Round of Applause
Christmas is just about here, and for a change the whole extravaganza falls on a weekend. That means there’s a ton of football to be mixed in with family and friends. Christmas Eve is chock full of NFL action throughout the day (including the monumental Jets-Giants game that very well could eliminate one team from playoff contention) while Christmas Day features a Packers-Bears matchup on Sunday Night Football. Mix all that with seeing the ones we love the most, good food, and the pleasantries covered up by wrapping paper and gift bags, and we have the makings of the best weekend of the year. From me to you, enjoy a very Merry Christmas safely and joyously.
Many local athletes earned All-NVL honors at the conclusions of their fall seasons. If you haven’t been checking the pages of the Republican-American recently, make sure you do that so you don’t miss any more of the all-league teams. We’ll eventually have a full list on our website, but perhaps the most prestigious All-NVL team (in football) included three local players. Woodland’s Dave Alves and Zach Plourde both made the All-NVL defense while Naugatuck’s Jake Yourison made All-NVL offense. A number of other local football stars made the All-Copper Division teams, too, and a couple dozen athletes in other sports made their All-NVL and All-Division teams. Congratulations to all the local teams and athletes for jobs well done in this fall season.
Chorus of Boos
The NBA is the last thing I want to see on any day (OK, maybe not the last thing, but it’s pretty low on the totem pole), and it’s extra unwanted on Christmas. Regardless of my feelings, the NBA is going to start its 2011-12 season (much to many of our chagrins) on a day when there really is not a whole lot else on TV (A Christmas Story gets old after the fourth time). That means we will unfortunately be subjected to selfish basketball full of 3-point shots hitting rims like Santa’s sack of coal and guys complaining about every call made by the officials. It’s depressing to even think about.
ESPN and its coverage of Tim Tebow have been absolutely embarrassing. I know most people reading this are either at work or at school while morning show First Take is on (of course, “work” for me is done while sitting on my bed, so I get to indulge in such luxuries), so you haven’t been able to see the ridiculous sensationalizing of this Tebow saga. I don’t know an exact percentage, but I would venture to say that there is at least one Tebow reference every five minutes on the networks, and First Take should simply be renamed First Tebow. I usually like and respect Skip Bayless, but his lack of professionalism in shamelessly rooting for Tebow in Denver was legitimately embarrassing. The folks producing these shows seem to neglect that the number of people that actually care about this issue in its third month of coverage is much smaller than they believe it to be, and that they have covered literally every single possible angle. Tebow can’t throw? Check. Tebow is great in the fourth quarter? Check. Tebow wins? Check. Elway isn’t a big fan? Check. Tebow likes God? Check. I mean, come on. I would rather watch cricket at this point than listen to the same discussions that have been going on for the better part of this season. At least there’s a chance of somebody getting hit in the face with a ball in cricket.
Word from the Woods
The Woodland boys are off to an 0-2 start after losses to Sacred Heart and Haddam-Killingworth to begin the season. Last Wednesday, the Hearts defeated Woodland, 96-82. Event winners included the 200 medley relay team of Pat O’Dell, Andrew Cullen, Andrew O’Dell, and Eric Dietz, Cullen in the 100 backstroke, Pat O’Dell in the 100 breaststroke, and the 400 freestyle relay team consisting of the same squad as the 200 medley group. On Tuesday, Woodland suffered a narrow, 91-87 loss to H-K. Event winners included the 200 medley and 400 free relay teams, Michael Christiano in diving, and Andrew O’Dell in the 100 backstroke. After Thursday’s meet at Pomperaug, Woodland will be off for nearly three weeks before resuming dual-meet action against Naugatuck on Jan. 10.
After a promising, 2-1 start, the Naugatuck girls have lost their last three contests to drop to 2-4 on the young season. Recent losses include a 39-37 defeat to Wolcott last Wednesday, a 62-33 thrashing by league favorite Holy Cross last Friday, and a 50-34 loss to Sacred Heart on Tuesday. Against Wolcott, Amy Dietz led the Greyhounds with 17 points while Lauren Piroscafo added 10. Piroscafo had 10 more against the tough Crusaders while Dietz had seven and Amber Kuczenski contributed six. Piroscafo led Naugy in scoring again on Tuesday with 11 points. Stephanie Lima added eight while Dietz and Ang Piccirillo both had six. Naugatuck visits Kennedy on Friday before traveling to Wilby on Tuesday in the Greyhounds’ last two games of the calendar year.
Lips to CN’s Ear
“That’s a character builder. I said at the beginning of the year that we had one returning starter and four guys coming to fill roles. We’re still not sure exactly what those roles are, but when you have character you’re able to come into a hostile environment like this and get a win.”
Woodland boys basketball coach Tom Hunt after the Hawks’ 58-56 overtime win over Seymour on Tuesday night. Tanner Kingsley led Woodland with 29 points while a number of other players scored and made key plays in late situations. The victory improved the Hawks to 2-1 on the season and also was Woodland’s second in games decided by single digits on the young season.