Extra Points: Phillies make for memorable time with grandsons
By DAVID WEINBERG
I'll be taking a leap of faith again this weekend. - Sunday morning will mark my sixth appearance in the Escape the Cape Triathlon, a unique race that begins with participants making a 12-foot jump off the front of a Cape May-Lewes Ferry boat into the Delaware Bay.
It's been three years since my last plunge. The 2020 Escape was canceled because of Covid-19. I was signed up for 2021 last August, but an eye injury prompted me to look ahead to this Sunday's edition.
My 64-year-old knees have forced me to make some adjustments. Instead of doing the Sprint Triathlon event - a .35-mile swim, 12-mile bike, 5-K run - I've switched to the Sprint Aqua Bike, so my race will be over after the swim and bike legs, thus saving me from running/jogging/walking and maybe even crawling through a run course that will include several sections of sand.
There are some things I'll miss by skipping the run. The bulk of the course is on the bay beachfront, where crowds gather to root for their friends and loved ones. My highlight, however, always comes during the bike leg. The route takes riders past my son and daughter-in-law's house. I can always count on my grandsons Hampton (6) and Graham (4) to be at the curb offering their "Poppy" encouragement and maybe even some water. This year, they'll be joined by their baby brother Nixon (7 months), though he'll likely be too busy eating, sleeping or playing to notice.
Speaking of grandsons, we had an absolute blast at the Phillies game last Sunday. The Phils staged a dramatic rally to complete a three-game sweep of Mike Trout and the Angels, though we were home by the time Bryce Harper smacked a grand slam in the eighth inning and Bryce Stott won it with a walk-off three-run dinger in the ninth.
We left Lower Township at 11:15 a.m. and quickly joined hundreds of people who were escaping the Cape on 347 North after a weekend at the Jersey Shore. We hadn't gone 10 miles before Hampton and Graham were asking, "Are we there, yet?" We walked through the turnstiles at Citizens Bank Park at 1:35 p.m., just as the game was beginning.
The boys lasted five innings, which was actually a little longer than I expected. We had great seats - Row 15 in section 113 along the right-field line - but didn't sit in them much. The day featured two trips to the team store for souvenirs, and two visits to the concession stand for ice cream in mini batting helmets. There would have been just one ice cream stop, but Graham dropped his treat on his way back to the seat. That meant dad (my son Kyle) had to reverse course to the top for another scoop of chocolate with chocolate sprinkles while I sat with the boys and balanced a couple of soft pretzels and drinks on my lap while Hampton's ice cream dripped onto my thigh.
But I wouldn't have traded it for the world. - That's what being a Poppy is all about.