Downtown downstate, and you ain’t never getting let up
Community embrace - At the 2009 Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Banquet, I was introduced to give the award to Cape girls' lacrosse as the Delaware Team of the Year. Six tables of Cape girls stood and clapped, saying my name, ”Fredman.” Other writers and broadcasters in the room looked on slightly bewildered. None of them live inside a community like Cape; we are a unique animal, all part of the same coat. I try not to be a “homer,” a Vikings cheerleader, when writing about Cape sports. But when another writer takes a shot at Cape I'd advise him to have it wired up and make sure he or she is coming with plenty of earned street cred because when you downtown downstate, “we” ain't never letting you back up. I recently told a longtime Cape friend, “It's really hard to get on my bad side and impossible to get off it.”
Don't trash tourists - It is almost impossible to be considered an authentic Sussex County local unless you can match Dave Truitt generation for generation going back 10. Back in 1975 when I showed up in Lewes, a woman told me, “If you're not from here, you'll never be considered from here.” She was right. I don't qualify as a local even today. I remember when Jeff Cannon was captain of the Rehoboth Beach Patrol in 1977, his favorite T-shirt just read “Tourist." I thought that was so cool as Jeff was a Milton, University of Delaware football guy but he understood “We are all tourists on Earth.”
Push comes to shove - In the last edition of the Cape Gazette there were five Fredericks over five pages (I was accused of neoptism and I responded, "We are players; not my fault."). It reminds me of 1975 when Hazel Brittingham, Cape region historian, said, “We don't have any Fredericks around here.” Well, there are plenty of them here now and not all related to me, either. Eden Frederick graduated from the Little Vikings program last Friday; her mom, Michelle Frederick, teaches at Milton Elementary. I have a niece, Michelle Frederick, not the same family. Milton's Michelle and I are not related. Former Dewey Beach Mayor Bob Frederick and I are not related, and his wife's name is Susan, same as my wife, and when his Susan was Rehoboth building inspector, sometimes a local resident would lobby my Susan for a code variance and I always told her, "Tell them go ahead, you will look the other way,“ but she wouldn't. By the way, none of us are local.
Danger of doping - The best advertisement against illicit drug use is the user himself. Take the neighborhood crackhead as an example who did more to thwart the epidemic than any government war on drugs. But athletes like Clemons, Bonds, Sousa, Palmeiro, Giambi, Marion Jones and many others - and now Armstrong - send a bad message to young athletes, because these athletes all look good and perform at the highest levels and are role models. I won't interview people I suspect of being “juiced” because they are bogus and attract followers and it's a deadly addiction that may cause your heart to blow up or create a hole in your brain. Schools need to do a better job of teaching the real side effects, and there's nothing worse than some bogus trainer at your local gym.
Snippets - A fully funded Division I field hockey or women's lacrosse program has 12 scholarships divided up over a team of 24 to 28 student athletes. The Ivy League schools don't give athletic scholarships, but at least they cost close to 60K a year.
Money is tough to find, getting noticed is tougher and many great players are left with, “Sure, you can try out if you want; just work on getting accepted.” Many athletes don't do what's good for them but rather do what they compulsively need to do, like run three road races in three days or 100 races in a year or dead lift enormous weight.
It's all a test; it lets you know you're alive, but it borders on crazy obsession. Young athletes need to train over the summer under the supervision of someone who understands sports-specific training methods; stronger, faster, leaner always translates to better. Any person who has a sporting event you think worthy of coverage, let me know.
Just google "Sussex County tourist" and see if my name pops up.
Go on now, git!