Cape Gazette
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People In Sports

Early commitment process for athletes is no joke - or is it?

By Dave Frederick | Aug 07, 2012
Photo by: Susan Frederick Magic Mikey, nine years old, porch poses with his custom- dyed lacrosse stick. Mikey ain't no joke and has verbally committed to Michigan as the age to lock in good players descends like a downward dog in a yoga class

Magic Mikey - Last Sunday morning, I presented grandbaby number five, Magic Mikey, with his own custom-dyed, color-coded lacrosse stick for his 9th birthday, whenever that was, some time in the not-too-distant past. Great thing about being a grandparent is you can always present a gift to a grandchild and claim to be slightly daft if it seems unnecessary, outlandish or age-inappropriate. I remember a dad recently bragging to me about his son's level swing with a baseball bat. "How old is this little guy?” I asked. The dad replied, “Five.” “You're nuts, you know that, don't you?” I responded.  “Freaking 5? How is he at throwing dirt bombs at moving targets?” The college commitment process has locked up athletes at younger and younger ages. That is why Mikey has already verbally committed to Michigan; it just takes all the pressure off when he gets to high school. Did I say Michigan committed back?

Garrett Reid - Anyone who follows the Eagles knows that 29-year-old Garrett Reid, oldest son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, was found dead in his dorm room at Lehigh University Sunday morning. Garrett worked with the Eagles' strength and conditioning staff. We all know the young man battled the demons of addiction and that he spent time in prison. Early reports say no suicide and no foul play, but young men don't up and die in their sleep without a cause. When my wife's cousin Larry O'Rourke was covering the Eagles for the Allentown Morning Call and was diagnosed with ALS, coach Andy Reid attended every fundraiser, gave Larry his own No. 1 parking space and made sure he was picked up in the parking lot and brought to the press box. The Eagles organization does a great job reaching into the community helping football fans with disabilities get to games. Michael Vick said, "He's been a rock for us and a big teddy bear for us, so we're going to lean on him, and we're going to be there for him, and we're going to stay strong for him until he comes back and can lead us on." That's Andy, always a player's coach. People who don't understand anything about addiction and mental illness will be throwing fast balls at Andy's head somehow blaming him for what happened, but any family member who has ever been thrust into that world knows there are no right decisions to make. My quote: “I can teach the class; I just can't play the game.”

Snippets - Any interested person can pick up a DVD of the Tom Hickman induction into the Ring of Honor of Legends Stadium at the Cape Gazette for $10. The family received 10 free ones and now I'm out of money; trust me, this 75-minute celebration and recognition of coach Hickman is a classic and you can fast forward past the parts where I'm telling stories. The 13 athletes from the 1971-72 state championship teams sharing short stories of what coach Tom Hickman has meant to them over their lifetimes should be mandatory viewing for all Cape coaches starting a new school year.  I admit to having grown weary of the media saturation bombing, the telling and retelling of the Michael Phelps story. And I don't need to see his mom ever again. Bob Costas and his Benjamin Button self (first noticed by Kenny Reidel) had a half-hour interview with Phelps Saturday night then again to start off the Sunday morning program. Enough! I give! Where are the 100-meter track races? At Cape two referendums - 30 years apart - to build a swimming pool failed when they just couldn't carry the Milton vote where this logical argument prevailed: “With all this water around here, why do we need a pool? That is just plain stupid.” Fall sports practices begin Wednesday, Aug. 15, so athletes, please don't show up without a physical and make sure it's a real one that lasts more than three minutes. Back in my day they didn't have EKGs; in fact, when practices began they didn't have water either.  Rebecca Pepper, Hannah Pepper and Jacki Coveleski are all listed on the roster of the 2012 University of Delaware field hockey team. Kaci Coveleski and Caroline Judge are on the roster at Northeastern University. Devon Price is a sophomore on the field hockey roster at Wesley College. Wesley does not list freshmen on the varsity football roster until camp has broken. Sam Mohr and TK Saez of Cape are buckled up and ready to try out. Jerome Johnson of Cape is listed with all the new freshmen at Salisbury University and now must work his way onto the roster on which players get actual numbers. John Coveleski retired June 30 as athletic director and head lacrosse coach at Del Tech Terry Campus. I somehow don't see Johnny as part of some early morning breakfast club for retired guys, but if he starts one I'll join. Go on now, git!

Larry O'Rourke and Coach Andy Reid hang out at Chickee and Pete's, a well-known Philly sports bar, in 2008.   Larry talks and Andy actually listens; those who know him well always describe Andy as a great guy. (Photo by: Dave Frederick)
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