Sports Columns

Jaywalking: MIAA strikes again

This past weekend was supposed to be for some the fulfillment of high school dreams. It became a nightmare. The common villain in all cases? No! You won’t believe it: The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. It was not a good weekend for the folks at the MIAA offices, as eyebrows all over the state were raised due to a number of decisions spanning multiple sports. It all started Friday when two stories broke. The first thing I heard that day was that schools from across 0

Keeping Score: CC That

Good morning! Paul Matties says there’s a bettor at Belmont Park today who will wager $10,000 on California Chrome — all in $2 tickets. “He thinks he’ll be able to sell them as souvenirs,” laughed Matties, who lives near Saratoga and is a professional gambler. That’s one way to get more value out of a 3-to-5 shot. California Chrome is seeking to be the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978, and un-cashed tickets from that race are selling 0

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 0

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 0

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 0

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 1

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 0

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 0

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 0

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. 0