Because both life and sportswriting remain utter mysteries to me and I need helpers to give me direction at every turn, I recently asked Maryland long snapper Greg Parcher to tell me something I didn’t know about one of his teammates. He offered this: Kicker Brad Craddock loves to go crabbing, even though he’s allergic to crabs.
“Is it true that you love to go crabbing, even though you’re allergic to crabs?” I asked Craddock.
“Yeah,” he said.
“What?” asked official Maryland beat writer Alex Prewitt.
“I love it,” Craddock said. “My dad eats ‘em. I’ll catch them for him, and he eats ‘em.”
But how can you love crabbing when you don’t even eat the crabs? Isn’t that like a gluten-free person listing “wheat harvesting” as a hobby? A lactose-free person listing “cheese-making” as a hobby? A rocket scientist listing “sports-blog reading” as a hobby?
“I don’t know,” the Australian kicker answered. “We go raking, so it’s sort of like a day thing.”
“You get a long beach with the tides, and they can go about a [kilometer] in and a K out,” he explained. “So when the tide comes in, all the crabs come in and eat. So you go walk in, and you have a big metal rake. And as you walk, the crabs get scared, so they hide under the sand. So then you just rake over the dark spots where you see air bubbles, and the crab will come up, and you grab their nippers on your rake. And you grab it, flick it up, shove it in a box that you tie around your belt, and you just walk through the water all day. I love it.”
Nippers! Anyhow, what would happen if Craddock ate the fruit of his labors?
“My throat just swells up and stuff,” he said. “It just makes me feel sick. It’s not too bad. Do you rake here?”
I admitted I didn’t know, although Google searches for crab raking indicate that it’s known as a South Australian technique. Craddock — who’s allergic to all shellfish — also said he enjoys catching crabs in pots off the jetty while fishing, but he prefers raking. Yes, I’m really still writing about this. And no, despite attending school in Maryland, Craddock has never tried Old Bay.
“Gary Harraka, one of the o-linemen, he brought it in and told me I have to have it,” Craddock noted. “Apparently it’s amazing.”
Problem is, Craddock is allergic to shellfish. Maybe you’ve heard.