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Sports Columns

On The Trail: Shelled mystery

A gray, wet Tuesday morning, rain pelting down, backyard brook up a little and running muddy as the dogs crunch dry nuggets from rusty, cast-iron Wagner skillets on the concrete floor just inside the cook-shed stoop. It’s looking more and more like this morning we’ll just walk the brook a short distance once they’re through eating, me taking special precautions, wearing my light green rubber Crocs with bald, slippery treads indeed underfoot. But then, as though ordered from the heavens, the rain lets up considerably 0

Jaywalking: Inspirational competitor

The Bridge of Flowers 10K Classic always seems to bring about incredible feats of athleticism. Whether it’s someone more than twice my age completing the course, someone finishing in an incredible time or something else, when 1,000 runners gather for the event, you are sure to see something inspiring. Saturday’s race may have been the most inspirational yet, as Naomi Clark of Ashfield pedaled her way into history when she became the first person in a wheelchair to compete in and finish the course. Clark 0

Keeping Score: Group Analysis

Good morning! Before the seventh race at Saratoga on Monday, Bill Gutfarb and several of his syndicate partners were keeping a keen eye on Analysis, their gelded racehorse sired by Freud. “He gets rattled in the paddock,” said Robert Driver, whose wife Monica operates the Mosaic Racing Stable. “We put cotton in his ears.” Back in the barn trainer George Weaver had already saddled the 5-year-old gelding twice without incident, but here in the paddock Analysis was throwing a fit. “That’s not a good sign,” 0

On The Trail: Harbingers of fall

Maybe I’m getting old and that’s why time flies as it does, but it’s hard to believe that summer has already faded to its stretch run. Signs abound in the fields, the woods, the ornamental bushes gracing tidy country lawns. The first hint for me that fall was near were my two Rose of Sharon bushes sporting purple flowers, which, by the way, my dog, Chubby, eats daily. He actually goes to the bush along my western perimeter, securely envelops a blossom between his jaws, 0

Jaywalking: Give it a Tri

Luke Martin knew he was getting no younger. In fact, athletic competition served as a constant reminder of that. So what did he do about it? Well ... put his body through a grueling series of physical activities Sunday. No, it wasn’t some crazy midlife crisis. The 33-year-old Greenfield native competed in the 32nd Greenfield Lightlife Triathlon at the Green River Swimming & Recreation Area. It was the first time the Greenfield High School eighth-grade history teacher took part in the endurance test, which began 0

Keeping Score: Fleeting pleasure

Good morning! A slice of cherry pie and coffee was the capper at Timoleon’s in Keene recently. I was browsing the local sports section and noticed the Swamp Bats were in town against the Vermont Mountaineers at Alumni Field. With nothing else to do on a splendid summer evening, I drove across town to the neighborly ballpark where pine needles were floating into the grandstand on a gentle westerly breeze that was taking the sweat off an 82-degree evening. The New England Collegiate Baseball League 0

On The Trail: Roadside rambler

Two phone calls, a month apart, reporting separate sightings of a New England phantom, added perspective gleaned from a morning trip to my old stomping grounds, and here I sit, molding it into an outdoors tale for the sports page. So let’s begin with the apparition, otherwise known as mountain lion or catamount or panther or puma or, heaven forbid, Eastern cougar — an agile, secretive and potentially dangerous beast that once roamed these parts as a top-of-the-food-chain North American predator, which has now, for 0

For Seymour, NASCAR firefighting fits his routine

Norm Seymour nearly found himself in victory lane Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. No, he was not one of the 43 stock-car drivers competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 5-Hour Energy 301, which took place that afternoon. The Millers Falls resident was working as a pit-road firefighter during NASCAR’s first of two annual stops at New England’s big-time oval. On Sunday, Seymour was stationed in Kevin Harvick’s pit box, and Harvick nearly won the race before “settling” for third. If 0

Keeping Score: That’s the ticket

Good morning! South Deerfield’s Bob Ouellette had four box seats to see the Yankees play the Red Sox at Fenway Park two weeks ago but nearly wound up watching from a Boston barstool. A diehard Yankees fan named John Sullivan had given him the tickets as a get well gesture to Ron Husted. Their friend and UMass co-worker wasn’t up for the trip, however, and so Ouellette took his daughter Alyssa, Ron’s son Dylan, and Dylan’s two friends Evan Bourque and Nick Muzyka. “We took 0

On The Trail: Wild apples, bees and stuff

Good news for deer hunters: From what I’ve encountered, there’s a bumper crop of wild apples. I guess it all starts for me in the front yard, where, just off the road at the driveway outflow, stands an old, tired, scabby, partially hollow apple tree I cannot identify. In nearly 20 years of observation, this mystery apple tree, which may soon be identified if I take a sample apple to Tom Clark at Clarkdale Orchards, has had many sparse years, some with almost no apples 0