Whit made up his mind.
The first Georgetown Prep guy who walks through the door at the party in 1981 he would punch in the face. Not because the Prep guy had done anything to him. Just because he went to Prep.
In struts Casey McCormack.
Casey’s face bleeds. He falls to the floor. Another Prep-Gonzaga party gone sour. La de da.
“I was just glad Stu Plank didn’t walk in first,” said Whit yesterday standing in the Bethany Beach Bay while puffing on a cig. “He came in second.”
Stu was an all-world football that season for Georgetown Prep and was headed to Virginia Tech on a football scholarship. Bigger than a house, Stu would have beaten the crud out of Whit had Whit punched him instead of Casey, who was not headed to college to play football.
Years later, Whit became a house-painting entrepreneur and found himself one routine business day in need of a sucker to sell him paint at a low price.
He discovered he couldn’t negotiate the price down to where he wanted it, which surprised him because he thought of himself as a skilled swindler and zero-sum game business negotiator.
Turns out he was dealing with Casey McCormack, owner of McCormack paints. Casey wouldn’t budge on the price – not for Whit. He remembered how it felt that day in high school to take a punch in the face a nanosecond after entering a party packed with Visitation and Holy Cross girls.
No way was he going to give that guy who maimed him a sweetheart price for his paints.
“At that moment I realized that what goes around comes around,” said Whit while standing in the Bethany Beach Bay.
Smoked weed in third grade
He has mellowed since his younger days.
“I started smoking weed in third grade and by the time you guys started smoking weed in 12th grade I had already stopped,” he said.
He said this as if he was a bigger man for having had the wisdom and self-discipline to stop smoking pot in 12th grade while the rest of us couldn’t control our urges and gave in to the weed when we did.
Whit’s musings were a featured attraction at yesterday’s Booze Crooze Tooz. The day was highlighted by the efforts of Wolfford and Sportface to pull themselves up the side of Head’s boat and get in when Head brought a useless ladder that was of no help.
Wolfford, now 245 pounds, and Sportface, tipping 285, spent the better part of the afternoon standing in the Bay by the boat trying to somehow lift themselves up the side of the boat and get back in.
Wolfford cracked the code first with one big surge and then lying belly-down on the side for a while to gather his bearings and make sure he didn’t tip back over into the water. Sportface stood and watched and counted the stretch marks near Wolfford’s kidney area that he started growing 43 years ago and never got cosmetic surgery to hide because Wolfford thought of them his natural tattoos.
“Just lay there Wolfford,” said Sportface. “Don’t let yourself tip back in the water because you’ll never make it to where you are again. You’re almost there. Just lay there and wait until you find the energy for another thrust forward into the boat.”
While everyone watched Wolfford lay there, boats nearby blared “Sweet Child of Mine” and dozens of other songs. The musical background noise proved to be a welcome time-passer while Wolfford did nothing but lie there on the edge of the boat.
Whit puffed down five more cigs. He seemed amused by the image of Wolfford but needed a lighter so went to another boat full of strangers and bummed a light off of them and talked some trash with them about the pros and cons of the government stimulus package.
The afternoon sun started to drop. We were headed towards sundown. Finally, Wolfford manages to nudge himself face-first into the floor of the boat. He was in. Another beer he grabbed.
Now it is Sportface’s turn. Up he rises. Down he falls back into the water. Up and down like a yo-yo.
Everybody starts to think that maybe Sportface would never get back in the boat. And then what? Would he have to walk back to the dock? That was three miles away? Would the Coast Guard have to come and hook him like a fish and bring him back to land?
Then the people in the crowd of boats start chanting “Sportface, Sportface, Sportface.” Beachgoers in Rehoboth, Dewey, and Ocean City hear the chants and wonder who Sportface is. In that crowd near the unfolding Sportface scene sits Jamie McCarthy, who knew Sportface in grade school.
“You can do it Sportface,” she said. “I had a crush on you in grade school and you were the best athlete in the history of Little Flower. And that includes Katie Ledecky.”
This inspired Sportface. He channels his glory days of childhood athletic glory and fame.
Up he goes. On the side of the boat, he lies in agony with half his body dangling above the water and the other half on the boat.
He decides to just lay there awhile like Wolfford.
“Sportface, Sportface, Sportface,” the boaters chant.
The sun starts to drop on the distant horizon. By nightfall, maybe Sportface will get back in the boat and they can all go home.
Sportface strategizes. He figures he’ll just crawl and roll onto the boat floor without any concern for how he looks or what anyone says about him.
Down the boat, he tumbles onto his left side like in the position before you get a colonoscopy. The first taste of landfall is his face grazing Coors Light beer cans scattered all over the boat. It’s dirty and gross and water is making the whole thing a petri dish of bacterial bliss.
Sportface thinks to himself: “I don’t care how much of my face grazes the bottom of this cesspool boat, I’m going to do what it takes to get in.”
He rolls around in the muck and sludge. Feeling exhausted, he lays there for a while. He’s in. But not up.
Now he has to stand up. Wrestling with himself, fighting all the elements, he rises like Jesus Christ from the dead.
He stands in the middle of the boat and raises his arms like Rocky Balboa at the top of the steps of the government building in downtown Philadelphia.
Chants erupt from gaggles of boats full of strangers who have been drinking beer all day in the blazing sun since sunrise.
“Sportface, Sportface, Sportface.”
Sammy Sportface, a sports blogger, galvanizes, inspires, and amuses The Baby Boomer Brotherhood. And you can learn about his vision and join this group's Facebook page here:
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