Streaks: Making and breaking records happens by design and sometimes by accident

September 29, 1990|By Phyllis Brill

Streaks are funny. First of all, they're hard to define. But we like to think of a streak as continuous activity with record-breaking potential --as opposed to that popular '70s activity of jaunting, unclothed, through public places.

Secondly, no two streaks develop in quite the same way -- sone grow out of love and dedication and happen relatively effortlessly: others thrive on compulivse behavior: still others are purely accidental.

Can anyone forget the spring of 1988, when the Orioles broke an American league record with a 21 game losing streak? That was very accidental.

Many streaks are perpetuated by folks with a taste for tradition. Tom Hunnings, of Shrewsbury, Pa., for instance, hasn't missed on opening day of bow hunting season in 30 years.

And Staley Cain of Rockdale in western Baltimore County hasn't ever missed the Southern 500 stock car race in Darlington, S.C. The 80-year-old has attended the race every year since it began in 1950.

Some people are purists about streaks. They think that records in the making have to be tended to daily, not just once a year.

Mark Canter's streak of never missing a day of school from kindergarten through 12th grade certainly qualifies. Canter, who graduated from Perry Hall High School in 1975 and now lives in Abingdon, attributes his success to a love of school and to his mother, who kept him in good health.

Some people wait until their adult lives to start streaking. Like Willie Ladsom, a 58-year-old nursing assistant at Seton Hill Manor. Her perfect attendance for more than 10 years in a job with traditionally high turnover earned her a citation last May from the mayor.

And Bill Peters, 68, of Parkville, has worked 50 years for Martin Marietta without ever using a sick day.

Whatever the reason, the potential for streak-making is limitless. And as illustrated in the five stories below, a streak can happen to just about anyone.

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