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Sports Columns

On The Trail: Buzzing bushes

When you’re born into a place, stay and have deep roots there, then explore it for more than a half-century and write about it from many perspectives over nearly 40 years in the public sphere, you’re bound to gather an insightful local corps of loyal readers who understand your focus and chime in as spotters and sources from time to time with helpful tips. Enter Bill Gokey of Conway by way of Leverett, which is where I met him 35 years ago when purchasing a 0

Jaywalking: Deep in Conway woods, disc golf taking off

Who knew you could play 18 holes of golf in Conway? Think I’m nuts? Well, hold on a second — I didn’t say you could whack a golf ball with a club on a course in Conway, but thanks to Dave Balkema and Jennifer Jensen, you can throw a disc through the woods and into metal baskets. It’s called disc golf — something I knew nothing about until recently, especially the fact that our little neck of the woods was home to an 18-hole course. 0

Keeping Score: Bad call

Good Morning! I was sitting next to the cash register in Brad’s Place Thursday, enjoying a toasted sandwich packed with lettuce, tomatoes and three slices of hot greasy bacon. “Best BLT east of the traffic light,” boasted owner Dan Devine. Grillmaster Phil Courtemanche walked past me and asked, “You gonna write about Orsillo?” He was referring to Don Orsillo, the longtime Red Sox TV announcer who’s getting the boot after 15 seasons. The higher-ups at NESN reportedly wanted Orsillo and sidekick Jerry Remy to tone 0

On The Trail: Foreign vipers, wild foods

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! But jungle snakes as well? Hmmm? We’ll see. As the Sturgeon Moon wanes toward the fall equinox and the hard- and soft-mast crops mature, I’m still in my summer mode when the first quarter-mile of the last leg of my daily walk back to the truck brings me through the refreshing Green River, known to the Happy Valley’s first people as the Picomegan. Wearing shorts and Keen sandals — my grandsons call theirs “water shoes” — which offer 0

Keeping Score: Behold the Pharoah

Good morning! The gates opened early today at Saratoga Race Course, where 50,000 people are pushing and tugging for a look at Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Not since hippies danced in the mud at Yasgur’s farm has upstate New York been inundated by such a celebratory crowd of thrill seekers. The 3-year-old brown colt has reeled off eight straight wins and is the 1-5 favorite to win again today in the 146th Travers Stakes. The 13-race card is a sellout. Grandstand seats are selling 0

On The Trail: The bear situation

The Sturgeon Moon is building toward its Saturday climax in the deep midnight sky, with the smell of cow corn in the air. Bear season is upon us. For the first time in recent memory this year it will be extended 12 days by adding a third segment, that being a slugs-only opportunity coinciding with shotgun deer season. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. The first 17-day September bear season opens on Sept. 8 — as usual, the day after Labor Day. MassWildlife has 0

Jaywalking: Participation trophies get little support locally

Trophies for everyone does nothing for anyone. That was how one local coach summed it up when asked for thoughts on participation trophies. It has become one of the most debated topics across the land recently, after volatile Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison said that he confiscated what he considers pointless awards from his 6- and 8-year-old sons after they returned from a football camp. Here’s what he had to say to defend his verdict: I came home to find out that my boys received 0

On The Trail: Cougar comments

Cougars and catfish derbies, a book recently finished, and a troubling climate-change piece in last week’s Rolling Stone magazine. Hmmmm? Where to start? OK, cougars. Yes, cougars, despite that recent call from a woman I’ve known for some time pleading that I cease and desist writing about them. She says she and others know of a pair, including a grayish colored female, and fears some 4-wheeler yahoos will soon shoot one dead. I don’t know what to think of such a claim, but I’m always 0

Jaywalking: Pedal power

Who would have figured that it would be the recipe for something so popular? Start with a little bit of bicycling, add a dash of camping and throw in a whole lot of Iowa. The result is something called the RAGBRAI, an annual bicycling event across the state of Iowa. A few weeks back, Tim and Laura Kelleher took a break from running the Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home to make the trek to the heartland, where they took part in the event. The two Greenfield residents 0

Keeping Score: No breaks

(Second of two parts) Good morning! Monica Driver was “catatonic with nerves” before the seventh race at Saratoga Race Course on August 3. Turf races favor horses that have drawn the inside posts, and her 5-year-old gelding named Analysis would be stationed on the outside in post 10 (which is 1-for-22 at this writing). That was the least of her worries. As the managing partner of the Mosaic Racing Stable, she would be answering to the concerns of the stable’s other members on race day. 0