Cape Gazette
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People In Sports

LeMaire service a tribute to community caring

By Dave Frederick | Jul 27, 2012
Muppets are always colorful and theatrical.

Coalescing of community - I have always likened Sussex County to Sesame Street with thousands of colorful muppets knocking about crashing into each other, a virtual kaleidoscope of lifestyles, playing under a double rainbow arched over a dreamy gray ocean. “Just another muppet in the village” is an expression I use all the time when I'm asked if I like certain fringe characters, adding, “I don't want to marry them or change anybody; it all makes life more interesting.”

The Kevin LeMaire sudden passing from the village at the age of 44 brought out 800 to his viewing and another 400 to an early morning remembrance on the beach. That was the manifestation that a connected community still exists here; there is a safety net tied together by real friendship and personal history that catches families and friends suddenly leveled by the unexpected loss of a muppet friend or family member. I have written hundreds of remembrances to “absent friends,” and I'm always struck that many of the core character traits of the person I knew are easily recognized by other people who knew them. The great thing about being part of this village is that no one is trying to canonize anyone by eulogy. We all know each other, the good, the bad and the problematic. The embedded life lesson: If you need a friend, just call out and hundreds of muppets and a few telletubbies will come running to your door. "Fredman, Tinky Winky and Kermit are here to see you.”

Flatter chatter - I'll grit my teeth and take a compliment - at the most two - but beyond that I warn a person, “I'm starting to not trust you and not like myself; let's talk about something else.” Joe Paterno didn't ask to be the iconic Joe Pa, but he allowed it to happen. It's better not to have your life result in a statue; that way your life legacy can't be carted away in a single day on the prongs of a forklift. My brother Tom played at Penn State and for two years was a roommate of Jerry Sandusky. A group of guys who came to campus in 1962, when Rip Engle was head coach and Paterno an assistant, and their families have known each other for 50 years. “People who have never told a joke in their lives stand in line to tell me Penn State jokes,” Tom said. “And some come the next day with a brand-new joke. It is really bizarre.” Grandmom Rose: “The loudest voices shouting out in righteous indignation are the ones that need to be investigated.” Ain't that always the truth? There should be a support group for the offended, outraged and appalled.

Marge Degnan - Seventeen years ago beloved Cape teacher and track coach Bill Degnan was felled by an attack of myocarditis. He was quickly airlifted from Lewes to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. The strong and relentlessly fit former college shot put champion didn't make it. I was one of Bill's good friends and became close friends with his parents after Bill died. Bill's dad died Dec. 11, 2011. Marge passed July 25, 2012, from Alzheimer's disease at the age of 82. Embrace your life and stay thirsty, my friends; these were three wonderful people. Kathleen Leonard, Patricia Chamberlain and Rose Enright are surviving daughters of Marge and Bill.

Snippets - Twenty-eight Cape lacrosse girls spanning three age-group teams played Eastern Shore club lacrosse this summer; just a few years ago only Liz Carpenter and Lillie Lingo played. The pipeline is packed with good players; the female athletes at Cape “ain't no joke.” Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, professional sports' most gifted relapse-prone athlete, is in a serious funk at the plate, and Nolan Ryan is not happy, saying he never saw a top player just "giving away an at bat." This may have nothing to do with relapse, but Hamilton is a tattooed brooder and that can lead to self-medication. What do tattoos have to do with any of this? I don't know; just so many who play the part look the part. Haywood Burton has been running evening basketball tournaments in Slaughter Neck and said if I don't get out there soon with my camera I will lose my “hood pass.” I want that on a placard I can hang from my mirror.

Go on now, git!

Mary Lippiatt and Kathy Leonard stand behind Marge Degnan after the 2008 Bill Degnan 5K. (Photo by: Dave Frederick)
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