Sports

Team Surfgimp

Coastal Point • Submitted: Team Surfgimp gathers at the north side of the Indian River Inlet on Sunday, Oct. 15.Coastal Point • Submitted: Team Surfgimp gathers at the north side of the Indian River Inlet on Sunday, Oct. 15.Team Surfgimp started nine years ago as a call for a few volunteers to help Jay Liesener realize his dream of surfing. At the time, Liesener had been paralyzed for almost 20 years. But the team has ended up to being so much more.

Liesener’s life forever changed at age 17, when a trampoline accident left 85 percent of his body paralyzed.

“No, he wasn’t a gymnast,” said Liesener’s wife, Melanie. “He was just an adrenalin-fueled kid. He still is, in many ways. You know, he hang-glides, too!”

The first few years after the accident involved hospitalizations, rehabilitation and taking classes at the University of Maryland. They were not the college years he had anticipated: an education supplemented with fun, frolic and friends. That whole life was gone. Rather, Liesener’s focus was trying to get his hands to work, his electric wheelchair to negotiate the campus and his body to avoid causing embarrassment.

Homecoming heartache

IR football falls to Seaford 32-20

Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: QB Jalen Snead, above, hands the ball off to RB Kevin Custis during IR’s 32-20 loss to Seaford during Homecoming week.Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: QB Jalen Snead, above, hands the ball off to RB Kevin Custis during IR’s 32-20 loss to Seaford during Homecoming week.It was Friday the 13th. A steady rain pelted players and the hardy spectators who huddled to watch Indian River High School’s football team lose this year’s Homecoming game to Seaford’s Blue Jays 32-20.

Seaford freshman FB/LB Brandon Gibbs broke through Indian tackles to score the Blue Jays’ first touchdown with 3:44 minutes left on the first-quarter clock. Seaford’s conversion failed, but IR receivers fumbled the kickoff back to Seaford, who came close but couldn’t take advantage of IR’s mistake.

Seaford reigned 6-0 when the first half expired. The Blue Jays out-scored the Indians 14-12 in the third quarter. Seaford freshman HB/DB Leroy McLaughlin found a hole in the Indians’ defense, shook off several attempted tackles, and ran in Seaford’s second touchdown. That time, the point-after kick went wide, and the Blue Jays extended their lead to 12-0.

Junior quarterback Jalen Snead took a keeper across the goal line for the Indians with 4:41 minutes remaining in the third quarter. IR’s extra-point attempt went wide and they trailed 12-6.

Without the knees, you can’t bring home the cheese

The Eastern Shore was fairly remote up to the 1950s, and the only major connections, before they built the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, were a ferry crossing or a couple two-lane roads from Wilmington.

IR boys’ soccer nets another win

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Oscar Cruz boxes out a defender during Indian River’s 4-2 win over Seaford on Thursday, Oct. 5.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Oscar Cruz boxes out a defender during Indian River’s 4-2 win over Seaford on Thursday, Oct. 5.Indian River High School’s boys’ soccer team improved their conference season record to 5-2 with a dominant 4-2 win over Seaford High School last Thursday, Oct. 5.

IR was first on the scoreboard, as senior Oscar Cruz Osorio hit the game’s first goal at 26:21, with an assist from junior Luke Morgan.

“We knew they’d be a tough opponent,” Cruz Osorio said. “We had to work extra hard today, especially since it was a conference game. We put more players in the middle. At first, we started with a 4-3-3 — we wanted to see how it was.

“Once we saw that we could go forward a lot more, we put numbers up — more people in the middle. That helped us find the strikers, and we could get into the attack a lot more.”

Seaford senior midfielder Andy Elorge tied it at 1-1 with a penalty kick. With less than 2 minutes in the first half, the Indians’ Jared Cordoba got a head shot into the goal to give IR a 2-1 lead at halftime.

Cruz started the Indians’ second-half scoring with a penalty kick. IR senior Wilberth Gonzalez Gomez sealed the win several minutes later.

Smyrna stops IRHS volleyball win streak

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls : IR’s Sierra Johnson sends the ball over the net against Smyrna in Tuesday night’s loss.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls : IR’s Sierra Johnson sends the ball over the net against Smyrna in Tuesday night’s loss.Indian River High School’s varsity volleyball team suffered their first loss of the season on Tuesday night at home, at the hands of the Smyrna Eagles, ending the Indians’ win streak at eight.

Smyrna won a hard-fought first match 25-18. IR rebounded, taking the next set 25-18 and tying the game 1-1. Then IR took the lead with a 25-19 third-set win. Smyrna tied it back up with a 25-18 fourth set, forcing a first-to-15 tie-breaker set, which the Eagles handily won, 15-2.

“There was a lot of good play tonight. I was really hoping we’d come out with a win tonight,” said IR head coach Jim Barnes. “I’m really proud of the girls. I really felt we could beat Smyrna.

“They’re a great team,” he added. “They just served very well at the end, and we just couldn’t make the offensive moves to win the game. Our passing wasn’t there to set up the play, and we just kept turning it over to them.

IR football suffers fourth straight loss

Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: Indian River quarterback Jalen Snead rushes the football against the Lake Forest defense.Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: Indian River quarterback Jalen Snead rushes the football against the Lake Forest defense.Saturday, Oct. 7, may have been a happy homecoming football game for the Lake Forest Spartans, but on the Spartans’ home turf, it was also the Indian River High School football team’s fourth straight loss.

After their narrow 21-20 win over Glasgow High School back on Sept. 7, they’ve suffered losses at the hands of Polytech High School (39-21), St. Marks High School (51-13), Delmar High School (41-6) and now Lake Forest High School, 28-14.

While his team lost, for Indians sophomore LB/FB JaQuan Floyd, it wasn’t such a bad day. The 6-foot, 2-inch 200-pound Floyd crossed the goal line twice for the Indians. The Spartan offense scored on the game’s first drive, and Floyd responded by picking up a kickoff fumble and running across the goal line to tie the game 7-7.

“It felt good getting those two touchdowns,” Floyd admitted. “I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing the team. We just didn’t capitalize on winning. We’ve got to keep pushing and work hard.”

A pickle and a movie review

Before there was unequal prize money in tennis, there was no prize money in tennis. The various national tennis associations paid the player’s expenses and then pocketed the proceeds from the gate of national events to fund their own organizations and sometimes overinflated egos. The players were little more than indentured servants.

Battle of the undefeated

IRHS volleyball goes to 8-0 against DCHS

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls : Julia Bomhardt lays into the volleyball with a spike in Tuesday night’s win over Delmarva Christian High School.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls : Julia Bomhardt lays into the volleyball with a spike in Tuesday night’s win over Delmarva Christian High School.On Tuesday night, Indian River High School’s varsity volleyball team entered their home gym, packed with spectators, to face a formidable 8-0 Delmarva Christian High School team. With perseverance and determination, IR’s team — themselves also undefeated, 7-0 — came out fighting and, despite early losses, fought back to win the match, 3-2.

“They played well,” said IRHS head coach Jim Barnes. “I thought they played really well in the beginning. They were the better team in the first two sets. I thought our girls played well and stuck with it. You never know — that’s why you play five sets. We picked it up. We had to pick it up against that team.”

“We needed more offense, made some adjustments, and the girls played well and we came through,” he added.

“Delmarva Christian High School’s volleyball team is a very good volleyball team. That’s why they’re undefeated and that’s why this was such a good game tonight,” said Barnes. “You had two undefeated teams going at it. You couldn’t ask for a better matchup, and certainly I’m pleased with the outcome.”

IR field hockey ends week with wins

Special to the Coastal Point photos • Bruce Walls: Sammi Whelen advances the balls upfield during IR’s 10-3 win over Worcester Prep on Friday, Sept. 29.Special to the Coastal Point photos • Bruce Walls: Sammi Whelen advances the balls upfield during IR’s 10-3 win over Worcester Prep on Friday, Sept. 29.After defeating Caesar Rodney High School’s varsity field hockey team 3-0 last Tuesday, Sept. 26, at home, the Indian River High School team went on the road for two wins later in the week.

On Thursday, Sept. 28, the Indians slayed Sussex Central’s Golden Knights, and on Friday, Sept. 29, they blew the feathers off of Worcester Prep’s Fighting Mallards, 10-3, to improving their record to 4-0-2.

The Indians got both of their goals against the Golden Knights in the first period.

Senior midfielder Kaleigh Cordrey struck first, with 21:44 minutes remaining in the first period. Then, with 0:19 seconds left in the first period, sophomore attacker Avery Congleton scored the Indians second and final goal, with an assist from freshmen attacker Kayler Townsend.

“It really was fun. Everybody worked good as a team, and we were very successful,” freshman attacker Kayler Townsend said of the win.

IR football drops 41-6 loss to Delmar at home

Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls:  An IR runner tries to get through the pile against Delmar on Friday, Sept. 29.Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls: An IR runner tries to get through the pile against Delmar on Friday, Sept. 29.Last Friday, Sept. 29, third-ranked Delmar High School’s Wildcats (2-1) handed Indian River’s Indians a humbling 41-6 defeat at home.

The Wildcats scored their first touchdown on their opening play and added an extra point. The Wildcats would get across the goal line two more times before Indians sophomore running back Kevin Custis scrambled across the goal line for IR’s only touchdown, with 11:53 minutes still on the clock. The kick went wide, and the Indians’ downfall began.

“We gave up some early touchdowns, got down quick, and their offense is very well sound — they’re well-coached. They beat us up front tonight, especially the offensive line,” said IR Head Coach Phillip Townsend.

“We didn’t get the surge up front that we needed on defense to make stops, and we didn’t wrap up a couple times. We just gave up big plays. We’d have a stop or two, and then we’d give up 10- or 15-yard big play. You can’t win games like that,” Townsend said.

Indian River hosts cross-country trip-meet

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: The first male runners across the finish line on Sept. 17 were Tony Velasquez and Patrick Spencer (newly elected junior class president).Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Indian River High School’s cross-country course begins behind their football stadium’s visitor’s side, quickly heading into the woods behind the school along grassy paths, leading to an opening by the soccer field. From there, the 3.1-mile course returns to the woods and eventually to the finish line behind the tennis courts.

Last Wednesday, Sept. 17, IR invited teams from Dover High School and Delmar High School to a varsity tri-meet, including those school’s girls in the competition. That day, winds blew sustained at 10-15 mph, occasionally whipping up to 25 mph.

“Everyone has to deal with the wind,” said IR girls’ head coach Katie Raymond. “The woods will shield them from the wind, but once they get to the soccer field, it’s all open.”

The first male runners across the finish line on Sept. 17 were Tony Velasquez and Patrick Spencer (newly elected junior class president).Tony Velasquez was IR’s first male runner to reach the finish line. Velasquez completed the course in 19:06 minutes.

“It was a pretty good race,” said Velasquez, a 16-year-old junior. “I just ran and did what I mostly do. I pushed myself at the end. When I see that finish line, I just do what I do — run hard.”

IR’s first female to cross the finish line was 16-year-old junior Sarah Roehl.

“It’s pretty hard,” Roehl said of her run. “We kind of had an advantage because it’s our home course, but it’s always a tough run,” she described, adding that the wind encouraged her to run harder and faster.

Delmar Wildcat A. Cabe turned in the meet’s fastest time, with a run of 16:34 minutes. Following Cabe in the top five of 67 entries were Dover runners G. Williams (17:26), N. Guy (18:16), S. Courtney (18:53) and Velasquez.

Pickleball points — Picking pickles and the pickleball tour

This week, I became enamored with the title “Picking Paddles,” but I am a little shaky on the rest of the story. Well, here goes…

Muscle cars will be on display at Selbyville luau

A luau in October? Why not?

To celebrate the grand opening of their muscle-car showroom, the Speed Shop in Selbyville will host a luau-themed ribbon-cutting party on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sports center asks County for support

Members of the Sussex Sports Center Foundation this week requested that Sussex County financially support their endeavor at the Sussex County Council meeting on Sept. 26, giving a presentation on the project to the council.

The foundation is planning to build a sports facility for resident and visitor use in Georgetown, just north of Route 9 on Sandhill Road.

IR blanks Caesar Rodney 3-0 in field hockey

Special to the Coastal Point photos • Bruce Walls: The Indian River girls’ lacrosse team took down Caesar Rodney 3-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 26.Special to the Coastal Point photos • Bruce Walls: The Indian River girls’ lacrosse team took down Caesar Rodney 3-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 26.Indian River High School’s varsity field hockey team defeated Caesar Rodney’s Riders 3-0 on Tuesday, on the Indians’ home field. IR struck early and kept the ball in CR territory throughout most of the game.

“We connected right away. They kept up scoring throughout the game, which was nice,” described IR head coach Judi Stone.

Sophomore Avery Congleton hit two goals in the first half. Her first goal was at 27:00, her second at 16:55. Assisting were sophomore Rylie Cordrey and freshman Kayler Townsend.

According to Stone, having younger talent on her team is “awesome, because I get to keep them longer.”

In the second half, Indians freshman Morgan McGee hit the team’s final goal, with an assist by Cordrey.

IR outshot CR 8-2 and had six penalty corners to CR’s two. Although the Indians missed some shooting opportunities, Stone said she was pleased with her team’s offense.

Pickleball Points — Bangers versus the third-shot soft game

Special to the Coastal Point • Vaughn Baker: Anti-banger Rick Bell takes position in the No-Volley Zone.Special to the Coastal Point • Vaughn Baker: Anti-banger Rick Bell takes position in the No-Volley Zone.In pickleball lexicon, bangers are players who have learned to hit the ball as hard as they can in hopes of forcing their opponents to make an error. I must admit, it is great fun. But that strategy only takes them so far, until they run into a team who can consistently get into the net and volley, and their banging style then returns fewer wins.

The game that beats the bangers we refer to as “the soft game,” where the ball is returned softly into the “No-Volley Zone.”

While enjoying the new Big Chill Beach Club last week, I overheard two pickleballers discussing the merits of the soft pickleball-style game, versus the slamming game. The bigger fellow went on to say the people where he played didn’t hit the soft drop approach, but just slammed the ball, and as a result, he didn’t get a chance to play the soft game.

It was so difficult for me not to pipe up and say: “Pay attention. The soft game with the third shot isn’t played because it is fashionable or others play it — it is used precisely because their opponents are slamming the ball.”

Sussex Riptide athletes hold bike regatta ahead of Special Olympics race

Coastal Point photos • Shaun M. Lambert: Sussex Riptide, a group of Sepcial Olympics Delaware participants, and the Ocean View Police Department took part in a bicycle regatta, traveling through Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View on Thursday, Sept. 21.Coastal Point photos • Shaun M. Lambert: Sussex Riptide, a group of Sepcial Olympics Delaware participants, and the Ocean View Police Department took part in a bicycle regatta, traveling through Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View on Thursday, Sept. 21.Before the Special Olympics Cycling Classic at Dover Air Force Base on Sept. 23, Sussex Riptide athletes gathered at the Ocean View Police Department for a pre-race hurrah.

“This is a nice cooldown before the Dover race. When they get there, they’re amped up and ready to do — whereas this is more of a social event,” said Riptide coach Adam Rones.

“They all enjoy it — it’s a fun day for all of them,” added coach Tony Gough.

The athletes, with a full-blown escort from the Ocean View Police Department, pedaled from the OVPD all through Bear Trap — about a 45-minute ride — before returning to the police department for a celebratory pizza party.

“I like it,” said athlete Jillian Calanna, 23, who also participates in tennis and bowling. “I like being with the athletes and socializing.”

Saturday's Tour de Sussex offers a scenic county bike tour

Enough with the cars — try seeing Sussex County by bike.

The fourth annual Tour de Sussex returns on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 8 a.m., rain or shine. It’s sponsored by Delaware Technical Community College. Proceeds will provide scholarships for Workforce Development students.

Indians fall to Polytech, 39-21

Coastal Point • Susan Walls: An IR runner hits the gap to gain some yards in 39-21 loss to Polytech on Friday, Sept. 15.Coastal Point • Susan Walls: An IR runner hits the gap to gain some yards in 39-21 loss to Polytech on Friday, Sept. 15.A week after their 21-20 surprise season opener victory over Caravel Academy in the Blue/Gold Kickoff Classic, Indian River’s varsity football found themselves 39-21 prey to the Polytech Panthers last Friday at home. The Panthers’ special teams scooped up the opening kick off and returned it to the Indians end zone. A swift extra point kick gave the Panthers an early 7-0 lead.

IR’s punt return team quickly answered with their own punt return and kick, tying it seven all with 7:59 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Panthers’ punt-return team got them to mid-field for the start of a tie-breaking drive that ended with senior wide receiver Douglas Reed grabbing a pass near the end zone that he carried across the goal line. The extra point kick split the goal posts giving the Panthers a 14-7 lead.

The Panther offense got another six points, but missed the point-after kick. With 6:50 remaining in the first half, IR scored on another punt return and point after, making it 20-14 Panthers — where it stayed until the first half expired.

6th annual first responders triathlon hits Bethany this weekend

Coastal Point • File Photo : Bethany Beach FIrst Responders Tri-Du-Aquabike partcipants learn to enter and exit the ocean during training for the event back in 2013.Coastal Point • File Photo : Bethany Beach FIrst Responders Tri-Du-Aquabike partcipants learn to enter and exit the ocean during training for the event back in 2013.Athletes of all age and skill level will descend upon Bethany Beach this weekend for the 6th annual Bethany Beach First Responders Tri-Du-Aquabike.

The event was created to support the first responders of the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Department.

“All the proceeds go to the Bethany Beach first responders at Station 70,” said Race Director Rick Hundley, noting the event has raised close to $100,000 since its inception.

While the event itself will take place on Sunday, Sept. 24, with transition area opening at 5:30 a.m., activities will begin this Friday with a welcoming party at The Starboard in Dewey Beach.

Dont’ give up on Pickleball

There have been some — not many — folks who took pickleball lessons but later slowed down their participation. When I spoke with them, I mostly heard expected answers: a new grandchild, a pulled muscle, etc. But several told me that they didn’t feel they were getting any better, or were not athletic enough.

IR surprises CR in varsity volleyball, 3-2

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Siera Johnson blocks a shot.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce Walls: Siera Johnson blocks a shot.A young Indian River High School girls’ volleyball team opened their 2017 season by surprising an older, more experienced Caesar Rodney team, 3-2, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, on their home court in Dagsboro.

IR took the first set 25-19. CR, who had beaten Concord High School the prior Friday night, responded with a 25-21 win in the second set. IR fought back, winning the third set 25-19. CR held on, winning the fourth set 25-18, but IR sealed the win in the final set, 15-13.

Leading the Indians’ charge was freshman Raychel Ehlers, who was 14-4-0-4-0 for the night.

“I’m proud of the way we played tonight,” Ehlers said. “It was our first game of the season, and we came out strong. I knew I did good and hit the ball hard, but it was a team effort.”

So when did it start and what’s with the pickle name?

Special to the Coastal Point • Vaughn Baker: The Ocean View Crew’s Steve Melofchik gets ready to hit a serve from behind the baseline.Special to the Coastal Point • Vaughn Baker: The Ocean View Crew’s Steve Melofchik gets ready to hit a serve from behind the baseline.This year is the 50th anniversary of the first pickleball court, and the 2017 tournament in Ocean City, Md., celebrated that event. Here are some lines from the poem to honor that event:

It was the year 1967, we all were feeling GroovE…

The hippies created their very own lingo,

The words of which never appeared in bingo,

Hippies had their own symbol, the famous Peace sign,

Which they stole from England, too stoned to self design,

Spent much of their time in flip-flops at 9th Street in the sand,

Listening to great music like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Hello GoodBye, Penny Lane,

Strawberry Fields Forever, All You Need Is Love, all hits main…

The first permanent pickleball court was built, the game itself two years before,

Only the Lord above knows where and why they came up with the pickle score

With taste of playoffs, Indians hope to rise even higher

Coastal Point photos • Shaun M. Lambert: An Indian River player takes a shot after winning control of the ball.Coastal Point photos • Shaun M. Lambert: An Indian River player takes a shot after winning control of the ball.Last year's Indian River High School field hockey team advanced to their first DIAA tournament appearance in 10 years, then lost a thrilling 2-0 game to defending state-champion Cape Henlopen. This year the team is aiming even higher.

The Indians were expecting back seven starters from last year's team, and coach Jodi Stone is banking on that experience and white-hot momentum to take the team to greater heights this season.

Their first home game is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 4 p.m., against Woodbridge.

Indians look to rebound

Coastal Point photos • Shaun M. Lambert: Matthew Allender gives a stiff arm and makes a cut during a run against Sussex Tech on Thursday, Aug. 31.Coastal Point photos • Shaun M. Lambert: Matthew Allender gives a stiff arm and makes a cut during a run against Sussex Tech on Thursday, Aug. 31.The Indian River High School football team, under coach Phill Townsend is looking for a fresh start this season.

Last year's team finished a disappointing 2-8, after starting things off with high hopes for competing for a Henlopen South title. The team did continue to battle through the very end of the season, fighting hard against rival Sussex Central, before falling 54-21.

The Indians' first home game will be Friday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. against Polytech High School.

Hitchens taking second-generation racing to the next level

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Scott Hitchens shows off his car before racing in the Big Block Modified class for the first time on Wednesday, Aug. 30.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Scott Hitchens shows off his car before racing in the Big Block Modified class for the first time on Wednesday, Aug. 30.Sometimes kids watch what their parents do and then go off and do something completely different. And sometimes, like Scott Hitchens — who spent much of his childhood watching his dad, Greg Hitchens, race cars — they feel the pull to do those same things themselves.

At 24, Hitchens is at the top of his game in the Short Track Super Series class, in which he has been driving the No. 15 car — sponsored by his dad’s business, Millsboro-based Greg Hitchens Enterprises. He is poised to be the top points winner in the class when the season wraps up later in the fall.

“I’ve pretty much got that wrapped up,” he said without a trace of braggadocio.

Maybe that’s because Hitchens has already started a new challenge, where he’s no longer the top dog. On Wednesday, Aug. 30, he raced in the Big Block Modified class for the first time, driving the No. 65 car, sponsored by Blades HVAC, at the Georgetown Speedway.

Adams earns $2,200 at Cody Hopkins Memorial Race

Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce C. Walls: Stephen Adams (far right, holding trophy) celebrates his winnings.Special to the Coastal Point • Bruce C. Walls: Stephen Adams (far right, holding trophy) celebrates his winnings.Stephen Adams, of Four Oaks, N.C., made another profitable trip to U.S.-13 Kartway in Delmar, Del., on Friday, Aug. 25. This time, he fattened his wallet with $2,200 in purse earnings during a special memorial race for Milton native Cody Hopkins, who died in a June 19 auto accident. Earlier this year, during the first of five ‘Battle at the Beach,” races this season Adams had pocketed $3,000.

Hopkins’ parents and other family members attended the race. Before the features started, his father, Bill, honored his son’s memory by driving Cody Hopkins’ #27 kart five times around the 1/8-mile dirt oval.

“It means a lot to me to have all these people here tonight,” Hopkins said, choking back tears. “We used to race every Friday and Saturday night. We started out in Big Block Modified. We got out of that and started racing karts with the kids. It means a lot to me to come back to this community and the racing aspect of it. My nephew races here, and it’s great — it’s just great to have all these folks here tonight.”

Pickleball Points — Pickleball from Delmarva to Mars

Coastal Point • Submitted: Dom Travaglini hits a shot up the middle against Suss-exfactor.Coastal Point • Submitted: Dom Travaglini hits a shot up the middle against Suss-exfactor.Whenever I teach a new student to play pickleball, I first ask then what sport they previously played, because it helps me explain pickleball to them in terms they already understand. I also sometimes ask about their profession, because an artist processes information differently than an engineer.

When Dom Travaglini moved to Fairway Village and was learning pickleball, I asked him his profession. Wow — he was an honest to goodness rocket scientist and was responsible for the mechanics of providing continuing power to the Mars Rover.

But when I asked Dagsboro’s Captain Dick Carl what he had done in his career, it was certainly an eye-opener when the retired master-chief explained he is still employed as a paddlewheel riverboat captain. Captain Carl pilots the paddlewheeler the Dorthy Megan from Suicide Bridge near Hurlock down the historical Choptank River, which you might know because James Michener centered it in his book “Chesapeake.”

Pickleball Points — Performance at the championship level

Whenever I teach a new student to play pickleball, I first ask then what sport they previously played, because it helps me explain pickleball to them in terms they already understand. I also sometimes ask about their profession, because an artist processes information differently than an engineer.

The word ‘competition’ gets a bum rap

Coastal Point • Submitted : Multiple gold-medal winner Georgia Billger recently managed the successful Cucumbers & Pickles event for First State Pickleball Club, to help novices advance their game.Coastal Point • Submitted : Multiple gold-medal winner Georgia Billger recently managed the successful Cucumbers & Pickles event for First State Pickleball Club, to help novices advance their game.Like each of you, I have my pet peeves. Of course, it is appropriate that I rename them to “Pickle Peeves.”

It astounds me when people say they are not competitive, or don’t like competition. I don’t know where the word “competition” got such a bad rap. Was it with no-scoring baseball?

I am glad my mother did not try to protect me. It is from rejection and sport losses that I learned to train harder and learned to think more creatively in overcoming obstacles.

My major life lessons came from or were reinforced by competition in sports, where I learned how to self-evaluate and minimize or overcome my weaknesses, and I learned how to win and lose gracefully. Most of these skills I took forward with me into the military and then the business world.

I know that competition against top talent in a tournament venue helps me significantly raise my level of play. The win itself is secondary — simply a grade on my report card. In fact, it is so secondary that I can hardly remember the score afterwards. For me, it is the matching of skills, wits, focus and experience.

I once asked Wimbledon champion Arthur Ashe if he remembered playing me in a very long exhausting match in the Maryland State Championships when we were kids, and he quickly said, “No.” I suddenly felt shorter than my shadow, and it must have been apparent. Ashe, ever the gentleman, said, “But how many wins do you remember? I remember my losses.”

I think part of the problem stems from how you approach competition. I never feared playing some whirlwind hotshot. My losses did not devastate me. They were a rude awakening to where I needed to improve.

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