Round of Applause
The Naugatuck-Woodland crowd in the borough last Friday night was outstanding. Unfortunately around here, for whatever reason, we don’t usually get many great student sections. It’s really one thing that the Naugatuck Valley League as a whole has always been lacking to some degree. But last Friday, both schools’ fan bases were there and loud. The Greyhounds students were fairly hostile and the Hawks fans responded pretty well during the team’s few runs. I particularly enjoyed Naugatuck’s chant of “START THE TRACTORS” at the end of the game. That was pretty outstanding. Kudos to creative young minds! Hopefully these strong showings continue for the rest of the season.
Local folks showing up at Quinnipiac hockey was outstanding to see last weekend. I’m not going to say I had anything to do with that, but I’m not going to say I had nothing to do with that. I was pleased to see several locals stream into the TD Bank Sports Center for the Bobcats’ unbelievable 3-2 comeback win over Union on Saturday night (this was happening while that so-so Ravens-Broncos game was going on; we got the better end of the deal). My neighbor Bob Starkey came around the concourse and had a nice chat with me after the first period, the Bobcats losing 2-0. I believe I told him he would not be allowed at future games if Quinnipiac ended up losing to break its 15-game unbeaten streak in his first trip to the arena. Luckily the Bobcats made an incredible comeback in the third period to extend the streak and move up to No. 4 in this week’s USCHO.com national rankings. Oh, and I saw my man Mike McGee walk in, too. I see everything. Thanks for coming, and we welcome more of you in the near future.
Lance Armstrong will always get a round of applause from me for all the great work he’s done to fund cancer research. Sure, he used steroids and all sorts of advanced doping tactics to win a record seven Tours de France (although officials would like you to believe that those races never happened). While I don’t think it’s right, I’ll buy the argument that everyone was doing something so he had to keep up. Regardless of the performance-enhancing drug use, the unfortunate alleged threats and bribes to keep his ring quiet, and the years of lying to everyone to keep the best of both worlds, Armstrong did more for the greater good than otherwise. The guy won a few bike races against a bunch of dirty riders by being dirty and underhanded. Big deal. Those dirty wins allowed him to help raise nearly $500 million for cancer research and has given plenty of hope to plenty of folks battling cancer every day. His foundation has been on my right wrist for many years and I don’t plan on taking it off anytime soon.
Chorus of Boos
The Baseball Writers Association of America screwed up last week in not inducting anyone to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The voters can’t run away from this issue forever. Ken Morse and Ernie Bertothy shared their thoughts on the process this week and I agree with both of their arguments. There have been cheaters and unsportsmanlike players since the game started in the 19th century, yet hardcore racists like Ty Cobb and spitball pitchers like Ed Walsh are in the Hall. Rogers Hornsby, perhaps the greatest second baseman ever, wrote once that either he or someone on his team had cheated in almost every game. It is what it is. To say this era of cheating — using performance-enhancing drugs — is any worse than doctoring a ball or a bat is unfounded, I think. I hesitate to open a wing of the Hall of Fame just for alleged steroid users or for this era because there’s no proof for many of these alleged users, and I don’t want a guy like Ken Griffey Jr. to be sullied just because he played in the era. It’s such a mess, but the Hall must go on.
Word from the Woods
The Hawks earned their first Naugatuck Valley League victory of the season Tuesday with a 79-68 win over Crosby, the last few events being swum with unofficial times. Event winners for Woodland included the 200-yard medley relay team (Lauren Tompkins, Patrick Dietz, Andy O’Dell and Jimmy Jensen), Alan Katrenya (200 freestyle, 500 free), O’Dell (200 IM), Jensen (50 free, 100 free), Steve McCusker (diving) and the 200 free relay team (Dietz, Tompkins, Jensen, Katrenya). Woodland is now 1-2 in the NVL and is back in action Friday at home against Lyman Hall. The Hawks’ next NVL meet is Jan. 25 against Torrington.
Naugatuck dropped its first NVL meet of the season last Friday in a 99-81 loss to Holy Cross. Event winners for the Greyhounds included Matt Hall (50-yard freestyle), Ryan Lewis (diving), the 200 free relay team (John Dean, Hall, Scott Sill, Eric Hanley) and Mitchell Santos (100 backstroke). Of note is the fact that out of 136 separate swims for Naugatuck against the Crusaders, the ‘Hounds posted 107 best times, including clean sweeps in the 200 free, 200 IM, 50 free, 100 butterfly, 100 free, 500 free and 100 back. Naugy, now 3-2 on the season, will host a tri-meet against Conard and Pomperaug on Friday before returning to NVL competition Jan. 25 against Sacred Heart.