People In Sports

Hal Barber saved my house and rescued my dog

Fred dogs don't rock bandannas
June 11, 2013

Hal in the house! - I see Dewey Beach Police officer Hal Barber double-digit times each summer - no, I’m not in cuffs or straight-legged pants - he’s the cop on the white cycle with blue helmet orchestrating race control at all the summer road races including the man-in-a-bull-costume-running-from-drunks race. Hal has been in law enforcement 30 years, the last 12 in Dewey; before that he was the chief in Lewes and also did a stint in Milton. Back in the 1980s my wife accidentally left a trouble light on a third-floor vinyl weight bench to go answer a call two floors down. The light burned through to a box of papers that ignited and set the wood-plank floor on fire. Susan called 911, and trucks came from everywhere. Chief Barber was there in 20 rotations of a dome light. He sprinted to the third floor with a fire extinguisher and put the kibosh on the conflagration. A few years later, my dog Barkley was kidnapped from King's Ice Cream on a Friday night, where he didn’t beg rather just waited for a fat tourist to drop the top scoop off a double decker that he inhaled like a hippie on a bong hit. Barkley was gone for like 10 days. We figured he took the ferry and it was a matter for the FBI. Then one Sunday a car driving erratically down Cedar Avenue was pulled over by Barber. The driver dude was armed with a loaded pistol and in a bit of incongruity had a golden retriever wearing a pink bandanna in the back seat. Barber locked the guy in the town cell then came and got and me, simply saying, “Get in the police car.” We drove to Cedar Avenue. Hal opened the door of the car and asked, “Is that your dog?” I took Barkley home and he slept for two weeks; he wouldn’t go to King's ever again. Now that is community policing.

Spencer Steele - Spencer showed up at the Bottle & Cork 5K Sunday to test himself over the distance. I told the former Cape all-state attack player, class of ’95, who later went on to Fairfield University to become the Stags' all-time leading scorer and an All-American, that action athletes usually run 5Ks rather slowly; it's just not what they are wired to do. Spencer smiled at me, knowing I’m a guy who sounds like he knows what’s up, but often I don’t. Steele, who helped coach the Cape boys last spring season, ran 22 minutes flat, which is tremendous on limited training and is now focusing on the Rehoboth Half Marathon in December.

Johnny Jones - John played soccer and basketball at Cape, graduating in 1995. He is the younger brother of Jeff Jones, a member of the 1977 Cape cross-country state championship team. John cracked the starting lineup for basketball coach Jerry Peden and still wakes up in the middle of the night hearing that high lonesome sound, “No! No! Johnny. Don’t shoot!” John’s goal on the summer racing series is to break 20 minutes. He went just under 22 at the Bottle & Cork, telling his training partner Spencer Steele, “I gots to go.”

Snippets - The Cape hockey and lacrosse athletes are already playing in tournaments and leagues; you just don’t hang banners by hanging around. If crossfit training is a good idea, then cross-skilled players are an even better one. If an employee is wet-mopping a wooden floor on a humid afternoon and your sweat-drenched, post-workout self elects to walk across it, then you are dumber than he is, but I can only “squeak” for myself.

The Cape Athletic Committee will meet on Monday, June 17, to discuss a new state-of-the-art scoreboard for Legends Stadium. The feasibility of middle school volleyball and cross country is also on the agenda.

The Viking girls' lacrosse camp for grades 5 through 9 is set for 9 a.m. till noon, June 18, 19 and 20. Coach is P.J. Kesmodel and counselors are Meg Bartley and Steve Aubrey. Email contact is

The Phillies are ridiculously annoying; many of them would be a downgrade on a College World Series team.

Coach Greg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs is as standoffish as his face and has total disrespect for the media who indirectly help to pay his salary. How does a team of multimillionaires lose 103-84 in a championship playoff game? “Yo, Pop! Eighty-four? That’s all you got, yo? “ The 1966 championship Sixers averaged 120 points in the playoffs and featured six players averaging double figures including Hall Greer, Wilt Chamberlain and Chet Walker, all over 22. Go on now, git!