There was no need for the Duxbury High School football team to use anti-Semitic language at the line of scrimmage earlier this month when the Dragons opened their spring season against Plymouth North High School.
And while this story seems to be changing on a minute-by-minute basis, I can’t help but wonder why Maimaron, as well as his student-athletes, felt this language was appropriate? Seriously, didn’t someone question the tenured coach’s motives when choosing these offensive words to alert the offense about executing another play?
Like many, I want action now – I want to know how a program that has been so successful over the past few years was never flagged or penalized for using inappropriate language. Additionally, I would like to know why it took just one football game – were there others? – to alert both the Duxbury community and general public about this high school football team’s inappropriate actions.
But as much as I want action – and yes, more answers, too! – I also want to know how the Duxbury school system, along with other districts throughout the state, will learn from this horrific incident.
I believe this is a teachable moment, not just for the football players, but for all of us. And that is something Rabbi Howard Cohen of the Congregation Shirat Hayamsaid earlier this week to the Boston Globe. Cohen said he would make himself available to the school and I certainly think he would be a great resource, but the same could said for Barry Finegold, a state senator that penned an open letter to the Duxbury football team with hope of helping the Green and White truly understand their actions from two weeks ago.
No matter what transpires over the next few days and weeks, I hope this this particular episode will help our coaches, athletic directors, and administrators, as well as the student-athletes understand that inappropriate actions and behaviors have consequences. And the Duxbury football team has had to learn this the hard way.
Two days ago, Central Connecticut State University announced that they would not participate in the 2021 Northeastern Conference (NEC) spring football season.
CCSU interim Director of Athletics Tom Pincine said Wednesday’s decision is in “the best interest of our University and football program,” while Ryan McCarthy, who is the coach of the Blue Devils, echoed the statement but also added that the team can “focus solely on returning to spring practice and preparing for the Fall 2021 season.”
The Blue Devils have not competed since 2019 when they posted a school-record 11 victories and secured a spot in the opening round of the NCAA FCS postseason.
While Notre Dame did compete under the ACC umbrella last fall, the Fighting Irish will return to being an independent for the 2021 college football season.
The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) held its ‘digital media day‘ today ahead of the league’s spring football season, which is scheduled to commence – or should we say kickoff? – Saturday, February 20, 2021.
It’s going to look a bit different, but there will be a high school football season in Massachusetts, beginning next month. The state’s Fall II season will run from February 22 to April 25, but there will be no Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) postseason.
Everett (Mass.) will have a new football coach for Fall II, according to Danny Ventura of the Boston Herald. Congrats to Rob Diloreto for being named the new leader of the Crimson Tide!
The Detroit Lions have named Rob Zimmerman of DeWitt High School as their High School Football Coach of the Year. Zimmerman’s Panthers captured the Michigan High School Football Division III state championship with a 40-30 win over River Rogue.
Happy Sunday, everyone – I can use the word “happy” in front of what day it is, right?
Well, no matter what, I hope everyone is doing well while having a wonderful weekend. And of course, I do hope this post – well, more my weekly column, to be exact – finds everyone thinking optimistically because better days are ahead, I believe it.
Similar to last week’s Sunday Thoughts, I am going to share ten quick thoughts heading into what I hope will be a wonderful week for everyone.
So, without further ado, here is this week’s Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts!
Thought No. 1: The Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers are the real deal. Yes, I know Ben Volin of the Boston Globe shared similar thoughts with his readers, but I think both teams could see each other early next week in Tampa, Florida to compete for the ultimate prize: the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Thought No. 2: Kudos to members of Bills Mafia, which performed a good deed last night after Lamar Jackson exited the game with what appeared to be a concussion. According to several outlets, following the conclusion of last night’s Buffalo-Baltimore Ravens game, members of Bills Mafia donated to Jackson’ favorite charity: Louisville’s chapter of Blessings in a Backpack. While its unknown how much money Buffalo fans donated, this is certainly an amazing story, as well as one of the many reasons why we ALL love sports, right?
Thought No. 3: I think the Cleveland Browns can beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Yep, I do. Cleveland has been a great story this season – they’re the underdog this afternoon – and it would be great to see Baker Mayfield and the Browns back in the conference title game for the first time since 1989.
Thought No. 4: Bold prediction: Tom Brady will throw three – maybe four? – touchdowns today and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will beat the New Orleans Saints in what will be Drew Brees‘ final contest in the National Football League (NFL).
Thought No. 5: Why does Cris Collinsworth always refer to a coach, player or someone within the NFL (or outside the league?) by starting his sentences with “here’s a guy?” Does anyone know?
Thought No. 6: Is it just me or was the 2020 college football season a disaster? I think this past fall was a horrible display of leadership, as well as a bad product. Sure, Alabama looked like world beaters compared to everyone else, but that was because of so many cancelations and postponements last summer and fall.
Thought No. 8: Sarah Fuller, who became the first female kicker to compete and score a point in a Power 5 college football game earlier this school year, will take part in Joe Biden‘s presidential inauguration this week. As noted in Pete Thamel‘s story on Yahoo! Sports, she considers this opportunity “an honor to be invited to participate in one of America’s great traditions.” Indeed, this is quite the honor for Fuller that I hope will continue to stay involved with football so she can continue to inspire more young women to pursue and accomplish their dreams, both on and off the field.
Thought No. 9: Call me crazy, but why are we playing high school sports during a pandemic? While the initial month of 2021 is far from over, it seems both this weekend (and the past few days) are an ideal time to crown high school football champions in both Michigan and Texas. Alright, good for them – yay, they finished their respective seasons – but maybe other states can do what Connecticut did and punt to next school year. Do the right thing and keep all the student-athletes safe and healthy.
Thought No. 10: I am a social media nerd and have really enjoyed following the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL), specifically their TikTok account. The content they have produced for TikTok is funny, which it should be. And I loved their recent video of waking up in the sunshine state: so peaceful.
We hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and ready for a great week. And by way, it is quite chilly outside – have you stepped out the door this morning?
Enough about the chilly temps – luckily, we live in New England so we should know that it will be a bit warmer later today – so let’s instead switch the subject from weather to sports and kick off the week with a brand new ‘Daily Noontime.’
Listen to today’s Noontime Sports Podcast featuring Ryan Irwin and Patrick Maddigan from Team IMPACT on Apple Podcast and Spotify!
Tonight – well, later today and yes, this evening – we’ll have some more football to watch with the Kansas City Chiefs visiting the Buffalo Bills while the Dallas Cowboys will entertain the Arizona Cardinals.
Let’s switch to baseball where the 2020 World Series is set to begin tomorrow evening between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays.
Both the Dodgers and Rays needed seven games to clinch the pennant. And this is a series we – yes, we! – are interested in watching and following.
With great excitement, I am proud to unveil some new content for Noontime Sports this evening – this is the first chapter of our first-ever fictional web series called “A Season With The West Stockbridge Rangers.”
The story takes place in a fictional town in the Berkshire – West Stockbridge, to be exact! – and is about a high school football team that has not won a state championship let alone a county title in 30 years. But with a new coach in town, perhaps their chances of winning a state title could change, right?
We’ll have to wait and find out, but here is the initial chapter of our first-ever fictional high school football web series – please let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or engaging with us on social media!
Chapter One: Welcome to West Stockbridge Football
For nearly three decades, the West Stockbridge high school football team was an afterthought.
No one feared the Rangers like many did during the 1970s and 1980s when West Stockbridge would barrel over its local opponents, capture multiple Berkshire County championships and then head east to tangle with some of the best high school football teams in Massachusetts with a state title on the line.
West Stockbridge was not just the team to beat or watch in the Berkshires during both decades, but also a program that every young man in the county aspired to join when they entered their freshman year of high school. Being a member of the West Stockbridge football program provided the players with some sense of what it must have felt like to stroll down Hollywood Boulevard.
No matter who you were or what position you played, if you walked around West Stockbridge with a royal blue and white letterman jacket, then people would stop and ask you for your autograph, as well as a photo, too.
But after the team’s 1989 season concluded with its eighth state championship, the long-time and local coach, Roger Collins, would make an announcement that would impact the future of the Rangers’ football program.
“I’m retiring,” he said with a big grin on his face after the Rangers trounced Norwood on a cold and windy afternoon in December in the D-6 state championship, which was held at Bentley University.
The word “retiring” sent shockwaves across the state, but mainly throughout Berkshire county – how could one of the state’s winningest coaches call it quits when there were more state championships to be won?
While no one really knew why Collins was ready to call it quits, rumors began to circulate weeks later throughout town that the legendary coach was being considered to start a new program with East Stockbridge high school, which was scheduled to open its doors next summer.
The rumors – and yes, the various murmurs at the local diner and coffee shop – were indeed true when members of the town saw a picture of Collins smiling on the front page of the Berkshire Herald weeks later below a headline that read the following: “Local Legend Leaves West for East.”
Members of the community on the western side of town were furious – how could Coach Collins do this to us?
While many were outraged over Collins’ decision to leave a program that he had once competed in, they were amazed at how he was able to continue his winning ways with a new and no-name program that would eventually become the best team in the county in less than five years.
With Collins on the sidelines, the Eagles of East Stockbridge would go on to win five state championships in 15 years while his former team struggled to muster at least one, maybe two wins per season. West Stockbridge would hire five new coaches during that particular stretch and none of them were able to beat Collins’ Eagles, especially when the two schools would meet on Thanksgiving Day.
In 2005, Collins would again announce his retirement, handing over his headset to his assistant coach Brian Murphy, who played for the legendary sideline boss during the team’s initial season in 1990. But unlike his last retirement, Collins would never return to the sidelines again. However, his winning ways somehow continued for the Eagles while the Rangers became what many coaches in the area deemed the laughing stock of Berkshire County.
Murphy and the Eagles would win three more state championships over the next ten years while the Rangers of West Stockbridge tallied just seven victories.
Some people in town felt Collins cursed his former team – they’ll never win another state championship in our lifetime! – but on a warm and humid afternoon in July of 2019, the Rangers’ program was about to begin an improbable turnaround when a two-time New York High School Football Coach of the Year honoree by the name of Steve Cohen walked through the dusty hallways of West Stockbridge high school.
Cohen, who had just moved to the area from Albany, New York, was accompanied on this particular morning by his wife Melissa and two daughters, Maddie and Caroline. Upon entering the school’s gymnasium, the family was greeted by two members of the town’s school committee, Principal Danica Jones, and Arthur Moskowitz, who was the athletic director.
“Good to see you,” Jones and Moskowitz said in unison.
Cohen smiled at both Danica and Arthur. “It’s a pleasure to see you both.”
“If you are still interested, Steve,” said Arthur, “we would like to offer you the opportunity to coach the Rangers’ football team.”
Cohen smiled again. He would eventually respond to Arthur’s offer but needed a moment to glance around the gymnasium – he couldn’t help but marvel at what Coach Collins and the Rangers had accomplished from 1964 to 1989. Maybe one day one his team would have a banner hanging in the same gymnasium, too, along with a team photo next to the 1989 state championship squad – man, wouldn’t that be special, Cohen thought.
“Arthur,” said Cohen, “It would be an honor to lead the Rangers on Friday night.”