As I lay looking up the Texas-shaped water splotch on the ceiling — the one I’ve been meaning to paint over for approximately two years now — I wondered how I could possibly be so miserable when just yesterday I had lain in the very same place, looking up at the very same Texas-shaped water splotch, and been perfectly content. I had been perfectly happy, even. Maybe, even happier than I had been in a long time.
After their most successful season in over a decade, the bar for third-year head coach Jodi Stone and the Indian River High School field hockey team has officially been raised. This year, they’re aiming to score more goals. This year, they’re aiming to break the .500 mark. This year, they’re aiming for a Henlopen South title.
And after posting a 5-9-1 record in 2014, with three of those losses decided by two goals or less, and returning the majority of their 2014 roster, for the first time in more than a decade, the Indians could very well hit their target.
“We feel really good about this year,” said senior defender Callie McDowell of the expectations. “Last year, we had four or five games where we lost by one, could have tied, or did tie. We’re looking to put those in the win column this year. Every year, we just keep getting better.”
“We’re raising the bar,” added Stone. “We’re definitely there. We turned the corner last year.”
For the first time in nearly four decades, the Indian River High School football team won’t open their season with Ray Steele or Jimmy Bunting at the helm. But while both coaches will certainly be missed, newly appointed head coach and IR alum/former All-State selection Phill Townsend is ready to lead his squad into a new era, while at the same time building upon the impressive legacy and proud tradition set by his predecessors.
“We miss Coach Steele, but you just keep moving on, doing what you’re doing. I’m not really changing too much, I’m just tweaking it,” Townsend explained. “He did such a great job, and Coach Bunting before him. I’m just continuing their legacy, bringing my own twist.”
And just as the Indians’ will see a new, yet familiar, face holding the clipboard on Friday nights, they’ll also see some new, yet familiar, faces making impacts on the field, as voids left several by key seniors from 2014 need to be filled and former underclassmen step up to fill them.
Frankford was the site of some national pickleball action last weekend, when the First State Pickleball Club hosted their Summer Classic on their official courts at John M. Clayton Elementary School.
Pickleball players from as far as Florida and Arizona made their way to Delaware for the tournament, with around 100 of them joining spectators and guests to form the number “50” on the courts for an aerial shot in honor of the sport’s 50th anniversary.
Several local players finished strong, with the full results of the tournament as follows:
Shorebirds fans will get their final chance to see their team in action in 2015 as Delmarva approaches their final homestand of the season, spanning from Saturday, Aug. 29, to Wednesday, Sept. 2.
They’ll face Hickory during the five-game stretch, before hitting the road to take on Lakewood for the final games of the 2015 season.
Athletes and supporters can bring their walking shoes, kids or dog to join some of the Bethany Beach Patrol lifeguards on the new 1-mile walk course at the Bethany Beach Patrol Alumni & Seashore Striders’ 7th Annual Ed Dean Memorial 4-Mile Run, to raise money for a scholarship to benefit a current lifeguard on the Bethany Beach Patrol.
This year’s race will take place rain or shine on Saturday, Aug. 29. The course begins beside Magnolia’s Seafood Bar & Grill on Cedar Neck Road and continues on roads and trails through the Fresh Pond State Park in Ocean View.
Earning a scholarship from the alumni in memory of the former captain Ed Dean is a true honor for a guard, organizers noted. First, the scholarship is an investment in the academic promise of a lifeguard in the name of a long-time educator. And second, it is also a reward for the selflessness of saving lives and devotion to the camaraderie that makes the Bethany Beach Patrol so successful, they said.
The fourth annual Bethany Beach First Responders Sprinternational Triathlon-Duathlon-Aquabike, sponsored by Meris Properties, will be on Sunday, Sept. 20. Triathlon-Duathlon-Aquabike proceeds will benefit the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company and first responders, with options to support Autism Speaks and Share-A-Lot. Triathlon, duathlon and aquabike races are now open for registration.
The Bethany Beach First Responders Sprinternational Triathlon-Duathlon-Aquabike begins at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20. It is a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event, produced by Focus MultiSports. The event will start with a point-to-point ocean swim. The transition area will be on Garfield Parkway and Atlantic Avenue in downtown Bethany Beach. The bike and run will encompass Bethany Beach, North Bethany, Indian River Bridge and South Bethany. The race will end on the Bethany Beach boardwalk, with an after-party at Mango’s catered by sponsor Bethany Blues. The awards ceremony will be at the boardwalk bandstand.
I think my imagination was initially kindled by the picture of my mother, Alice Barnes, and Carolyn Hughes standing in the doorway of an inn at Bethany Beach, Journey’s End, called “Fort Maggie,” for “Auntie” Margaret Hughes, the proprietor during the war years, when the husbands were otherwise engaged in Europe and Asia.
The Delaware National Guard was busy guarding against the possibility of a German invasion on the Atlantic coast, so the inn had been, at least, partly, “mobilized” for the “duration.” The two young women were dressed in semi-military attire, grinning and saluting the camera. It’s a great picture — full of life, humor and, maybe most important, a healthy dash of silliness.
My very first memories are of Bethany Beach, although I can’t really be sure, of course. I was born during the war, in 1943. When my father, Ned Barnes — an officer in the OSS — shipped out to Burma and India, Alice, my mother, and a couple of other women in Washington who were lucky enough to have been friends of Carolyn’s, discovered they could move to Journey’s End in Bethany, with their infant children in a few cases, for a large chunk of the year.
The First State was well-represented by the First State Pickleball Club when dozens of Delawareans recently made the trip to Minneapolis for the 2015 National Senior Games, in which 12,000 athletes from across the country showed up, having all qualified in statewide competition, with Delaware being led by the grand dame of Delaware athletes, Marion Lisehora.
Five Delaware players medaled in the competition, with six others finishing in the top 10 of their national category.
“It’s an honor to be competing on the national stage against some of the best pickleball players in the U.S.,” said First State Pickleball Secretary Cheryl Martin. “Our club players were in serious contention, competing at a high level with the best. The state of Delaware was well-represented on the podium.”
Imagine the horror of arriving at the airport to learn the airline has no record of your plane tickets. Now multiply that by 32 people and add $40,000. That’s the heart-stopping travel nightmare that a Little League team from Hagåtña, Guam, experienced when they and their parents tried to board a plane for the Little League World Series in Delaware.
The teenage girls were excited to represent the Asia-Pacific region for the Senior League Softball World Series, played this week in Roxana. After playing in the 2010 series, Jessilyn Balajadia, 21, was returning to coach her little sister, under their father, manager Jesse Balajadia.
Luckily, they planned to fly early, on July 31, and stay a day in Philadelphia, with plenty of time before opening ceremonies on Aug. 2. But when they arrived at the airport in Guam, there were no reservations.
Landing just shy of greatness, Lower Sussex Little League put on a good show last week in Connecticut.
Locally considered the Major League All-Star softball team, the age 11/12 girls were named the Mid-Atlantic champions, though they were first runner-up in the overall Little League Softball Eastern Regional tournament.
Next week, the Lower Sussex Little League Complex in Roxana will be inundated with softball players from around the globe, for the Big League and Senior League Softball World Series.
World-class players ranging in age from 13 to 18 will compete in the two tournaments, which begin Sunday, Aug. 2, and run through Sunday, Aug. 8.
I found out that I had a clavicle this week. Then, I found out that is was broken. Really broken, actually. Like snapped in half and sticking out all over the place broken. Like Owen Wilson in Act III of the movie “Wedding Crashers” broken.
It turns out that, after defying injuries while dropping into the Fenwick shore break for the past 15 years, fate (or Poseidon or Tom Cruise or whatever other mystical forces of the universe and the ocean that were supposed to be watching over me) finally dropped the ball.
The good news is I’ll be back in action in about four to six weeks. The bad news is the Little League World Series gets under way on Sunday and, while my photo-shooting arm should be alright, my mustard-spreading arm is hanging in a sling.
But like all great athletes — or at least sports reporters who write about great athletes — the show must go on, mustard-less hotdogs and all. So, in a misguided attempt to alleviate some self-pity, I decided to take look at a few other tough guys (or girls) who have successfully battled through injuries over the years.
Last summer, the “90 Seconds Movie” helped put some of Delmarva’s top surfing talent on the map. But this Friday, when the event makes its return to K-Coast Surf Shop, the men behind the curtain have something a little different up their sleeves for year two.
“We just wanted to show our gratitude to our local photographers and help get their work out there in the public eye,” explained local professional surfer Colin Herlihy, who helped orchestrate the event, along with videographer Joey Dwyer and Crazy 8’s owner Eugene Stiltner. “Last year, it was all about the local surfers, videographers and editors. This year, we wanted to pay homage to our local photographers.”
After giving out awards in categories such as “Best Air” and “Best Barrel” last year, local photographers this year submitted their 90-second slideshow for the “Framed” show, competing in categories including “Best Water Shot,” “Best Sequence Shot,” “Best Empty Wave or Lineup Shot,” “Best Usage of White Balance” and “Best Delmarva Lifestyle Photo.”