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Sports Columns

On The Trail: Spring hothouse

Hectic week, saturating overnight rains that were torrential at times, backyard brook roiled to a soothing roar. Although it may be impossible, I suspect the upper hayfields I walk each day grew eight inches in a day, downpours soaking our fertile, engorged Earth Mother, pushing seed heads toward the heavens, awaiting bright sunlight to stretch them higher. I just walk the dogs and watch the magic unfurl. And, oh, how the animals love it, moist, dense, gray air, them springing up over the cover, zigging

Jaywalking: Mayo bet

I betcha! Those words can be described many ways. Call it the start to a challenge or call them fighting words, but when one person begins a sentence with “I bet you,” it’s put-up or shut-up time for the challenged. That person must either accept the bet, or decline, in which case the other person has all but essentially won anyway. There have been some historically lopsided duels in which one person has challenged another. One of the oldest would be David vs. Goliath, in

Keeping Score: Comfort zone

Good morning! Greenfield’s Josh Hillman won’t be intimidated by the company he’s keeping on Monday, even if it includes two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen. Earlier this month Hillman qualified for the U.S. Open Sectionals by shooting a 2-under-par 70 at the Schuyler Meadows Club in Loudonville, N.Y. The opening round eliminated roughly 90 percent of 10,127 scratch golfers worldwide who were trying to qualify for one of about 50 spots in the U.S. Open that is two weeks hence in Pinehurst, N.C. Now he

On the Trail: Meadow mayhem

I suppose it would have represented unavoidable carnage to most observers. Yes, just another pathetic victim of the modern, mechanized world. But to me, the mangled painted turtle said much more, some of it unprintable in old-fashioned news. It’s spooky in a sense. I had been on the lookout recently for turtles I annually pass down by the river, the shelled creatures seeking sandy plateaus on which to bury their spring eggs. I discover the critters by watching the dogs, recognizing their cautious demeanor upon

Jaywalking: Sully

One evening back in 1993, Mark Sullivan told his neighbor and softball coach Charles Mullins that if Mullins ever needed anyone to hit fly balls at practice, he’d be happy to help out. That coach, better known as Turners Falls High School legend Gary Mullins, told him he would love some help, so Sullivan, better known to area folks as Sully, showed up the next day. That was 22 years ago. Sully has not missed a season since, and on Sunday night, prior to the

On The Trail: Skirting issues

Another week, new impetus, birds still at the fore. That time of year, I guess: nesting season. What crossed my daily path this time, on a bright, sunny, Wednesday morning, a cool, gentle, westerly breeze keeping my brow dry, was a pair of Canada geese and eight or 10 tiny, day-or-two-old, golden fuzzy goslings paddling up the Green River, the little ones — which I didn’t bother to count — vulnerable indeed. For all I know, they could have been eggs earlier that morning. That

Keeping Score: Swinging for a dream

Good morning! The long odds of playing in next month’s U.S. Open were reduced significantly this week for Greenfield native Josh Hillman who shot a 2-under-par 70 at the Schuyler Meadows Club in Loudonville, N.Y. The course was one 111 playing venues where 10,127 golfers began the process of trying to qualify for next month’s Open at Pinehurst, N.C. “The odds are long,” the U.S. Golf Association says on its website, “but the qualifying process gives everyone with a dream a chance to play in

On The Trail: Birdie babel

Birds are in my brain as I sit here today to hammer out this weekly chore. So, yes, it’s birds I plan to discuss, always battling those persistent Satanic urges to wander off into the perilous terrain of sensitive topics, which it seems to me readers prefer. As for birds, well, no, I honestly can’t say this thought train was triggered by the mated pair of mallards Chubby flushed out of a cold, slim channel between tall, verdant cattails coloring the beaver-bog edge this morning.

Jaywalking: Headline gripes

A couple weeks back, Greenfield High School girls’ track & field athlete Claire Abelson asked through her father and Recorder editorial page editor Justin Abelson why her team never got a headline. I responded half-jokingly that you need to win or do something special to get headlines. Truth be told, the stories that get the headlines are generally the best games of the day, whether it be because the game features two of the best teams, or because the game was what you might call

Keeping Score: Sogard’s pop

Good morning! Two Oakland A’s players caught my attention last weekend on NESN. Bearded catcher Derek Norris looked like Sasquatch, and bespectacled infielder Eric Sogard looked like my nephew Pete Weiss, who lives in Athens, Vermont and plays in a band called the Weisstronauts. That was the extent of it until an anonymous tipster emailed me that Sogard’s father grew up in Wendell and played on Vic Colo’s Mahar Regional baseball team. “Dad’s name is Bruce,” said the source. “I believe he went to college