High school fall sports are in full swing in the North Country with scrimmages and regular season games taking place or soon to take place.
I will have the full schedule, along with coaches’ comments on the upcoming season, with pictures soon, but if you are interested in the full schedule before then, go to the NHIAA website, fall sports for more information.
As a special note however, opening games for the local teams are as follows: the Berlin girls soccer team opens up on the road against Stevens this Friday, Aug. 30, the Berlin-Gorham field hockey team will be at Littleton on Sept. 3, Berlin boys soccer will host Interlakes on Sept. 4, and the Berlin cross-country teams will be at Gilford on Sept. 5. Both Gorham’s girls and boys soccer teams will host Pittsburg-Canaan on Aug. 30, and I was unable to secure the opening date for Gorham’s cross country team.
A number of years ago, the Enman Farm hosted an annual event called the “Haying Games,” which consisted of a reunion of all present and former summer haying crews for our farm, with lots of good food, a hayride and bonfire, fellowship, renewing acquaintances, swapping stories of how far, and high we could throw hay, how many bales we loaded in one day, and so forth. In 2002, we had 27 former workers, including Uncle Wayne who had worked for my Dad on the farm in 1955, all the way up through 2002, along with many family members.
The reunion was culminated with the Haying Games which included numerous challenges with a hay bale such as the high throw (with and without a spin), carrying a bale of hay over your head while navigating an obstacle course, bale golf, the bale spin and no spin throw for distance, and the two-bale sprint. Lots of fun with times and distances recorded. Components such as strength, balance, speed, coordination, technique and stamina were certainly tested with the various games offered.
The word got out regarding the games, and we were asked to host them at the Milan Old Home Weekend and later at Heritage Park. We accepted and presented our games to the public, with exhibition performances by experienced Enman Farm hay workers and opportunities for novice individuals to compete also. So much fun was had by all-ah, memories of late summer farm fun!
I saw a joke in a newspaper in Weedsport, NY, while at Blake and Angelica Smith’s wedding, that was pretty funny: A golfer was getting ready to hit a difficult shot out of the trees when he said, “Great, I’ve got to hit a vicious slice that never gets more than 8 feet off the ground, kicks right, and then rolls 60 additional yards. Like that’s possible!” His golfing partner then says, “Not impossible, it’s the same shot you just hit off the tee into this spot!”
That was me 45 years ago and is a main reason why I never really pursued the game of golf.
Speaking of golf, the annual Spider Moore Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 1 at the Androscoggin Valley Country Club.
Trivia question: Did you know that Mark Harmon, star of NCIS in the role of Leroy Gibbs, was the son of Tom Harmon, Heisman Trophy winner, and a football broadcaster, and was a very good quarterback for UCLA back in the early 1970s?
Make it a great day! Sports’ information can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations and best wishes to former Berlin High School Student/Athlete, recent Plymouth State University graduate, Ryan Richard, as he heads off to Kennett Middle School to become their physical education teacher.
Ryan was always involved in sports, as a young kid, and all the way through elementary, junior high and high school in Berlin. I can remember Ryan as a young and little kid playing long toss with his Dad, Robert “Toes” Richard, at men’s softball games, being amazed that he could throw the ball as far and as hard as he could. The thought came to me that “someday this young boy is going to make and have an impact in and on sports in the North Country”; and I was right. Ryan went on to be a standout soccer, basketball and baseball player in youth leagues through high school, and even into college, for baseball, first at St. Joe’s in Maine and later at Plymouth State University.
While in college, majoring in physical education, Ryan not only concentrated on his studies, and played baseball but also was involved in refereeing basketball, and became an NHIAA basketball official. I even saw him at a football game at PSU as a ball boy, so he worked to help with college expenses at the same time. Then there was summer men’s softball where he played, usually along side my three sons, in regular season and tournament games, as well as summer men’s basketball. And those are only the things I saw him doing, as I am sure he was involved in many other sports’ related activities.
Ryan never did anything half way and I am sure his approach to his teaching job at Kennett will be the same.
I do remember this time of year in 1978, starting my first official physical education teaching job at the then Berlin Junior High under the late Tony Urban. It was my dream job but it sure was an eye-opener working strictly with junior high school students from 7:30 a.m. to 2:10 p.m., with coaching after hours. Fortunately, I adjusted and stayed there until the spring of 2012, when I retired. Enjoy the job and the kids, Ryan, you have been hired for that particular position for a reason, and I know you will do a great job.
While at the Smith-Davis wedding I spent some quality time with Nathan Russell, Dr. Tanya Tupick, former Berlin High soccer player (and my cousin) Bobby Hawkins and his wife, Cathy, among many others.
Nathan and I got to talking sports and he is involved in the Spartan Race circuit, which is according to their web site, “a global leader in obstacle courses and is for those who are willing to mentally and physically push themselves to achieve their personal best, going beyond what you thought possible. It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and lead healthier lives. The only obstacle is nature itself.” There are Savage Races also where you compete in obstacles such as the big cheese, tree hugger, squeeze play, pole cat, hangagang, sawtooth, on the fence, and twirly bird-just the names would scare me away. You may be reading more about this as time goes on.
Grant Lavigne, a minor league baseball player for the Colorado Rockies, who has close family ties in the North Country, has played in 120 games this season is currently hitting at a 240 clip, including 101 hits in 421 plate appearances, with seven home runs and 61 runs batted in.
At the wedding, I also had great visits with Lance Costello, a former Berlin High School grad (Class of ’66) and athlete, as well as a teacher there. Lance was part of a very successful ski program at Berlin High. Also it was great to catch up with a former student and Berlin High School grad Stacy Sinibaldi.
Go kart races
The North Country Family Restaurant Go Kart Races in Groveton are quickly coming to an end, just like summer vacation, with the last point race being held on Sept. 7 and the Fall Brawl in October. Here are the results of this past Saturday’s races:
Batch’s Kwik Stop Rookie B’s
1. No. 1 Mikeljon Mascitti
2. No. 15 Timmy Sprauce
3. No. 28 Ethan Lundblad
4. No. 28VT Kendall Boutin
Batch’s Kwik Stop Rookie A’s
1. No. 95 Hayden Bushey
2. No. 3NH Kade Kenison
3. No. 6 Conner Charbonneau
4. No. 75 Drew Fecteau
Batch’s Kwik Stop Jr. Mini Pro’s
1. No. 55 Brandon Sheldon
2. No. 05 Autumn Bushey
3. No. 28 Evan Gilbert
4. No. 99 McKenna Merchant
Batch’s Kwik Stop Mini Pro
1. No. 05 Autumn Bushey
2. No. 28 Evan Gilbert
3. No. 44 Kamryn Ledger
4. No. 2 Paxton Call
Batch’s Kwik Stop Pro
1. No. 03 Julian Kenison
2. No. 18 Kaiden Fisher
3. No. 15 Cody Brown
4. No. 12 Brian Rogers