Point of No Return — Relax, David. Delaware still makes its mark

Date Published: 
Jan. 12, 2018

David Elliott has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Or, in the interests of accuracy, David Elliott has a tax-free chip of scrapple on his shoulder.

The Coastal Point graphic artist and proud Laurel native is a champion of all things Delaware. He is incredulous as he tells stories of meeting people in foreign lands who weren’t even aware that Delaware is a state, and comes to work angry if he heard someone mention Rhode Island in a television show the night before: “I know Delaware is a small state and all, but Rhode Island? Come on. Delaware is the Rodney Dangerfield of states. We get no respect.”

Upon reading that former Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Matt Nagy was named the new head coach of the storied Chicago Bears franchise earlier this week, David was the first person to jump to mind. Nagy, you see, was a former quarterback at the University of Delaware, and I figured this would guarantee that David would become a Chicago Bears fan as long as Nagy was walking around their sidelines with a clipboard in hand.

Of course, Nagy is far from the only former Blue Hen quarterback to reach a level of fame. Rich Gannon, who played for UD in the ’80s, went on to star in the National Football League, was named Most Valuable Player in 2002 and led the Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl that same season. Joe Flacco led UD to the national championship game in 2007, before joining the Baltimore Ravens as a first-round pick the next year. Flacco ultimately earned Most Valuable Player honors of Super Bowl XLVII, and continues to lead the Ravens offense today, increasing both UD-pride and my blood pressure on a week-to-week basis.

Former Vice President and U.S. Sen. Joe Biden also attended UD before he entered a distinguished career of starring in Internet memes, as did Sen. Tom Carper and former Gov. Jack Markell. Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and noted solitary beach-sitter, also attended the University of Delaware.

Johnny Weir took figure-skating classes at UD before going on to win three national championships and compete in two Olympics, and Dallas Green played baseball for the Blue Hens before eventually becoming a Major League manager, ultimately leading the Philadelphia Phillies to their first World Series championship, in 1980. And, Elena Delle Donne? Come on. She’s just awesome, and also a UD alum.

How’s this going so far, David?

Author and journalist Jancee Dunn attended the University of Delaware before making her mark on the national scene, and actor Page Kennedy (who is one of those actors you see and say, “Oh, yeah. I’ve seen him in about 1,400 roles.”) attended graduate school at the University of Delaware.

Obviously, UD is not all that Delaware is about. There are plenty of other noteworthy folks who hail from the state known as “The First State,” “The Diamond State,” “The Blue Hen State,” “The Chemical State,” “New Sweden,” “The Corporate Capital” and “The State With More Nicknames Than People.”

I might have made up that last one.

Valerie Bertinelli, one of my first celebrity crushes when she starred on “One Day at a Time,” is a Delaware native, as is Judge Reinhold, who starred in the “Beverly Hills Cop” movies, as well as “The Santa Clause,” with Tim Allen. More importantly, Reinhold played Brad Hamilton in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” — perhaps the finest cinematic experience presented to mankind at this point in time.

Ryan Phillippe is a name known around this globe, and it all started out for him growing up in Delaware, and Teri Polo is another Delaware native who has made her mark on the big screen — probably most notably for her recurring turns in the “Meet the Parents” movies.

Elizabeth Shue has acted in “The Karate Kid,” “Cocktail” and “Adventures in Babysitting,” amongst other roles, and she is a Delawarean, as is her brother, Andrew Shue, who has played in “The Rainmaker” and “Melrose Place.” Aubrey Plaza, who starred as April Ludgate in one of my favorite sitcoms, “Parks and Recreation,” is also a Delaware native, and is now starring in “Legion.”

Of course, no list of famous Delawareans can be compiled without singer George Thorogood, who not only achieved a high level of national fame throughout his career, but has also seemingly left two-thirds of longtime Delawareans with funny drinking stories from the old days.

David, I’m giving you plenty of good stuff here, thanks to the fine people at Google and Wikipedia. I hope you’re writing this all down.

Onlyinyourstate.com also lists 18 iconic foods of Delaware — 17, if you don’t include scrapple, which I most certainly do not. On the list is such creations as the Bobbie, from Capriotti’s; the Nic-o-boli, from Nicola Pizza; Dolle’s salt-water taffy; chicken and slippery dumplings; peaches, watermelons and more.

When I say “more,” I specifically refer to muskrat, which came in 13th on their list of iconic Delaware foods, but would more accurately occupy a spot on my personal list of “Things Darin Wouldn’t Eat Without a Winning Powerball Ticket Attached.”

There was also that whole “first-state-to-ratify-the-United-States-Constitution-thingy” if you’re keeping score at home, David. Let’s see Rhode Island top that. Oops, they can’t. Rhode Island was 13th to ratify, nearly two-and-a-half years after Delaware. Boom. Take that, Rhode Island.