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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
June 26, 1998     Cape Gazette
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June 26, 1998

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday. June 26 - July 2. 1998 - 89 SPOR'I'S & OUTDOORS Phil Burke tips his hat to Cape Region sports Second heart attack sidelines veteran reporter- for now By Dave Frederick "Coast Press" sports reporter and colum- nist Phil Burke is backing off from his beat this: summer because of a second heart attack that has required angioptasty and car- diac rehabilitation. The irony is that Burke has pursued the local sports scene with the heart of a lion and the tenacity of a bulldog since joining the "Coast Press" in 1993. Phil boasts that he and photographer Scott Nathan have put together a sports section that is competitive with other newspapers in the marketplace. During a recent interview Burke spoke for 20 minutes before entertaining the first question. Phil is Teaneck, New Jersey-con- fident-and-brash but not in a bad way. He is an unrelenting sports character who is opin- ionated and assertive and has the credentials and work experience to hang in any round- table "sports reporters" discussion. "It has been a lovely experience but I reached a point in my life where less stress Js necessary," Burke said. "My son Shawn, former "Delaware State News" sports edi- tor, said I've already used up six lives and if Ym like a cat I've only got three more left." Burke has battled medical adversity with the same vigor he battles his peers for a sports story. He has survived three benign brain tumors, two heart attacks and a month's worth of seizures. The Irish Catholic Burke has not had a drink or cigarette in 23 years and proudly Continued on page 90 Cardiac rehabilitation nurse Faith Lynch checks Phil Burke's blood pressure. His enthusiasm for sports keeps Angie Moon photo his engine pumping at a strong pace, which keeps Phil smiling and his friends worrying. Who wants to be a bus hood ornament? DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH - "Cruising and playing the radio, with no particular place to go." -Chuck Berry. (Pro- nounced burry.) I drive in and out of Rehoboth several times a day in search of a better body and I mean my own. Walking and lifting may or may not be producing a lean cuisine cruising machine but for a man that doesn't even look in the mirror to comb his hair or even use a comb, what does it matter? So like I'm coasting in a northern direction in the right-hand lane when suddenly I'm startled by a giant DART that almost bulls- eyed me from behind. Ugly imagery, I know. A DART bus going 55 passed me on the right and gave me quite a fright. I don't bike anymore for fear of becoming a hood ornament on a flat-front bus. I would like to see a squashed and mangled biker graphic painted inside the DART bus diamond. And let's not resurface the bike path issue or all the environmental crazies will come out of their air- conditioned dens armed to the PEOPLE IN SPORTS Dave Frederick false teeth to protect the piping plovers and hognose snakes. All I'm saying is bikers beware, because it ain't a fair fight. RING! RING! EXCUSE ME! - The expression "excuse me" used to be a request for forgive- ness. "Excuse me. My body doesn't usually make those sounds and I'd appreciate it if you and your mom would stop laughing." But on the fitness paths and trails and especially the Rehoboth Boardwalk, "excuse me!" is now a polite command. Like, "Excuse me! Family of six and a week's laundry coming through on a chain-driven rickshaw." Then if you're a slowmoving walker like me, you shuffle to the side. Then there are the little kids endlessly ringing and pedaling too fast for conditions followed by a yuppi- fled daddy begging the little mon- ster, "Brandon. Tell the man your sorry for putting a nobby tire between his legs. I'm sure he didn't hear your bell or he would have moved." And why do shirt- less runners wearing headphones and a radio clipped to their waists decide to train on a crowded boardwalk? "O.K. we all see you. You're a hit, pal! Now go do some speed work on Hebron Road. You're guaranteed to come out faster than you go in." And my final shot is aimed at doctors who walk thestreets wearing new cot- ton Dockers with a pager clipped to a wide belt (so far no problem) but with a stethoscope tied around their necks like an alligator sweater. "Say, pal, are you a doc- tor or a safe cracker?" Remember the words of Stevie Wonder: "Don't go playing doctor with that nurse." LUST TRUCKS - Standing beside a black Ford FI50 extended cab, offroad package Triton V 8 with aluminum-alloy wheels and 17-inch tires at Boulevard Ford in Georgetown last week, I was try- ing my best to bond with the vehi- cle and even wore a black shirt for the occasion. "That's you," said several customers who may have been tipped by salesman John Gardoski to blow smoke up my Fred's Toyota lust truck. Fred's Ford lust truck. exhaust manifold. John is my for- mer student and pitched me a good deal but the thought of a fat pay- ment booklet still overrides my lust for a new truck. And then I made the mistake of stopping at Exceptional Cars and Trucks on Rehoboth Avenue extended and striking up a conversation with Mark Slaughter, who was harbor- ing the red Toyota Forerunner of my dreams. Mark is a great guy who loves the same cars and trucks we all do. And in between surfing outings he makes deals for people for cars they probably don't need but always wanted. "My customers are generally nice people who love cars and are usu- Continued on page 81