Sports Columns

Keeping Score: Close Shave

Good morning! ESPN’s “Playing for the Mob” has rekindled embarrassing memories for not only Boston College but also The Boston Globe, which broke the story about the basketball team’s point -shaving scandal during the 1978-79 season. The 80-minute documentary tells how BC forward Rick Kuhn conspired with two of his hoodlum friends from Pittsburgh to bet against the Eagles. When New York mobster Jimmy Burke got involved, Kuhn enlisted the help of starters Ernie Cobb and Jim Sweeney. They made enough bad passes and missed 0

On the Trail: Cougar Spatz

Oh no. Not again. Of course, I should have known better. Doesn’t cougar chatter always draw feedback? Sometimes from faraway places you’d never imagine? Although, really, I can’t claim this one came out of the clear blue. No. In fact, I had given thought of hitting this man with an email after fielding the suspicious telephone report of five cougars crossing Route 116 in front of a northbound vehicle in broad daylight in North Amherst of all places. Having never lived where cougars roam, I 0

Jaywalking: Young gun

Five years ago, Rebecca Rodgers was a 9-year-old getting introduced to the sport of curling by watching it during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. This week, she is competing on one of the 10 women’s teams to qualify for the 2015 Junior National Championships in Devil’s Lake, N.D. Like many people, Rodgers first got introduced to curling during the Vancouver Games. I also got my first taste of the sport that year, and wound up going to an open house at the Petersham Curling Club, 0

Keeping Score: Sound bite

Good morning! My friend John Blair says there are plenty of restaurants in Florida but the knack is finding a good one. I tried Carmela’s off Route 1 in Juno Beach, a pizza joint with a menu that included gluten-free entrees, and entreaties to “Follow us on twitter” and “Find us on Facebook.” Why? What do I care what the chef is concocting? The place used to be called Barrymore’s and it served a good cut of prime rib. Today it still caters to a 1

On The Trail: No way?

It never ceases to amaze me how, whenever I write about cougars, emails come flying at me, reporting local sightings or curious discoveries that could be the work of cougars. Last week was no different: first, a deer hunter who explores Mt. Toby’s deepest reaches, then a woman who lives and grew up in Sunderland, and finally, another lady who lives in Greenfield and dabbles in wildlife photography. The latter says she clearly saw a cougar cross the road in front of her car in 1

Jaywalking: Barnstorming

It’s amazing where a story can lead you to. Two days before Christmas, I touched on some of the history of Nichols Gymnasium in Greenfield. The gym opened when the new high school opened up in 1958 and has all sorts of stories to tell from its 57 years of service to the area. After the story ran, I heard from a few people with tales to tell — things I missed or never knew even happened. One of those people was David Fitz of 0

Keeping Score: Taking the over

Good morning! The three best days of the football season are upon us. It begins today at Gillette Stadium where the Patriots are seven point favorites to beat the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Conference semifinals. This isn’t the match-up that Patriots fans wanted. The Ravens have come, seen, and conquered New England in two of their last three postseason encounters. New England’s only win was 23-20 on a fourth quarter touchdown run by Tom Brady in the 2011 AFC championship. Two weeks later they 0

On the Trail: Toby travelers?

The full Wolf Moon curls its lip, displays a stained ivory canine and snarls from high in the cold midnight sky. Uh-oh! Here we go again. Cougars. Yeah, you know — tawny, four legs, long, thick tail, square-ish face with black features along the nose and ears. Everyone who sees one is spellbound in awe of the power and grace, the body length, the unmistakable cat-like gait and agility. But this local tale is different from scores of others you’ve read here, because this time 0

Jaywalking: Goodbye friend

I never had the chance to work with Mike “Ace” Kelley at the Recorder. His days of newspaper writing ended when I was still in high school, leading up to our new millennium, his career another casualty of the disease that tragically claimed his life on Christmas Day at age 48. Although I knew of his diabetes struggles, that is not what defined the man I came to call friend. In fact, even though I knew it was the disease that kept him sidelined from 0

Keeping Score: Hazard in the rough

Good morning! There are more golf courses in Palm Beach County than any place in the country. Travelers can see the mowed fairways, clipped greens and sparkling ponds while their aircraft’s descending down onto the landing strip at PBI airport. It’s nature on a leash, and Frank White was explaining what happens when the leash breaks. White’s a caddie. He grew up in Providence and graduated from Boston College. Shortly after 9/11 he traded in his briefcase for a golf bag and works the Florida 0