Sports Columns

Jaywalking: Holiday blowouts

It was 77 degrees and sunny back on Aug. 18. That was a little more than three months ago, marking the first day of practice for high school football teams. Now, after countless snaps, runs, passes, turnovers and touchdowns, we have arrived at the final few days of the 2014 season. And the final days will look very different from opening day, as the forecast is calling for cold, snowy conditions. Regardless of the weather, Turkey Day football is going to be played at four 0

Keeping Score: Talkin’ Football

Good morning! Column contributor Jamin Hemenway has been from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville to Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. He was at Mountaineer Field the day Tavon Austin rolled up 572 yards against Oklahoma, and he was at Memorial Field in Lawrence to see Kansas beat Colorado with five fourth quarter touchdowns. “I would’ve seen Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush play at Notre Dame in 2005 but I was in Shanghai, listening on internet radio in a Chinese hotel room at about 0

On The Trail: Trigger happy

Not complaining, just one of those weeks, I guess. Yes, one of those stretches when weird stuff requiring immediate attention comes at you like bugs at a hot muggy windshield. It all started with irritating gun woes late last week. First, while pursuing a wild flush — it a long-tailed, vociferous ring-neck rooster whose landing I had marked — I was astonished to come up empty in a dense thicket and decided to expand the search over an old, tree-bordered fence line into a shin-high 0

Jaywalking: A cut above

One day before I spoke with Mohawk Trail Regional High School cross-country coach Joe Chadwick about his girls’ team, I got a surprise visit from another Hall of Fame coach, Pete Conway, who dropped by the office last week. He brought with him an old scrapbook full of memories from his days as head coach of the Greenfield High School cross-country and track & field teams. The highlight of the book and the reason for his office appearance, was to show off the clippings from 0

Keeping Score: Going strong

Good morning! Former UMass safety James Ihedigbo has played for four NFL teams, including the Patriots. This year, he signed with the Lions. According to, the terms included a $750,000 base salary, a $375,000 signing bonus and a $25,000 workout bonus. Watching him slap his hands back and forth against his helmet after picking a pass on Sunday, I got the feeling he’d play for nothing. It reminded me of the time UMass coach Kevin Morris asked him to speak at training camp in 0

On the Trail: Blind faith

He was out for an afternoon walk on a sunny fall Friday, I on my way home from hunting, a fun day behind two seasoned gun dogs through thick thorny cover. I pulled over, stopped, slid down my passenger’s window and said hello, he having just crossed to the south side of a bridge. I have known the man for many years and share many of his Whately roots, but don’t ask me how the conversation began because I don’t recall. Eventually, though, I pulled 0

Jaywalking: Sideline chatter

There are lots of reasons to love tournament season. It’s the time of year when every game counts. It makes for great drama every night, and when games live up to their billing, it’s even better. Tournament season also gives me the opportunity to hit the road and take in live games every day, something that is not easy to do with such a small sports staff (only three of us) during the hustle and bustle that is the regular season. The best part about 0

Keeping Score: Rivalry redux

Good morning! Today’s marquee game is 20 miles down the road in Amherst where the Lord Jeffs host Williams College. This historic rivalry will resume for its 129th year. The game will be contested at Pratt Field. The gridiron dates to 1891, making it the third-oldest NCAA playing site in the country. New additions include lights and an eight-lane track around the field. Some fans feel the $12.5 million renovation puts the facility on the cutting edge. Others will be pining for the anachronistic feel 0

On the trail: Branching out

Saturday morning, after 10, gray, damp, rain holding off, me reading, phone rings. My buddy Cooker’s calling from the field on his cell, hunting over young male springer spaniel, Gizmo. “Hey, I’m hunting down by Duncan’s and, trust me, it’s your kinda covert. You ought to head down. You’ll like it. I’ve already killed a hen, flushed two roosters and have the place to myself. It’s three times the size of (your favorite covert), and thicker.” Intending to hunt later, anyway, it was exactly the 0

Jaywalking: Hoop junkie

It was a phone call Tim Caplice did not want to miss, but as he lounged around on his couch watching football one recent Sunday, he did exactly that. Caplice was late getting to his phone when he heard it ringing and saw the missed call/voice-mail from Greenfield High School athletic director Mike Kuchieski. He excitedly listened to the message, hoping it contained the words he wanted to hear. “He called to congratulate me on getting the job,” Caplice said, and with that he became 0