Currently viewing the tag: "Leaplings"

with Michael Betteridge

This month, we tack on an extra day to the end of the month: February 29. This is called a leap year. We do it every four years. But, since the advent of the atomic clock, which is even more precise than the Gregorian calendar that Western civilization has used for hundreds of years, according to the National Bureau of Standards, we now have “leap seconds.” The new atomic second does not always line up with the Earth’s solar day, so scientists down 270 in Germantown, Maryland, are allowed to add or subtract leap seconds at their discretion.

And you thought technology makes life simpler!

If you are born on February 29, you are a leapling. That doesn’t mean you can jump higher. It just means that even though you may celebrate your birthday every year, you are much younger than the rest of us. This has its pros and cons. Because the Earth revolving on its axis is slowing down, we have to adjust. If you think these calculations are way too precise, just imagine what would happen to our astronauts who are trying to dock to the International Space Station if the scientists have the wrong time measurement in relationship to the Earth’s rotation.

This all started with Julius Caesar, who had an affinity for the Egyptians and decided to adopt their solar calendar in 46BC. They argued about this for 1,706 years.

American colonialists went to bed on September 2 and woke up on September 14. Since there were no agreements on the proper calendar to use for hundreds of years, there were no adjustments made, and by the time they settled the matter in 1752, they were 11 days behind!

National Bureau of Standards scientist James Barnes once said: “It takes time to agree on time.” But, those aren’t the only leaplings around. We have some right here in our own back yard, past and present. Catoctin Lady Cougar Kathy Messner, who graduated in 1998, still holds the all-time Maryland high school State record for the high jump at 5’ 9”—Messner literally jumped over my head! Hannah Stone won a State championship in 2012, with a high jump of 5’6”.

This year’s Catoctin Lady Cougars basketball team has a bunch of leaplings. Sophomore Brooke Williams at 5’10” is ranked 3rd in Frederick County in rebounds, averaging eight per game. Her teammate, Taylor Smith, is averaging 5.9 rebounds per game, and Kelsey Troxell, 5.6 rebounds per game. Talk about leaplings! And if you think our Lady Cougars can leap, how about the boys?

Robert Ruch Jr. is 2nd in the county with 9.3 rebounds per game. Former Cougars Coach Brian Burdette, who is now in the broadcast booth, put it this way when describing Ruch’s play against Brunswick recently: “He plays like a man among boys.” Indeed! Ruch, Matt Offutt, and Logan Williams are the leaders on this team. It all starts with them. Furious Trammel, David Stitely, and Brady Koenig leap past opponents in boys Indoor Track and Field.

Meghan Grey, Becka Zentz, and Ella Burrier qualify as leaplings on the ladies Indoor Track and Field team.  And let’s not forget the best leaplings of all: girls volleyball. You can’t play volleyball if you can’t leap. Just ask Mackenzie Anderson, the Calhoun sisters, Tatiana Owens, Alexandra Potter, Abbey Shaffer or Dugan, Ganjon, Horman, Keller, O’Dea and Trinity Spidle.

Maybe we should change the mascot from the Catoctin Cougars to the Catoctin Leaplings, or should we wait another four years and see?