Tag: Sports

Noontime Commentary: Returning To The Microphone

Posing for a photo on the field following the conclusion of the first ABCD Field of Dreams contest.

By Matt Noonan

It was worth the wait.

After a 465 day hiatus, I finally was able to pick up a microphone and lend my voice as a backdrop for a local sporting event here in Massachusetts. And it was an amazing feeling.

Being able to announce this morning’s Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) Field of Dreams contest between Massachusetts General Brigham and the Boston All-Stars at Fenway Park was exciting — in fact, it was the most fun I have had on the microphone since I started calling sporting events as a student at Wheaton College (Mass.).

Yes, I have announced this event in the past, along with the organization’s “Hoop Dreams” outing at the TD Garden, but this morning’s contest provided me with a sense of hope and renewal for future coverage in the “new normal” — I am already counting the days until to my next PA announcing gig while circling while plotting my return to the sidelines to cover future college and high school sporting events.

Like many, the past 14-to-15 months was a struggle, both mentally and emotionally — to be honest, I was unsure what I would produce for the blog and podcast when various leagues were sent to the sidelines at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. But despite so much uncertainty, I remained hopeful and optimistic — I knew I would return to the microphone one day, and that day happened to be this morning: Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

It was just one game, but it was the best game that I have announce in 2021.

Mass. To Lift Covid-19 Restrictions for Amateur & Youth Sports on May 29

The Intercity Baseball League (ICL) is one of many amateur sports leagues to watch and follow this summer. (PHOTO COURTESY: Craig Henry)

By NoontimeSports.com

Massachusetts amateur and youth sports leagues will start to look more like they did prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, May 18 with the state permitting athletes “18 and under” to no longer wear a face-covering while competing outdoors. 11 days later — Saturday, May 29, to be exact — all restrictions will be lifted.

This exciting news was announced earlier today by both Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito during a press conference and it should spark excitement amongst many in the amateur and youth sports world here in Massachusetts, including the Intercity Baseball League (ICL) that announced in March that they would return to the diamond on Tuesday, June 1 after canceling their 2020 season last July.

Massachusetts updated its guidance for both youth and adult amateur sports activities — leagues, coaches, players, and participants can learn more by CLICKING HERE.

Today’s news will also benefit leagues like Boston Ski & Sports Club (BSSC), which is set to run multiple leagues over the next few months, including flag football, ultimate frisbee, coed soccer, and 7-on-7 field hockey.

Simply Social Sports (S3), which currently is running three leagues, has openings in five future leagues, including Tuesday softball at Teddy Ebersol Field.

Today’s news seemed to bring a smile to the faces of the Cambridge Nor’easters, a box lacrosse team based in Cambridge, Massachusetts that competes in the Interstate Box Lacrosse Association (IBLA).

“Big news for IBLA in MA: Starting May 29, all youth and amateur sports restrictions will end,” the Nor’easters tweeted.

The same enthusiasm was shared in a similar tweet from Massachusetts Bay Youth Lacrosse League (MBYLL).

Mass. Set To Reopen Fully on May 29; Fans Could Return To The Stands At Full Capacity

Expect to see more fans in the stands in the coming weeks at Gillette Stadium, not just for the New England Revolution, but also the New England Patriots. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan

Monday was an exciting day for many in the state of Massachusetts as Governor Charlie Baker announced all Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted effective Saturday, May 29, which means it’s possible that we could see Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium operate at 100 percent capacity on that particular day.

Both the Boston Red Sox and New England Revolution will be at home on Saturday, May 29, but no announcement from either team has been made about how many fans will be admitted for each contest. Additionally, the TD Garden will be able to host more fans, pending the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics are still competing in their respective postseason tournament.

Baker said he will end the State of Emergency on Tuesday, June 15.

Most likely, today’s announcement means Gillette Stadium will be filled for the upcoming New England Patriots season — the team unveiled its 2021 season last Wednesday, May 12, and will kick-off their three-game preseason at home on Thursday, August 12 against the Washington Football Team.

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, May 18, youth and amateur sports leagues will no longer have to wear “face coverings.” And on Saturday, May 29, “all youth and amateur sports restrictions will be lifted.”

Noontime Podcast: Malcolm Lemmons (CEO & Founder of Athletes Unlimited)

By NoontimeSports.com

The Noontime Sports Podcast is back to podcasting — yes, we needed a few days off to rest and reset, but we’re excited to share our show once again through our website. And of course, you can listen to our podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Anchor.

On Thursday, May 6, we welcomed Malcom Lemmons to the podcast — Malcolm is the CEO and Founder of Athletes Unheard, a company that is on a mission to amplify conversations around mental health in sports.

Lemmons and host Matt Noonan discussed the idea for the company (and website), along with the various content that has been produced and shared. And you can learn more about the idea for Athletes Unlimited through a quick clip on our YouTube channel.

Enjoy this important conversation about mental health below and make sure to follow Athletes Unheard on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

13 States Will Not Play High School Football This Fall

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According to the National Federation Of State High Schools Association (NFHS), 13 states will not play football this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan

We all know playing football during a pandemic is risky – there is a lot of concern from both coaches and players regarding safety, especially when it comes to tackling or crouching in front of an opposing offensive or defensive player.

So it should come as no surprise that 13 states, including Californa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, and Oregon have decided to not allow its high schoolers to play football this fall, according to a recent update from the National Federation Of State High Schools Association (NFHS). That number is expected to increase, not just this week, but over the next few weeks as more organizations unveil plans for allowing student-athletes to return to playing field either later this month, next month, or at some point this fall.

There are some states planning to play football this year, including Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Louisana, and Michigan – there are others, of course – while here in New England, it seems to be an unknown if and how the sport could be played safely.

As of this morning, all six New England states seem to have some plans in place for allowing fall sports teams to startup after Labor Day – here in Massachusetts, the plan would be to allow programs to return to the practice field on Monday, September 14, but that date could change due to a recent uptick in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.

Three New England states – Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire – might be able to play high school football this fall, but all three seasons will be much shorter than usual.

Football in Rhode Island is a possibility – there is a schedule posted on the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) website, but according to the organization’s Tumblr page, no decision will be made on fall sports until Monday, August 17.

Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott said fall sports would occur during last Friday’s press conference but what does that actually mean for the state’s football programs is an unknown. If football is allowed in Vermont, expect it to look a bit different than usual. Maybe we would see flag football or 7 on 7 contests?

While there is so much uncertainty surrounding fall sports, especially high school football, one must remember that the situation is fluid and plans could change, not just here in New England, but in other parts of the country. More announcements on high school football, as well as other fall sports should be coming this week – keep your eyes on Ohio where Governor Mike DeWine is supposed to make a decision about all athletic events, including high schools and youth sports. 

Watching football on both Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons would certainly provide us all with a sense of normalcy, but as I mentioned during an op-ed piece on Friday, the thought of risking the health of not just student-athletes, coaches, team representatives, officials, parents, and community members is not worth it.