THIS +THAT – The Patriots and Springfield, Vt




Sports are often a diversion for people, who need to get away from real life. Having been either a coach or a sports reporter (or both) since the age of twelve. In all honesty I began coaching minor league baseball (thank you Eddie Kane) when I was 12.  I also have experienced that sports teach incredible life long lessons, which may be needed to help with those needed diversions in the first place.

Sunday was a special day in New England sports as the Patriots won a Super Bowl for the ages and Paul Pierce, one of the greatest Celtics, said good-bye to his fans, returning for his last game in the Garden. I am told, both by my daughter and my granddaughter, as well as a veteran Boston Sports scribe,

“You had to be there to get any perspective on the magnitude of the event.”

For the most part, I feel bad for the Celtics and Pierce, whose moment became mostly lost in the Super Bowl craze.

So many Patriot fans say they never gave up, and for the most part, I don’t believe you. No Super Bowl winner had ever come back from half those many points behind, so you thought your team was that good? Even if you really thought they could overcome the Lady Gaga difference (officially known as halftime), how could you still believe when with three minutes remaining in the third quarter you were still trailing 28-3. I don’t believe most of you.

In the end, the Patriots won the game and I think most Pats fans will agree, that Atlanta did a very good job of helping them. There were a few fans that admitted to turning off their TV’s and going to bed; my bet is others, who did the same, said they were with their team all the way.

Obviously most sane persons didn’t see the Patriots victory coming. It is most certainly a life lesson to never give up. Usually my glass is half full, however on this occasion, I thought the result was in the books.

I wasn’t alone. Some people in much higher places than we are in, were so sure of the outcome, they embarrassed themselves big time. I am aware of one such case, on each side of the ball.

Once upon a time, when I was a little over three months old, The Chicago Daily Tribune offered a headline, which immediately became a collector’s item of “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” By the time all the votes were counted for that Presidential Election it really didn’t turn out that way.

This week, an early issue of Monday’s Boston Globe hit the streets in some locales, which also jumped the gun. The headline featuring a Super Bowl logo read “A BITTER END.” In reality it was; the bitter end was on Atlanta’s side, not the Patriots.

Dick’s store in Atlanta brought out their World Championship merchandise during the same third quarter to celebrate their first world championship. Fans flocked to the store to be the first to wear the clothing, even before their heroes would have their chance to tug them on, but the problem became that Atlanta didn’t win.

Thus, the Patriots and the Celtics had their special day Sunday, the Red Sox equipment truck departed for Florida Monday, so there is plenty of good karma to go around New England. Proving terrible things come in threes (Globe headline and Falcon title shirts were one and two), the Bruins trumped all the stupidity, by firing their coach during the Super Bowl parade. Don Sweeney apologized for the timing, but no one should accept his offer.

Scouting- You see much less of this going on at the high school level each year, except for football and it is really too bad. During over twenty years of coaching at the high school level, it definitely played an enormous part for me, preparing a team for games. To generalize, I would say, it made probably made at least a six-point difference in three-quarters of the games we played.

The reason I am mentioning the subject this week is that, I keep running into Springfield’s Girls Coach Joe Costello, scouting here and there. The Lady Cosmos stand 14 in Division II in the Vermont State standings with a 3-8 record but lost twice to Bellows Falls in exciting contests this winter. BF won the first game 45-38 in overtime. Then the Terriers prevailed the second time in double overtime 48-46. Springfield won both games a year ago in Costello’s first year.

If my theory on scouting is true, both games this winter would have probably been won by the Terriers in regulation without the scouting. The Cosmos seemed to have been the better team last year when they won two close games. BF has those honors this year, yet the two teams have been fairly close in talent both years. Taking things one step further, the two teams have three common opponents. They both lost to Windsor (BF 43-63 and Springfield 31-49) basically a wash there. The Falls fell to MSJ 31-49 and the Cosmos were beaten 54-17/ a 19 point difference there) and they both beat Twin Valley BF 47-30 and Springfield 51-38 (again close but a slight BF advantage.)

On another note, Costello has company with him scouting. Each time I have seen Costello I have seen players. Nothing says players need to take that interest, but when I was in the same role, I found the athletes more committed to the cause when they were brought in this way.

I have had a couple of discussions with Costello about things he picks up scouting and I am convinced he is really helping his team by putting in the extra time. Scouting can help regardless of a teams’ record.

Unfortunately work didn’t allow me to take in either of these Springfield-BF match-ups, but I have seen both teams play, I think the Cosmos have better players possibly one through three, however BF looks better one through eight and in the end, that depth was likely the difference.

More area contests- There are more games played between area schools than in the past. It was nice to see Springfield and Fall Mountain playing in Boys Basketball again last week. It is too bad that Green Mountain, Springfield, BF and Fall Mountain couldn’t compete in Holiday Tourneys on both the boys and girls side of things. Green Mountain might have been open to hosting such an event, but the Fall Mountain Girls are already committed to hosting an eight team event, which with league affiliations knocks a good idea out.




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