Sports Columns

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

Keeping Score: Horse play

Good morning! Quiet time’s up for John Dobrydnio. He’s read the Form, watched the replays, talked to the railbirds and is ready to proclaim the winner of tonight’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Two months ago he picked long shot VE Day to win the Travers Stakes at Saratoga, but that matters little in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of horse wagering. A field of 14 thoroughbreds will go into the starting gate at Santa Anita Park for the 11/4-mile race. “It’s the toughest classic I’ve ever encountered but 0

On the Trail: Myth mayhem

As the Beaver Moon builds in the midnight sky, I’ve been stuck on the ancient beaver myth, my meandering thoughts briefly disrupted by backyard leave-removal chores and a fresh cordwood load dumped out back Wednesday morning by Blue Sky, a good man who left a tidy mound in front of the sliding woodshed door. I do hope to get it in promptly and return to pheasant hunting. Lily and Chubby, eager and capable gun dogs, have been displaying that familiar, palpable, pouting melancholia they wear 0

Keeping Score: Writing lesson

Good morning! One morning over coffee at Green Fields Market, my friend Bob Diamond guessed how long it takes for me to write the Saturday column: “What, a couple of hours?” Guess again. Assumptions like Bob’s are what caused German essayist Thomas Mann to wryly observe: “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” Two hours? Its taken that long for a phrase lurking in my subconscious to come unglued. Anybody can write, it’s what comes off 1

On The Trail: Weirdness

Weird: that’s how I’d characterize what’s been happening in my travels since we last met. Then, at other times, same-old, same-old, nothing at all peculiar. Oh well. That’s life. The weirdness started on my ride home from work through The Meadows before midnight a week ago. In a field where I often see deer, yup, you guessed it, a set of shining eyes I suspected to be those of a deer and were indeed — a doe, ears at 45-degree upright alert, head high, lying 0

Keeping Score: The long goodbye

Good morning! Mike Russo’s career coaching soccer at Williams College is drawing to a close. “Probably if I was smart I would’ve gone out last year when we went to the Final Four,” joked Russo, who grew up in Deerfield. One win in the Ephs’ final three matches will assure Russo of his 31st consecutive winning season, a streak that was in doubt after the Ephs lost their third straight match, a 2-1 setback at Connecticut College in New London on Sept. 27. Former Deerfield 1

On The Trail: Sweet 16

I returned from my daily walk with the dogs Tuesday morning, taunting firewood load piled on the lawn in front of the backyard woodshed, and was greeted by a long, narrow, triangular package leaning upright against the iron vice attached to the carriage-shed work bench by the side door. I knew what it was: a one-piece Tico Tool 12- and 16-guage shotgun cleaning rod I had ordered online. Nice! The final piece of the puzzle with upland bird-hunting season opening Saturday. No. Check that. One 0

Jaywalking: Hall calls Doton

When she was in grade school, Kelly Doton had dreams of playing sports later in life just like any other young athlete. The Greenfield native excelled in the sport of ice hockey as a youngster and thought that if she worked hard and continued with it, she might be able to play in college. When she moved on to Greenfield Middle School, she decided to try a new sport that was a version of ice hockey played on grass. That is how Doton began her 0

Keeping Score: No win situation

Good morning! How would you like to be football coach for a day, have a 27-point lead and try keeping it for the last 31 minutes of play? Think you could do it? UMass coach Mark Whipple couldn’t. He let what was a 41-14 blowout slip away last week and lost to a winless Miami of Ohio team, 42-41. The shocking implosion wasn’t what fans anticipated when Whipple was hired last January. “Winning a championship at the 1-A level is the next goal,” he told 0