A race suddenly invades solace space of solitary stretching man
Know when to fold up! - I watched seven innings of softball March 27 when Milford came to town, and if I heard the words "travel ball" once, it was like 50 times. Last summer I covered some tournament baseball and once again, it was travel this and that, but there were eight errors in a championship game, no doubt committed by players who don’t play travel ball. Get around lacrosse locally, and someone will wear you out about Atlantic, Hudson Fields, scoopers and those dreaded two words “Greene Turtle.” The Dan Patrick Show is on for three hours every day, and they have a five-second rule in effect for soccer talk; that is all that is allowed. I watch Cape’s Gary Montalto coach his teams and what he gets out of kids through soccer, and I am a fan. Go to Saturday morning Henlopen soccer at HOB and try to find a parking spot. There are youth and developmental programs all over the place, including Seashore Striders, Cape Crusaders, Cape Little Wrestlers and the most confusing of the all, Futures field hockey and national festivals. If a young athlete lives in your house and starts running the wheel of competitive sports, it's hard to know when and where to pull back. The emphasis gets out of whack. There is a destination station mentality, like everyone is heading toward a college scholarship. Fun can be excised from sports if too much emphasis is placed on final results. And don’t talk incessantly about your player and how great he or she is; leave that to others, although it is fun to prattle on.
Horizontal ladder - Last Sunday, a solitary man was standing in an empty playground stretching and dreaming of Olga Korbut 1972, Nadia Comaneci 1976 and Mary Lou Retton 1984 (OK, that was me) when a race of 80 people transgressed through his solace space. It was the April Fools run, and the first two racers did the horizontal overhead triangle ladder crawl that has sent so many children to emergency rooms across this country. It hurt my shoulders to watch it. The teenage runners showed up and made no attempt at apparatus hand-to-hand locomotion; they just ran under the equilaterals in anonymity. I thought the difference is, the younger generation is more likely to cheat and more likely to pay no attention to five minutes of Tim Bamforth directions before a race.
Fallen leaf - Ryan Leaf, the quarterback taken with a second pick after Peyton Manning in the 1998 NFL draft, is a player most pundits consider the No. 1 draft bust in NFL history. Leaf signed a $30 million contract with a $12 million signing bonus. He was arrested March 31 and charged with breaking and entering the homes of friends to steal prescription pain medication. What ever happened to robbing the beer refrigerator in your garage? Leaf is already on 10 years' probation for obtaining 1,000 pills through fraudulent prescriptions over an eight-month span, so is anyone getting the clue that this guy is addicted? This is a guy who 12 years ago had $12 million in the bank. Just imagine the extraordinary and creative measures run-of-the-mill unemployed addicts take to feed their addictions. Prison is not the answer, but that’s where Ryan Leaf is likely going.
Snippets - Spring is the sports hall of fame season, which means I have chicken to eat and stories to write, but one of my greatest fears is one of these places will run out of candidates and try to induct me just to fill up a table in a banquet room. Personally, I don’t want any part of enshrinement or acknowledgment anyway. I was never in 35 years named Teacher of the Year basically because I’m an underachieving slacker who told better stories than anyone else ever on classroom lockdown. “Fredman, the other class is on Chapter 7 and we haven’t even cracked the spine of our textbook.” “Trust me, girl, the only chapter you’ll have to worry about in life is Chapter 11.”
I took several photos of Mariner 800-meter runner Adam Goss at the March 30 middle school meet. He finished and his family and teacher hugged and cried, and to be honest, so did I - minus the hugging part because you can’t go hugging people you never met. The young man running track for the first time made his family very proud. I know it made me feel good. Go on now, git!