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Sports Columns

Keeping Score: Out of its league

Good morning! The second half was underway when I backed my car into an empty space near the softball complex and walked the last quarter-mile to the UMass football stadium. There was a time when fans got in for free after halftime, but not anymore. Six yellow-jacketed employees were guarding the turnstile, so I walked to the ticket window and gave it my best shot. “One senior halftime discount, please.” “Ha ha ha,” laughed the ticket seller. “Still gonna be $20.” I forked over the 0

Jaywalking: Baby Charlotte

Writer’s note: You are about to read the words of a proud first-time parent. As I experienced the myriad emotions during wife Heather’s pregnancy, I decided to take notes and compiled my thoughts into a letter to my newborn daughter in the days leading up to and following her birth. Hello sweet daughter. Welcome to the world. It’s been a long nine months awaiting your arrival. Truthfully, the nine months kind of flew by as your mom and I prepared both the house and our 0

Keeping Score: rare opportunity

Good morning! A normally quiet November night in the city might become bedlam near Yawkey Way when Boston College hosts Notre Dame this evening at Fenway Park. The 3-7 Eagles have lost six straight games and are 161/2-point underdogs against the 5th-ranked Irish. The gridiron barely fits on what John Updike called Boston’s “lyrical little bandbox of a ballpark,” and stretches from under the outfield bleachers to the visitor’s dugout. The game was an instant sellout, and on StubHub tickets start at $176 for standing 0

Keeping Score: Fantasy spoiler

Good morning! It didn’t take long for FanDuel and DraftKings to get too big for their britches. This week the New York Attorney General’s office ordered the two fantasy sports leagues to shut down by the end of the weekend. It’s called a cease-and-desist order, akin to your mother saying, Stop it! Fantasy leagues are kids games at heart. You pick your team and I pick mine, we watch them play on the baseball diamond or gridiron and see who wins. Playing for money always 0

On The Trail: Death rut

A trophy buck has fallen in Northfield — one the hunter will likely never top, or forget. The archer who slew the 9-point, 215-pound racker Monday morning is Steve Roy, a GCC strength and conditioning instructor who grew up in South Deerfield, attended Frontier Regional School, graduated from Franklin Tech in 1978 and has lived most of his adulthood in Northfield, now Turners Falls. And, oh, what an interesting tale he had to tell about tree-stand observations from nature’s classroom during the breeding season or 0

Jaywalking: McGraw a worthy target of community support

Some folks have a knack for touching a community. Count Northfield resident Earl McGraw among them. So when McGraw was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer, the community immediately began giving back. I’ve never met the 46-year-old McGraw, but do feel like I know what he’s made of. I know he is married and the father of two. I know that when my wife, Heather, used to teach his son Jalen at Northfield Elementary School, McGraw was one of the fathers who would show 0

Keeping Score: Carrying On

Good morning! As the days approached to retirement, Deerfield native Mike Russo knew boredom would be his primary adversary. Every autumn for 36 years he’d coached the Williams College men’s soccer team. Williams College SID Dick Quinn says the 69-year-old Russo was named National Division III Coach of the Year four times during his tenure, including 1995 when his Ephs won the NCAA title. The goalie on that team, Erin Sullivan, replaced Russo as head coach and was 7-6-3 in his inaugural season. Wikepedia claims 0

On The Trail: Indian bummer

Bittersweet has pushed its yellow skin aside, adding a softer shade of red to the abundant Christmas berries populating our local wetlands. Both wild ornamental berries will, over time, be snipped here and there by human gatherers seeking materials for holiday wreaths to hang on front doors, and fall floral arrangements to place in vases, stoneware crocks or old, scarred walnut trenchers centered on dining-room tables. Yes, the blotches of pleasant, uplifting colors just keep changing in this Indian summer weather so many Pioneer Valley 0

Jaywalking: Walker reviewed

We all know that when it comes to tournament-seeding time, someone is bound to feel slighted. That’s just how things go. There is no perfect system for seeding teams. Most tournaments currently use the Walker System to slot squads. The Walker System takes into account three factors: winning percentage, strength of schedule, and wins against tournament-eligible teams. That’s no secret. In fact, I’ve written about Walker injustices in this space many times. Because we don’t have a perfect system for seeding teams, there will always 0

Keeping Score: Honor System

Good morning! The days are dwindling down to a precious few, as the song goes. Baseball’s done, the leaves are down and darkness looms at 5 p.m. Just shoot me. It’s easy being on the front end of John Steinbeck’s remark, “What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” Sounds good, but feeling it from a chilly November perspective makes today’s Breeders’ Cup all the sweeter for horseplayers seeking one last score before New Year’s. The races 0