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Thursday, 20 December 2012 11:28

Thanks for the presents

It's the week before Christmas and writers everywhere are busily putting together the most hackneyed of columns. You know it, right? The one where they list what their favorite teams, players and coaches might want for Christmas? Not that I'm above clichd writing, but I thought I would at least attempt to go a different route.

Instead, I'd like to celebrate the gifts we Maine sports fans have already been given. We're pretty lucky to live in an area that has a passion for sports, both local and regional, and our interest has been rewarded with an abundance of great teams, memorable players and talented coaches. This week we say thanks for just a few:

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 14:56

Days of Turkey Bowls past

I've always been a fan of Thanksgiving, perhaps even secretly thinking of it as my favorite, though putting it ahead of Christmas might be considered blasphemous in a country where stores put wreaths up in late September. Part of my love of the day has always been the relatively low-stress nature of this particular celebration. No lists of presents to buy, no wrapping, no crowded stores - and best of all, no Thanksgiving music.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012 13:46

Football nation

A few weeks ago, the great Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe posited that his city, one of the last holdouts, was now officially a football town. For 140 years, the 'Hub of the Universe' had reserved the deepest of its sports love for the game of baseball, from the National League's powerhouse Braves of the late 1800s through the Americans and Pilgrims, the forerunners of the Red Sox. Generations of fans who followed the likes of Ruth and Speaker, Williams and Pesky, Yaz and Tony C., Fisk and Lynn and even Manny and Pedro had held a stranglehold on the market that even three Patriots Super Bowl wins couldn't wrest away. Then came September of 2011, followed by what we may someday refer to as 'the Valentine year.' And just like that, the Sox (and baseball in general) were relegated to second fiddle status.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 13:36

Fans or phantoms?

Let me start by telling you that I am completely biased regarding my subject this week. This is a column about University of Maine football, and I am the play-by-play broadcaster for that team and have been for over 15 years. During that run of over 175 games, I've seen some of the greatest moments in team history. As a matter of fact, among the recently-compiled list of 'Top Ten Maine Football Moments,' I've been behind the microphone for seven of them. I've also witnessed some colossal low points, from heartbreaking losses to jaw-dropping blunders. The point is, I've got a dog in this fight, but I also feel eminently qualified to talk about Maine football, being one of an incredibly small group of people (me, color analyst Bob Lucy, equipment manager Steve Jones and Coach Jack Cosgrove) to have seen every game since 1997.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 13:57

Dirty Little Secret

As the dog days of summer approach, Red Sox fans continue to be troubled by what has been a season-long series of false starts and dashed hopes. There have been flashes of brilliance from this team but also much longer stretches of mediocrity, all while the guys in pinstripes continue to play with a youthfulness that makes you wonder if there's a Dorian Gray-like team portrait hanging in Hank Steinbrenner's office. It would be enough to make me add several new gray hairs if it were not for my dirty little secret. No, it's not Just For Men. It's that I just don't care like I once did. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:38

Rubbing elbows with the greats

I recently had the good fortune to attend the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association awards ceremony in Salisbury, North Carolina. Winners from each state and their spouses converged on the southland, along with national honorees Dan Shulman of ESPN and former 'Sports Illustrated' writer Joe Posnanski and Hall of Fame inductees Bob Costas and John Feinstein. The four-day affair included a round-table discussion or two, a seminar, and a seemingly endless supply of food. For us small-town guys, it's an opportunity to not only rub elbows with the big names, but to meet up with peers from around the country, swap stories and share a lot of laughs.

A good deal of time was spent with New England colleagues Joe D'Ambrosio, who has broadcast UConn games for decades, and Jim Jeanotte, who will be inducted into the University of New Hampshire's Hall of Fame this coming Saturday. I also got to talk about northeast baseball's return to the College World Series with The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy. It was fun to connect with Bill Roth, the voice of Virginia Tech, whom I hadn't seen since my last trip to the awards weekend, and make new friends like Gene Deckerhoff, the legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Florida State broadcaster, Pete Weber of the Nashville Predators, the Philadelphia Flyers' Jim Jackson, and Lyn Rollins of LSU. There's a level of camaraderie among play-by-play guys that's always enjoyable, as we share preferences about spotter sheets (the chart of staring players and substitutes) and horror stories about the worst press boxes we've encountered.

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