Cape Gazette
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People In Sports

We can all dunk on an adjustable basket

By Dave Frederick | Apr 27, 2012
Photo by: Chuck Snyder Cape's state championship mile relay team pictured here includes in back (l-r)  Jeff Williams, coach Tom Hickman and Jim Flood. In front are Brad Waples and Les Freeman.

Delightfully improbable - Joel Ward is a hockey player of color and the fourth-line winger for the Washington Capitals who knocked in the sudden-death overtime, game seven winning goal against the Boston Bruins April 25, sending the defending Stanley Cup champions to the bonus room of the off season.  I remember Chris Rock joking years ago, “Why would I go to a hockey game when the only black thing in the arena except me is the puck?” Joel is Canadian born; his parents are immigrants from Barbados. Bob Marley lyric: “I don’t care where you come from, if you’re a black man you’re an African.” Ward has a $12 million contract and what it all means is I live in a world that I barely understand, which makes it more interesting.

Valeri Borzov - This Russian sprinter won gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, the first and last “white guy” to hold the title of World’s Fastest Human. Borzov's fastest 100-meter time was 10.0. No white sprinter has ever run under 10 seconds, and when it happens the first question will be, “Is he white enough?” This is Penn Relays weekend at Philadephia’s Franklin Field, and 40,000 fans will pack the stadium on Saturday and watch every race. And somewhere on a relay some white sprinter will “blow up his leg” on a relay, leaving everyone else behind, and the fans will all go “Wuuuuuu!”  Sports fans love to witness the improbable; that’s why Jeremy Lin was such a phenomenon while it lasted. This is not about obsession but observation of differences. If it makes you uncomfortable, go lower the basket in your driveway until you find a height where you can dunk.

Back off the coaches - Step between the lines and put yourself out there as a coach, and some fence-hangers are going to take their shots and it’s almost always personal, as opposed to the coach's offending some universal sports laws of justice. I’m sure Dave McDowell won’t mind, but when he went through a rough stretch as Cape’s head football coach, I had to mention that he lost a kidney in high school, giving up his playing career, and lost a brother during the Vietnam War. I just want people to realize that they're yelling at a person with a family history, just like them. There are a few adults out there right now who are just hammering coaches with their trifling behavior, and again I’d say you have no idea what challenges and changes that coach is experiencing.  Look in the mirror and ask yourself, "Am I nuts?” If the answer is yes, then go start a travel ball team.

Beacon or Mariner - Sometimes our sports section may include some middle school stuff, but mostly we can’t get there, what with 10 spring sports in high school and all the other sports that have nothing to do with school sports.  I don’t have a balance sheet; I usually can’t tell you where I was last week, and yes, my son is principal at Beacon, but my daughter teaches at Mariner, and if I have a preference of one over the other I am unaware of it, just like I’m unaware that I’m less than perfect.

Snippets - The Cape lacrosse boosters will celebrate Brian Tappan Day Wednesday, May 2, at Legends Stadium. Cape will host Polytech with JV action starting at 5:30 p.m.  Brian Tappan No. 33 T-shirts will be on sale for $10.  Brian was injured and partially paralyzed in an ATV accident in 2010. He will be there - a really cool kid - so get up off some mad money and help out. The dedication for Tom Hickman’s inclusion as a member of Legends Stadium will be some date in late May.  A plaque with inscription and etched image has been ordered; now all we have to do is trick the 90-year-old World War II hero, double All-American, state championship coach and practical joker who never got caught to show up and behave himself. Above is a picture of Cape’s state champion mile relay team.

Go on now, git!

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