Depending which community you live in, either football or basketball is the most popular high school spectator sport. Nothing else is close. At least, if you count soccer as football in the schools that don’t play football.
We have five schools in our reporting area. Bellows Falls today gets bigger crowds in football, with basketball a not too distant second. Same for Springfield. Athletic Director Gordon Danserau at Fall Mountain tells us football is the king there, too attendance-wise, which surprised me. He also pointed out that the other football – soccer – draws as many fans as basketball on an average night. Green Mountain seems to have a little bigger crowd generally in basketball, but when a soccer team is possibly the best in the state in their division that could tip the scales at times – for instance, this time around. Black River gets bigger turnouts in soccer by far than in any other sport. Schools don’t charge for baseball or soccer games or cross country, track and field, or wrestling matches. That is probably because the crowds are often so small it isn’t worth the effort. The exception might be a softball game at Springfield.
The question still remains of what is going to happen to Black River High School. My sources range from the school will be here a long time to the school will be shuttered in two years. Regardless, if these or any other answer comes about, I feel good that some time was gained because at one time this was rumored to be the last year of the school’s existence.
Before moving on from the subject of Black River High School, I know that neither the boys nor girls soccer team is setting the world on fire this fall, but all the more reason to stress to one and all that it is better to have played and lost than to not of played at all. These athletes have an opportunity to compete to the best of their ability throughout a sports season. Not every team in every school can finish first, and some don’t even win at all. It makes me feel good that presidents are representing an institution that goes back years, even before I was born. There is a Black River legacy of success that has made the community proud; however, there also is a legacy to have worn the colors at all. Here is a salute to presidents new and old.
It has been a while since Yankee fans have been able to take a jab at Red Sox fans. My boss sent one my way just today. I expect the Yankees to be sent packing soon; however, even if they are, the battle for the Eastern division crown in the American League next year should be something. I believe the two teams will really restore the rivalry and I predict a minimum of five post-season berths between the two of them in the next three years. Hold on. This could be quite a ride.
The question I have been asked the most in the past week is, of course: “Who will be the next manager of the Boston Red Sox?” I actually thought a short time ago the answer to the question would be Jason Varitek, but I don’t think so now. But I also thought John Farrell would be around a little while longer. I am also surprised how many fans took Farrell’s side after he was fired. He has won more division titles than any other Red Sox manager, and he is one of only two Sox World Series champion managers alive. His inability to command the clubhouse led to his firing. Using a play on words, “The price wasn’t right.” Don’t be shocked if Varitek lands on the coaching staff somewhere.
In my opinion, Alex Cora and Ron Gardenhire should be one and two headed down the stretch for the job. Brad Ausmus’ connection to General Manager Dave Dombrowski got him in the door. Don’t count him out.
I have a certain special connection to Cora. About a decade ago, when he was traded from Cleveland to Boston, his family was slated to join him in New York to sightsee and watch him play baseball, but Cora never went on to New York because the trade landed him in Baltimore in a Red Sox uniform.
By chance, my daughter and grandson were headed to Baltimore to see yours truly and catch a couple of Sox games. The two families were assigned rooms across the hall from each other in the same hotel and Murphy and Cora met up and exchanged interesting stories. A chance meeting occurred again three weeks ago, as Cora and I met under the stands at Fenway about an hour after a game the last regular season weekend of the 2017 season. For those who may not know, he is now the bench coach of the Houston Astros. We spoke for a while, including about the possibility of him landing a manager’s job. How will that chance play out I ask?
Fall Mountain is close to naming a new boys’ basketball coach for this winter. The answer should be forthcoming in ten days or so. On the other hand, we mention again that the baseball position is open and interested parties should contact Danserau at the school.
Football is a very interesting sport. There are role players in all sports, but I think football has become even more unsung. Skill position players stand out. Those who intercept passes stand out. Players who make hard hits are noticed. Then there are the offensive linemen. Once in awhile, one will throw a block on a sweep that one cannot miss, but usually the work they do in the trenches goes unnoticed.
Bellows Falls seems to produce a glamour running back or two or more every season. Would they be who they are without the Purple offensive line? We asked Head Coach Bob Lockerby that question. His response? “This years line has made steady progress throughout the season. They seem to get better every week.” The BF line of 2017 is made up of Reno Tuttle, Jackson Brown, Gunnar Sawyer, Braden Maxfield, and Jared Zobkiw. Coach, do the backs realize how important these guys are? Lockerby says, “Our backs run pretty well and they have seen the progress made by the blockers up front and they have all the respect in the world for the job they have done.” I think the biggest reason, these linemen are the ultimate role players is the fact you never see their faces with their helmets on.