Round of Applause
Football in the snow is incredible. Twelve of the state’s 16 scheduled football quarterfinals were postponed Tuesday because of the whole INCH of snow that we got (incredible!). Since all three of the Naugatuck Valley League’s games (including Woodland’s game in Hartford) were moved, I decided to make the trek to East Haven High and watch Hillhouse face St. Joseph. It was freaking awesome. I’ve always wanted to be on the sidelines for a snowy game and I finally got the chance. There was a solid inch of snow blanketing the whole field. There were two poor guys running across each 5-yard line with a shovel after every play. It was good football, the way football was meant to be played. It was also practically screaming at me to take some pictures of the game (check out kylebrennan1 on Instagram to see the few). Hillhouse won the game and will very likely remember it forever. I will remember it until I get to see another game in the snow (which should be all the time!).
Brad Paisley Christmas is an outstanding album of Christmas carols. Not only is Brad Paisley simply the best musician of all time (I can defend that) but he does a splendid job of celebrating the holiday season with a perfect combination of traditional and original songs. His renditions of “Silent Night,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Silver Bells” are my favorites of anyone because he sticks to the traditional versions and doesn’t show off. His “Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday” is probably the funniest modern holiday song there is because it mocks everyone who deserves a mocking. It’s not a new album, but I rediscover it at the end of each November. He makes me want to be in the Christmas mood 12 months a year.
Oxford to the NVL is good. A few weeks ago, the Oxford Board of Education voted to inquire about joining the Naugatuck Valley League (where it should have been all along) and leaving the South-West Conference. Had Oxford not spurned the NVL when it came into existence midway through last decade, the league (and Oxford) would not have the mess in which it currently finds itself. Derby could have joined with Oxford in 2006 or so, we wouldn’t be stuck with St. Paul (who geographically belongs nowhere near the NVL) and we would not have the numerical problem that will exist if Oxford is allowed in. Its admission would give the league 15 teams, which is not a great number. But the Wolverines are a good fit for the league in many ways: competitively, geographically, and historically. Hopefully the NVL athletic directors give them the green light.
Chorus of Boos
Bridgeport to the NVL is bad. For as good an idea as bringing Oxford to the Valley would be, allowing Bridgeport’s public schools in would be far, far worse. I’m not sure I can properly describe just how bad an idea it would be. Bridgeport belongs further away from the NVL than St. Paul. I would rather have New London in the NVL. I shudder to think what could possibly happen if Central, Harding, and Bassick are allowed in to give the league 18 teams. Fifteen teams (with Oxford) is not an ideal number, but 18 teams are way too many for the formerly cozy Valley. Think about the drives for the current schools to Bridgeport (remember, Torrington is still in the league and is already upset about having to send down JV teams to schools like Woodland and Seymour) and then add Fairfield County traffic to it. Demographically, it’s night and day. Competitively, the Bridgeport schools do nothing but add bad teams in just about every sport except basketball. Please, please, NVL ADs: Say thanks but no thanks.
Top 10 Favorite Christmas Songs
There’s really no such thing as a bad Christmas song (except Feliz Navidad; that song is awful). Sure, there are some good songs left off this list, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like listening to them. These are absolutely my 10 favorites, though.
10. Jingle Bells: This song is as classic as Christmas carols get. There’s nothing great about it but it’s an easy, go-to, fast-paced song.
9. O Holy Night: A slow Christmas carol really does the trick sometimes. It’s pretty hard to sing but sounds great when it’s right.
8. Home for the Holidays: Perry Como is one of the go-to Christmas crooners. Something about pumpkin pie and Tennessee makes me happy.
7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: If you’re like me, you love watching the old-school animated Christmas specials. This song is it.
6. Holly Jolly Christmas: Rudolph’s eponymous song wasn’t even the best in the special. Burl Ives’ rendition is so holly and jolly.
5. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch: Blasphemy! No. This song — with all the verses — is incredible. It’s what makes The Grinch the best.
4. Winter Wonderland: It’s probably the least Christmas-y of the songs but it’s a favorite of mine. I implore you listen to Brad Paisley’s version.
3. Silver Bells: This song stops short of getting into the total commercial aspects of Christmas while capturing the fun of the holiday season.
2. Silent Night: There’s something about a quiet Christmas carol that really feels good. This one is the best and captures the Christ in Christmas.
1. White Christmas: Bing Crosby’s classic version remains the undeniable favorite, capturing everything ideal about the Christmas season.