Hi 50° | Lo 40°

Sports Columns

KeepingScore: Sports pourri

Good morning! The UMass football team hosts Florida International University this afternoon at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The Panthers are 2-2, including a 15-14 upset win in their season opener against the University of Central Florida. The Minutemen, who are 1-2 versus the spread this season, are 3-point favorites. FIU’s campus is in Homestead, gateway to the beautiful Florida Keys. However, the Panthers are most likely remembered for an ugly benches-clearing brawl during their nationally-televised game against the Miami Hurricanes in 2006 that led to the 1

On The Trail: Squirrel pie

It’s October and the surreal blood moon has passed, signaling fall’s hunts and harvests. But first, fishing, a harvest of sorts, and specifically trout fishing, which should improve dramatically on selected local waters this week and next. Why, you ask? Oh, that’s easy. The annual fall-stocking program is underway. So, no, those state trucks you’ve spotted lugging splashy silver tanks with their small rear motors purring aren’t out on joyrides or returning from the garage or transporting trout from one hatchery to another. They’re freshening 0

Jaywalking: When Lions roared at Veterans Memorial Field

It’s been sixty years since Lions roared at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield on Sunday afternoons in the fall. For seven years — from 1949 to 1955 — Greenfield had its very own semi-pro football team sponsored by the Greenfield Lions Club, thus the name. I knew a little about the team prior to working on this story because my grandmother, Anna Butynski, had a brother named Stan Chula (known to me and nearly every other person as Stud) who played on the team. But 0

Keeping Score: Properly motivated

Good morning! Success is equal parts skill and hustle. “The difference between champ and chump is u,” local gridiron coach Jim Smith liked to say. At Turners Falls High School, Craig Bodenstein had the skill but not always the hustle. “I had a gift to run. It came without working very hard, and it drove my father crazy.” Years ago while Dave Bodenstein was coaching track and football at Mohawk, he entered himself and 10-year-old Craig in a 5K road race. “It was my first 1

On The Trail: Spurred down Memory Lane

The fall equinox has passed, oaks are raining acorns, which can be heard knocking and banging through the branches even on still days, and the tall, dignified pignut hickory I pass daily is balding fast, its round, green-husked nuts spread liberally underneath. Apparently there’s critter trouble in my old stomping grounds around South Deerfield’s Bloody Brook Monument. Well, at least according to an email that arrived quite unexpectedly last week, a blast from the past in my inbox. What a surprise. The message came from 0

Jaywalking: A bike-challenge of our own

Just over a month ago, this space touched upon a local couple who competed in a week-long bike trip across the state of Iowa called the RAGBRAI. What I didn’t know at that time was that our state has an event very much like it, run by a local man. Last week, I went to Sunderland to meet the 126 riders who were participating in their first day of the third annual Berkshires to Boston Bike Ride. The event is now in its third year 0

Keeping Score: Bucking the trend

Good morning! Tiger Woods’ fade from golfing glory is the downside of the golfing surge that began in the 1990s. Golf’s greatest and most polarizing figure since Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus helped grow the game, but as the song goes, painted wings and giant strings make way for other toys. According to the National Golf Association, 936 courses have closed from 2005 to 2013. The trend continued, said the NGA, when 200,000 golfers “abandoned the game” in 2014. More critically, the Sports and Fitness 0

On The Trail: Feed & feedback

A little of this, a little of that is what I have this week — starting with email Japanese-Knotweed feedback from local hill and dale, then traipsing off to the bountiful apple crop my dogs are capitalizing on. For any who missed it last week, I addressed non-native, invasive knotweed plants lining many of my favorite streams, including the close-to-home Green River, which I monitor on my daily rambles with the dogs around what I call Sunken Meadow. There, a couple of weeks ago, I 0

Jaywalking: Fall triathlon

As the days shorten and the nights cool, you can just feel autumn creeping in. Sure, that heat wave we endured last week made it feel more like July than September, but if you look closely, you can detect those first hints of fall as leaves start to sport fait color. For many of us, fall time is also a time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful colors and weather. Last week I mentioned disc golf in this space as a perfect fall-time activity. 0

Keeping Score: Gar Story

Good morning! Garfish lurk in the murky waters of the Mississippi River and other parts of the world. The largest and creepiest are alligator gars. They grow to be seven feet and weigh over 200 pounds. Their long, flat snouts make them look like a fish with an alligator head. They are the devil’s version of a mermaid. I became fascinated with them in school after I read a story about an alligator gar that jumped into a fisherman’s canoe while he was casting on 0