventh-grade captain on the team. The Worcester Prep roster was filled with names I knew, and I probably know more Worcester Prep girls’ and boys’ lacrosse history than anyone who doesn’t own a Fighting Mallards sweatshirt. Worcester Prep won 11-8. Mariner scorers were Blair Chubb with four, Meredith Frederick with three and Emmilyn Swope with one. Penelope Bohl had three saves for Mariner. I searched for Worcester Prep goal scorers, but as they say at Western Auto, “No dice.” There was a boys’ game that followed, but I split like an amped amoeba – just can’t do back-to-back games.

Quaalude kids - Anyone younger than me I consider a kid, so that includes all professional athletes. I believe too much coolness and poise is not a good look; it's like a dull razor with just no competitive edge. Jalen Hurts’ too-cool-for-school demeanor permeated last year's Eagles team; they looked and played like they didn’t care. This Phillies team projects the same attitude. I want to see batters like Pirate Manny Sanguillen, now 80 years old, a hacker who chased balls out of the strike zone using the bat like a club. Boasting a .296 lifetime batting average with rare walks, he now operates Manny’s barbecue-style concession stand at PNC Park. How many sub-.200 batting average guys can you afford in one lineup? I’ll answer that. One. Johan Rojas, playing center field, should get an RBI for every run he saves. Nick Castellanos at .163, Schwarber at .208, Stott at .211, and Harper at .214. Meanwhile, Edmudo Sosa, batting .750 with a home run, is on the bench.  

Coastal community service - I used to joke to students, “I want to see people doing community service who haven’t been sentenced by a court of law or looking to embellish a resumé or knocking off required honor society clock hours.” You do it just because you do it. This weekend is the Coastal Delaware Running Festival, with a 5K on Saturday and a 9K, half-marathon and marathon on Sunday. I’ll be out there doing my community service to the running community. My motto for photos is “free and overpriced.” I once covered a three-hour Little League game played on a stale-air night punctuated by no-see-ums and greenheads. Afterward, the coach asked, “Hey, how come you take all those photos and write so much about runners?” “Because they love me and appreciate it,” was all I could think of to say. Go to to learn all about this extravaganza, or read Tim Bamforth’s running column. 

Tee off - Gary Player (88 years old), Jack Nicklaus (84) and Tom Watson (74) hit ceremonial tee shots to start the 2024 Masters golf tournament. Teeing up their own ball for guys in their 80s is challenging, but they did it. Ceremonial first pitches, free throws, hurdles or anything else physical when you’re well past prime is an honor I would avoid at all cost to my reputation.

Resistance training - Those young athletes who stay in perpetual motion, pursuing with passion a sport they just love to play, always end up as pretty good players. But at some point an adult will intervene and introduce them to training, from weights to anaerobic repeats. An adult can’t dumb down a smart kid, no matter how inept their teaching/coaching style, but I think you can hurt an aspiring athlete by having them working on a max bench before they pass through puberty. 

Snippets - Sussex Central wrestling coaches Shane Miller, Head Coach of the Year, and Justin Illian, Assistant Coach of the Year, were announced as Division I Coaches of the Year at the all-state banquet. The awards are voted on by Delaware Westling Coaches Association and presented by the Delaware Wrestling Alliance. O.J. Simpson has died from cancer at the age of 76. The Heisman Trophy winner and 2,000-yard rusher was acquitted of a double murder charge ... his entire life track is just mind-boggling. Go on now, git! 


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