Some athletes shine by simply outworking others
Out-crazy - I think some runners and triathletes confuse outwork with out-crazy, because you can always race a longer distance and train more miles or run in six races over a weekend, but someone somewhere will do all that just as a prelude to kayaking across the Delaware Bay just stopping long enough to free dive and spearfish a rockfish to use for one-arm curls just to get a bicep pump going. Don’t get me wrong; I love these people. There is a group whose members call themselves Certified Running Nuts. I spoke to some of them who run 120 races a year; that’s roughly $3,000 annually just on registration fees. I know some people run up a summer bar tab in the same amount; it just depends on how you choose to spend disposable income.
Go away - I want 64-year-old open-water distance swimmer Diana Nyad to go away now because I don’t think there is any question she is all the way nuts. Go to Broad and Chunk in North Philly, sit on a stoop and start going on about swimming from Cuba and see who gives a row house rat about it. Someday someone else will make that swim and then swim back while someone else will backstroke across with a lab puppy riding on his or her chest. Grand Mom Rose: "No matter what feat you accomplish, there will soon be a trump card played by someone else.”
Outwork - I know for a fact that at every level of competitive athletics - I’m talking here about athletes on teams, not over-the-top lifters and treadmill trekkers - it is possible to outwork teammates to win playing time. And that’s because most athletes talk a better workout game than train hard for the season. And the gains made through lifting and running are quickly lost in some programs where standing around in practice takes up half the time - you know, the getting-reps-then-rest model. You know, if the people with the most talent also worked the hardest, the rest of us wouldn’t have a chance.
Outhustle - In soccer it’s the dreaded 50/50 ball; in basketball it’s the loose ball and in lacrosse it's the ground ball. Football has the fumble and tipped ball; in baseball it’s the sinking liner or ball in the hole. I could go on, but I’m losing interest in myself. The person who wins or gets those balls is the person who wants it more, or so coaches seem to think. I think that's half the case; most athletes want it, but because there’s only one ball, only one can get it. I’ve seen some soccer people who would step on and gladly concuss their grandmothers to win a ball and lacrosse players who would scoop through a circle of cautious middies knocking anyone else who stood in their way into the middle of next week. Yes, I think you can outhustle people, especially the intelligent ones.
Outsmart - Coaches call it athletic IQ, which is quite different from academic IQ. I remember a 12-year-old Little League team on which all the infielders were Odyssey of the Mind finalists, but with the bases loaded and one out, a ground ball to the infield would produce indecision and confusion - just too many things moving at the same time. The funny thing is that the other kids on the field knew it, although admittedly they didn’t know much history, biology or derivative calculus.
Snippets - Hip-hop, hooray! The scholastic sport seasons are about to kick into high gear from Friday night football to soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country along with cheerleading and band. Any teacher who wants to get off to a good start should attend games or other student activities because “ain’t nobody care about your dumb class” unless you truly care about them as people. Only then do you have a fighting chance. Say it ain’t so, but you would be wrong.
Jenna Steele, Cape grad and Mary Washington student, was field hockey Offensive Co-Player of the Week in the Capitol Athletic Conference. Jenna played no offense while at Cape and last summer put on goalie pads to protect the cage in the lacrosse alumni game. Asked if her Mary Washington coaches would approve, she just smiled and said, “No.” Jenna is a retro-hippie; her Cape field hockey and lacrosse mates just love her.
Barbara Dougherty, aka One Tough Cookie, with a special connection to Cape Henlopen field hockey, will be honored by the town of Dewey Beach on Friday night with special recognition for her years of service as the town’s historian. Yes, it doesn’t sound interesting unless you know Barbara. Go on now, git!