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Sports Columns

Jaywalking: Opportunity knocks

Back in early April, Pioneer Valley Regional School student Tim Atkins was like any other senior. The Greenfield native had been thinking about his post-high school life and like many other seniors, had already chosen where he would be attending college. His choice was the University of Maine and the Atkins family had already paid the deposit to the university to secure Tim’s place there in the fall. Going to Maine was a great opportunity for Atkins, but also meant that his days of playing 0

Keeping Score: Dry Run

Good morning! On a warm spring evening outside Fenway Park, Kung Fu Panda bracelets were selling for $3, vendors were hawking free “soxaholic” bumper stickers with each paid program, and parking attendants were getting $50 a car. They’ll take it while they can, because the most expensive division in baseball is a cheap claiming race and the Red Sox are any old nag. “Minus four,” said David Hosmer, referring to the AL East’s combined number of games under .500 on Thursday. Free agents Pablo Sandoval 0

On The Trail: The season of the fish

Fish are on the platter this week. And why not? This is, after all, the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend, thus the week that annually signals the end of MassWildlife’s spring trout-stocking program, which, quite by chance, I innocently happened upon while on my daily routine Tuesday morning, eager dogs porta-kenneled under my pickup’s cap, both rarin’ to romp through shin- and knee-high, rain-drenched hayfields and unseasonably dry floodplain marsh below. On the way to my customary spot, yes indeed, there it was, 0

Jaywalking: New-rule flap

It looks like middle-school athletes will become a rare commodity at the varsity level beginning in the fall. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Council, which votes bi-annually on the rule changes, passed about a dozen of them for the next two seasons. Many of the changes are minor. Some do not even affect local schools. But some do. One reads that no football team shall conduct more than two practices of full contact per week. Another says that any player who enrolls in substance-abuse treatment will 0

Keeping Score: Transition trouble

Good morning! Last weekend, six Atlantic 10 softball teams converged in Amherst to play at Sortino Field, the complex named for the longtime coach who passed away two years ago this August at age 63. Fordham won its third straight A-10 title by beating Dayton, 8-2, in the title game. The Rams lost to North Carolina State Friday, 12-5, in the first round of the Harrisonburg (Va.) Regional of the NCAA Tournament in Harrisburg, Pa. The only New England team at the dance is Dartmouth. 0

On The Trail: Turkeys silent as spring brightens

Before eight chimes on the Monday-morning tall clock — gray sky, heavy air, cup of coffee in hand and headed for my customary parlor reading station by the window — it walloped me like an open, clammy palm across the puss. Ah yes, that first overpowering fragrance of spring lilac, a sweet harbinger of summer. What an uplifting scent to brighten a new day, a new week. Four hours later, exiting my truck for our daily mile or two walk through upper hayfields and around 0

Jaywalking: Soccer scholar

South Deerfield native Jessica Wrisley has put on a pretty remarkable balancing act this year. The 13-year-old Frontier Regional School seventh-grader made high honors each of the first three semesters this season, which is no easy feat in itself. Now take into account that she bypassed playing for the middle-school girls’ soccer team, instead going straight to junior varsity. Throw in some volunteering around the community and you might be scratching your head trying to figure out how she does it all. Those are the 0

Jaywalking: Mixed reaction to fight that fell short of hype

It’s Monday morning and I’m still being reminded of just how hyped up Saturday night’s welterweight title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao was. I walked into the office just before noon and sitting on my desk was Sports Illustrated, complete with its special double cover, one side featuring Mayweather, the other Pacquiao. One final bit of hype for a fight that had taken place about 36 hours earlier. Problem was that the most hyped boxing match in recent memory wound up being 0

Keeping Score: Louisville Upstart

Good morning! Railbirds who are betting their vacation money that either American Pharoah or Dortmund will be wearing the blanket of roses at Churchill Downs today might be staying home this summer. “My first look if somebody told me you gotta pick now or you’re going to the gallows, it would be hard to see past those two,” said Greenfield handicapper John Dobrydnio. “But in 25 years I’ve never seen so many interesting horses at a Kentucky Derby.” American Pharoah comes in with four straight 0

On The Trail: Turkey talk and housecleaning

The Full Corn-Planting Moon is building as the landscape greens, turkeys gobble and shotguns roar from distant hills. Yes, it’s spring turkey season, a fine time of year for a man so inclined. And, word out of Montville, Maine, indicates the time is ripe. But first a brief diversion — the first of two little housecleaning chores from last week, thanks to longtime reader Wild Bill the forester, who did well to catch an inaccuracy he suspected to be a slip of pen, which it 0