Sports Columns

On the Trail: Close encounter

Although there’s other stuff I could get into, interesting topics I’m confident readers would enjoy, it’s back to black bears — specifically a big Wendell bruin that may be attempting to befriend a dear old friend of mine, himself a large, bearded, bear-like man and gentle giant. Who knows? Maybe the burly four-legged creature thought my buddy, Big R, was his long-lost brother or half-cousin. Stranger things have happened, I suppose. And remember, my buddy’s great-grandfather was a full-blooded Algonquian of the Ottawa tribe. So 0

Jaywalking: Tight team

There are lots of things to do on a summer evening in our area. Cooking on the grill, sitting around the campfire or on a patio, or going for a walk or a run as the sun sets are some ways to enjoy the evening and relax. Another activity that screams summer evenings is taking in a baseball game, and that’s something I’ve been able to do in recent weeks, following the Greenfield Post 81 American Legion Baseball team during its run to the Western 0

Keeping Score: Road rage

Good morning! There’s nothing like an old fashioned rhubarb to liven up the dog days of summer at Monadnock Speedway, where Mini-Stock driver Mike Stebbins’ six wins in two months had his fellow competitors conspiring to snatch the checkered flag from him before the light could turn green. Stebbins drives a Honda CRX with a four-cylinder Honda engine that’s superior to the Ford engines that other drivers use to barrel around the quarter-mile bullring. Whether it’s legal is the question, and Stebbins steadfastly maintains his 0

On the Trail: Photo finish

I can’t claim shock because I had an idea a neighbor or random passerby had probably seen that bear my dogs and I recently jumped out of a narrow strip of wetland before it tore up five plastic-covered hay bales nestled along an adjacent tree line above. In fact, I was confident additional information would come my way. Hey, maybe even a photo — definitely not out of the question these days when most people carry cell phones and are thus camera-ready. That’s one good 0

Jaywalking: Travelin’ man

Andrew Doty will spend the next nine days in the Dominican Republic playing baseball, giving back. Doty will be taking part in a trip being sponsored by MVP Baseball, a college recruiting company, and not only will Doty be playing ball against locals, he’ll be donating used baseball gear to Dominicans. It all started last fall after football season. Doty, then a junior quarterback for the Mohawk football team, was one of Franklin County’s most versatile and dangerous players. Doty helped lead Mohawk to the 0

Keeping Score: Saving par

Good morning! On Monday morning Allen Boudreau of Hinsdale, N.H., grabbed the clubs from the back of his pickup, slung the bag over his shoulder and trekked up to the first tee of the Northfield Golf Course. “Thumbs up,” he said of the nine-hole circuit. “I’ve had memberships at lots of courses and this is about the nicest around.” Norhfield’s Rob Ross had already finished his morning round and sat inside the gazebo where the smell of fresh grass clippings and the haze that shrouded 0

On the Trail: Summer mode

It started early last week with a startling sound, an invisible burst of energy, a rumble in the jungle, a rustling, brush- and stick-busting sprint by something near and heavy fleeing up the escarpment from a narrow wetland framing the northwestern perimeter of Sunken Meadow. It was a Tuesday morning and the dogs and I were working our way around a large sumac tree poking prostrate out into the second row of Christmas trees, obscuring our beaten path. As I studied its drupes, which had 0

On The Trail: Oxbow summit

It’s a hot, hazy mid-afternoon, storm threatening, me standing atop Mt. Sugarloaf, a Pioneer Valley landmark whose summit view never gets old to an old guy who climbed it often as a kid. Standing beside me on the lower tier of the observation tower is Dr. Marjorie Holland, a scholar passing through old haunts from her current Ole Miss station, where she teaches biology and, according to her online profile, specializes in: plant ecology and systematics, wetlands ecology, landscape ecology, riparian-systems ecology, biogeochemical cycles, and 0

Keeping Score: A Manny moment

Good morning! In Arizona this summer Greenfield’s Joe Hudson got something the Red Sox would love to include in their rewards program: a big bear hug from Manny Ramirez. The 42-year-old slugger is currently a player-coach with the Chicago Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa, having come full circle from when he was Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year in 1993. To get in playing shape, Ramirez worked out at the Cubs’ minor league complex in Mesa, here Hudson is interning as 0

Jaywalking: Winning formula

Paul Barnard has been around the sport of auto racing for 30 years, but earlier this season, the Montague resident did something he had never done before. He won. Barnard guided his No. 24 1985 Monte Carlo across the finish line in first place to win the 25-lap race in the Thunder Stock Division at Monadnock Speedway on May 10, marking his first career victory. Before you get the wrong idea, Barnard’s story is nothing like that of infamous thoroughbred Zippy Chippy, the most famous 0