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Sports Columns

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

Keeping Score: The Darke side

Every four years a soccer ball crosses over the horizon and we become enthralled with a sport that’s worshiped every place but North America. Thrilling as the U.S. team’s game against Belgium was on Tuesday, it was a loss and it sent the Damn Yankees home with an all-time record of 8-18-6 in World Cup competition. Despite all the hullabaloo that the U.S. is on the cusp of becoming a legitimate contender on the world stage, the team’s 15th-place finish wasn’t as good as 2002 0

Jaywalking: Name game

Lunchtime on the farm has taken on a new look recently. Typically, my father and I congregate around noon for about a half-hour break to eat a sandwich and some fresh vegetables while watching the noontime newscast. But since the start of the World Cup about three weeks ago, we have also spent the break watching some of the games that begin at noon. I’ve got to give my father credit. All you hear from many people over the age of 50 is soccer disdain. 0

Keeping Score: After the gold rush

Good morning! Tuesday’s ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court to allow an anti-casino referendum on November’s ballot promises to liven up the debate about the pros and cons of slot machines and table games in the Commonwealth. A poll published by the Boston Globe reported that voters would keep the casino bill intact, 52 to 41 percent, but a lot can happen between now and Nov. 4. The first hour after the polls close will indeed be gut wrenching for casino executives, construction workers, and 0

On The Trail: Slowdown

The summer solstice has passed, gentle summer breezes are intermittently dislodging small white mock orange flower petals and dropping them to the ground by the bulkhead, the Connecticut River temperature had passed 70 degrees, and the American shad run is, for all intents and purposes, over. Although it has been many years since I’ve been down to the water’s edge to witness the annual phenomenon, I am quite familiar with the drill. By now, the female shad have established lairs, where small schools slowly circle 0

Jaywalking: Helping hands

You’ve probably heard by now or even seen the photos in Saturday’s Recorder, but somehow you know that PGA professional Jason Dufner was hitting balls at Crumpin-Fox Club in Bernardston Friday. The golfer, currently listed at No. 19 in the world golf rankings, was in the area over the weekend to host a number of events for the Jill E. Harrington Hanzalik Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit the Chase Your Dreams Now initiative. The event, billed as the Dream Weekend, was organized by executive director 0