How many times a year does the calendar change? You might think that is an easy one, but it isn’t really, unless you know what language I am speaking. The easy answer would be 12, but if you realized I was thinking about the sports calendar, you would have a different answer. It could be three or four, or some other number, depending upon who plays or follows which sport.
I remember asking my granddaughter a few times in recent years, which sports season was her favorite. Although I was starting to get along in years by then, I thought she might have changed her answer a few times. It was easy to figure things out, when one year she answered my inquiry by saying, whatever season it is.
For her, field hockey was her favorite in the fall, basketball in the winter and softball in the spring. Sometimes she played all three during the summer months, but I don’t think I ever threw her a curve ball like I should have and asked her what her favorite was during summer vacation when she sometimes played all three within a week.
The Vermont Principals Association and the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association have a calendar of dates for each of the sports seasons. They both also allow each of the sports open time for all when school is out and high school practice and game dates have been put away. The VPA has made a couple of changes in their calendar in the last decade or so, which has proven to be family-friendly. They cut one week off the football pre-season, which gives athletes more summer time and now start winter sports after Thanksgiving, giving the holiday to the athletes and their families.
Having said all that, the 2017 fall sports season is underway in both states. Football scrimmages will begin before I write another column and athletes in all fall sports will begin their fall competition shortly after.
Bellows Falls is the defending champion in Vermont Division II football, while both Springfield and Fall Mountain are hoping they can move forward in a way that they can develop and sustain a consistent program. BF’s Bob Lockerby should be on high, coming off a Vermont Shrine game victory and now meeting his 2017 team, which he hopes can overcome Fair Haven’s favorite tag in division II and pull off a back to back. No area coach was likely hungrier for practices to begin this week.
“Division II has a lot of good teams this year,” Lockerby told us Monday. He goes on to say, “We lost a lot, but we have reported with healthy bodies and we hope to keep them this way. We are only planning on scrimmaging once that will help. We have about 40 players, including freshmen and I am looking forward to it. It is fun to see how much players grow between seasons. We know some of what we have, but then we always look to see who will be the one to step up to make a difference this year.”
The one Bellows Falls scrimmage will on Saturday Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. under the lights of Hadley Field versus Windsor. Last year when I took in the same two teams scrimmaging at Windsor, I knew the Terriers should be a contender, but I left the town shaking my head after D-III Windsor held their own against them. Windsor really impressed me, but I wondered if the Terriers were going to be all that was advertised. When night fell on title day, both teams were holding state title trophies. BF will open the official 2017 season at Spaulding of Barre Friday evening, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.
Springfield showed some signs of growth last fall, but it was this week when Cosmos coach Rich Saypack really knew how much his team had come along. “Day one went very well,” Saypack told us when we inquired. “Today we had a real practice, not an organizational meeting. That shows we have grown.” He went on to say, “We have some experience, everything isn’t brand new to them.”
Springfield will host Fall Mountain in a scrimmage, Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. at Brown Field. These two have had a number of productive sessions over the years. The Cosmos will really be challenged on Saturday Aug. 26 at 3 p.m. when they travel to Division I Hartford for a second session. Oxbow, who the Cosmos play later in the season, will also be competing in that get-together. Saypack’s 11 have a close by trip in their opener on Saturday of Labor Day weekend, when they travel to Windsor for a 1 p.m. opening game.
Orion Binney is the new sheriff in town in Langdon and will get his first chance to see where his Fall Mountain team is really at in that Springfield scrimmage. “We are almost up to 30 kids,” he told us Monday, going on to say, “in most ways we are starting from scratch, especially because everything is brand new. We only have six or seven juniors and seniors, so we hope they will be ready to go. We do have a few talented kids.”
The Wildcats second scrimmage will also be on the road, as they will go up against Mascoma at 10 a.m. on Saturday Aug. 26. Fall Mountain will open their regular season on Saturday Sept. 2 against Interlakes in another road cont