Sharks and sequels

Date Published: 
June 13, 2014

Growing up surfing in Delaware and Maryland, I haven’t had many encounters with sharks — but that doesn’t mean I didn’t worry about them.

Most people that I know who surf think about sharks at least little bit, no matter where they get in the water — and the ones that say that they don’t are probably lying. I mean, seriously, in what other sport on earth is there a chance that you’ll be eaten while you’re competing?

As a kid, I was a little more concerned, but as the years went on, I started to realize that Maryland and Delaware beaches aren’t exactly shark-attack central.

When I moved to Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and Charleston, S.C., for a while, I would look down at my feet a little more frequently while I was out for a surf session. However, for the most part, as an adult, sharks have been out-of-sight, out-of-mind — until last week.

By now, you’ve probably heard that there was a suspected shark attack at the Cape Henlopen State Park last Monday, in which 16-year-old was treated for gashes on his arm from what he described as a shark attack.

I was in the water that day, surfing a little farther south, in Ocean City. I wasn’t thinking about sharks, despite seeing a photo of a great white on Instagram a few days before that was claimed to have been caught offshore.

The only thing I was thinking about was how I couldn’t move my arms and trying not to drown after a “summer of George” winter — yeah, I know the waves were good all winter, but I’ve got a lot going on and there’s a hole in my wetsuit boots. Also, in my old age [Editor’s note: Tripp just recently hit the big 2-8, so we’re not exactly sympathizing about his old-age pains], I’m starting to like 30-degree water temps less and less — call me crazy.

Even after hearing the news on Tuesday of what I had grown up fearing as a child (thanks a lot, Shark Week), I don’t know that it’ll stop me from getting in the water again.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t at least a little bit unsettling, someone having their arm chomped on so close to where I live — but I like to think that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t let the possibility of something bad happening stop them from chalking up life experiences.

I mean, if I’m not going to go surfing again because I might get bitten by a shark, I may as well never eat pizza again because I might get E. coli and die — and, trust me, I’m never gonna stop eating pizza, which may be why I could barely paddle out last Monday.

I realize that this is a sports column, so if shark attacks and surfing aren’t enough of a tie-in for you, I have this to say about the NBA Finals: C’mon, man. The sequel is never as good as the original, just ask Chevy Chase — I mean there’s probably nothing funnier than “Caddyshack” and “Fletch,” but there’s probably nothing invariably worse than “Caddyshack II” and “Fletch II” (OK, E. coli is definitely worse).

I mean the story line in “Fletch” was already tough enough to ignore, despite Chase’s comic genius, and then in “Fletch II” they — you know what, I’m starting to digress, which I guess means you could consider this the sequel to another column you probably read at the beginning of this paper, and you know what they say about sequels...