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Jaywalking

Jaywalking: Sports Cave

It has been just over one year since I was able to afford my very own sports cave.

I had an old dilapidated room in the back of my house that was in rougher shape than Tom Coughlin’s future as coach of the New York Giants. Following a complete makeover performed by future father-in-law John Maguire and a couple of his friends, I was able to transform what was once a haven for spiders and mice into a spacious room I filled with a sectional couch, two televisions, a small refrigerator and sports memorabilia, including a piece of a football used in the game from the Giants’ most recent Super Bowl win, as well as an autographed Bobby Orr picture, and a piece of the net from Game 7 of the Bruins-Canucks Stanley Cup Final.

It’s every guy’s sports dream to have their own sports cave and the newest one in town happens to be on the radio. Local guys Gary Beauchemin and Mike Graffius began broadcasting The Sports Cave on Greenfield Community Radio Station 107.9-FM, WMCB. The weekly radio show, which hit the airwaves for the first time on Oct. 16, runs live for two hours on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. It is then rebroadcast on Thursday morning (6-8), Saturday night (8-10) and Sunday morning (8-10).

I had never heard of the radio station prior to making contact with Beauchemin just over a month ago, but it’s a low-power station that can be heard mainly in Greenfield. The signal starts to fade as you leave the city (yeah, I called Greenfield a city), but the show can be streamed live online at WMCB.net. Beauchemin is working on a website for the show so that listeners can listen any time, but that is still in the works.

Beauchemin is a 2006 graduate of Athol High School, where he played four years of varsity football and was a three-year varsity track athlete. He came up with the idea for the show after wanting to break into radio as a DJ. Because WMCB has a number of music-based shows, Beauchemin decided to set himself apart by starting a local sports talk show.

“I’ve been trying to get into radio for a while,” he said. “I’ve always had that interest. I didn’t really think it was going to be a sports show, but realizing that WMCB had tons of music-oriented shows, I wanted to do something different. There is nothing really on local sports in this area and I love sports.”

Beauchemin was originally going to hit the airwaves as a one-man show but discussed the idea with Graffius, a Turners Falls native who is also a co-worker of Beauchemin’s at the Association for Community Living in Greenfield. Graffius, who is more comedic relief to Beauchemin’s sports takes, eventually came on board and the two have worked into a rhythm in which they play off each other well.

“We try to have fun on the show as well,” Beauchemin said. “We do try to add that loose, comedic-type vibe to it. We throw in music as well, mixing in different genres. You kind of get a little bit of everything.”

Beauchemin decided he wanted to set the show up to be half-local, half-national sports talk and he made it a point to incorporate local guests on the show.

“We try to have at least one interview or special guest per show,” Beauchemin said. “That’s ultimately what I wanted. Now, it’s grown into finding topics to discuss, such as our discussion on head injuries in football last week. We are trying to keep the basic format where local sports come first.”

In the first two months, Beauchemin has had a wide range of guests. He’s had Greenfield football coach and athletic director Mike Kuchieski and some of the Green Wave football players, Frontier volleyball coach Sean MacDonald and players Sarah Woodward and Courtney Shea-Newsome, Athol girls’ soccer coach Tim Cleveland and star player Molly Cleveland, and former Frontier volleyball player Alyssa Stankowski. The show has also had on Franklin Tech athletic director as well as football and wrestling coach Joe Gamache, a show favorite who earned the nickname Gamma Ray and is mentioned at least once a week by the duo. Local media personality and Recorder Sports contributor Chris Collins has made an appearance, and local semi-professional football player/manager Mike Bresciano was on recently. The two have also had me on as a guest multiple times.

Having local people on the show has helped spread the word about the program and Beauchemin added that he is also seeking former area athletes who are interested in appearing on the show. If anybody knows someone that might be interested, they can contact Beauchemin through the show’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sportscave) or by calling 978-407-6210.

Beauchemin is not yet sure who will be on the show this week, but said they will most definitely cover the first week of the high school sports season as well as UMass basketball’s latest victory.

It’s a show that should continue to grow, because a local sports talk show is something the area could certainly use. The radio station just moved into its new home, which is located on the bottom floor of the Masonic Building on Main Street in Greenfield. It was formerly housed in the same studio as GCTV, but was broadcast from a studio that was smaller than most bathroom closets. It now has a window-front office located just east of the Garden Cinemas in town. Beauchemin also hopes to be able to take live callers on the show in the near future. And he just found out that they are planning to tape the show in studio and rebroadcast is on GCTV as well.

“The response from the station staff has been overwhelming,” Beauchemin said. “And we continue to pick up listeners every week. We hope to continue to offer more information on the show and make things more interesting guest-wise. That’s why we are looking for past players. They are just as interesting to listen to as current players.”

***

Covering high school games can be tricky. Things happen very quickly, and unlike in professional sports, we don’t have the luxury to check things out on instant replay.

Thus, I owe Mohawk football player Bryce Macleod an apology. The senior played in his final football game on Thanksgiving Eve against Frontier and he was involved in perhaps the biggest play of the game to help Mohawk rally for an 18-13 victory. The play in question came late in the fourth quarter with Frontier holding a 13-12 lead. The Red Hawks were driving and trying to take as much time off the clock as possible when quarterback Matt Ackerman fell victim to a combination of the Mohawk defense, as well as the elements, that included a mix of snow and rain. Ackerman fumbled the ball and a pile-up ensued. In the story that ran the next day, I credited the fumble recovery to Luke Bissell, who was right on top of Macleod in the pile up. It was Macleod, however, who came away with the loose ball that helped set up the game-winning touchdown drive by the Warriors.

I know that for many people (myself included), keeping a binder of old high school sports clips is important. And the play is likely the last of Macleod’s football career. I can’t make up for every mistake, but wanted to make that right. Sorry, Bryce.

***

I’ve been quiet about the Giants lately. Can you blame me?

The team is a mess and it’s not getting better, although at this point the best thing for the team is to keep losing games to ensure a better draft pick. They shouldn’t have to try hard if Eli Manning keeps throwing five interceptions per game.

And I will not hate on the Patriots this week. The Pats are going to the postseason and while I truly don’t believe they have what it takes to win a Super Bowl due to the amount of players lost to injury, it should be another exciting January for New England fans — until the AFC Championship Game loss that is imminent.

Oh well, I couldn’t help myself.

Jason Butynski is a Greenfield native and Recorder sportswriter. His email address is jbutynski@recorder.com.

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