Postcard perfect – The cross country meet at Polytech High School Oct. 28 in Woodside was run on a picture-perfect course under ideal weather conditions. High school runners wearing school colors running through fall foliage produce the best photos. A one-time lesson: In cross country, the low score wins; the place you get is the number you contribute to the total. The first five runners count, but runners six and seven can push back a top five from another team. It’s called displacement, as in, “We gotta get out of this place, man.” Most teams jog the course before and after the race, which gives them nine miles for the afternoon.
Health inspector – Restaurants and swimming pools – everybody gets freaked out with the news, “The health inspector is coming!” “Forget him and the rhino he rode in on,” is not the reaction you want from staff. You want everybody to get serious and start Windexing, sanitizing and socially distancing. The next worst thing is an undercover efficiency expert in a grocery store. At the Oct. 28 cross country meet hosted by Polytech, the Panthers were all into pandemic protocols, and I don’t blame them. And the word was the Division of Public Health was sending a representative to the meet. I just knew that wasn’t going to happen, but if one did show up, I was going to play the crazy old guy who rode in on a rhino and give the person a hug, saying, “I thought you were somebody else.”
Electric Factory – I was standing with a group of teacher friends 50 years ago who were prattling on about having seen the group Vanilla Fudge at the Electric Factory at 22nd and Arch Street in Center City Philadelphia. One of them said to me, “A great place, have you ever been there?” I said, “Yeah, I’ve been there,” and he laughed, “You’ve never been there, have you?” I said, “No.” He said, ”Neither have I, but decided it was easier to stay trapped in this lame conversation rather than map my way out of it. Why do we lie about such silly things?” I still reflexively misspeak (no one lies anymore) when asked if I was at a football or basketball game I missed. It’s just easier than making an excuse, because in spite of all the places I go, there will always be more places I don’t show up.
Delmar at Cape hockey – Fruity Pop Pop is out of the Froot Loop. I just know the Wildcats will play the Vikings on Monday, Nov. 2, at Champions Stadium – and yes, we all know it’s “the most important election of our lifetime” day, which is why we all need something to do besides fly a flag from the back of a pickup truck. Speaking of sneaky spectators, virtually all high school venues are soft targets. If you want to see the game, the bed of a pickup and pair of binoculars will work. I’ve seen more hominids through chain-link fences than at a weekday Philly Zoo school field trip. “A hominid is a member of the family Hominidae, the great apes – orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees – and humans.” I may be the only sportswriter with a degree in anthropology, my personal contribution to underachievement.
Snippets – I became a Dodgers fan during the baseball playoffs and I’m not sure why because I had no dog in the fight after the Phillies didn’t get in. The saturation of football on television and endless replays all start to look and sound the same to me. The Eagles playing at home on Sunday night are a heavy favorite to beat Dallas, which is the perfect setup to lay a case of angst on the city that would last a lifetime. The Ravens are four-point favorites over the Steelers. The Super32 wrestling tournament in South Carolina last weekend had as many as 150 wrestlers in a single weight class. I know that Cape’s Mikey Frederick and Carson Kammerer competed. The protocol was masked inside the arena for all people but not required during matches. Delaware has yet to solidify specific guidelines for the 2020-21 wrestling season. You know that digital-shot-to-the-head device that reads your temperature? I think they need one to check weight as well, and every athlete should be weighed at least once a week because it is relevant data and affects performance. But the subject is taboo in all sports except wrestling for fear of sending some young person to the land of eating disorders. Go on now, git!