• Category Archives SportThoughts
  • JOHN FARRELL …. Is GONE

    Mike Moffett by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    JOHN FARRELL ….
    … is gone as Boston Red Sox manager—despite two straight first-place finishes and a memorable 2013 World Series title. His sin? Failing to advance in the post-season.
    Red Sox Nation has high expectations.
    Consider Bobby Cox. He managed the Atlanta Braves to 14 first place finishes in 15 years, between 1991 and 2005. But, like Farrell, he won but one World Series. If Cox had to work for current BoSox General Manager Dave Dombrowski, would he have lasted?
    I doubt it.
    Imagine firing someone who usually finishes first.
    I’m reminded of San Diego Charger football coach Marty Schottenheimer. The long-time NFL mentor led the Chargers to league’s best record in 2006 (14-2). But when San Diego lost its first playoff game that year—to the Patriots, in a game I attended in San Diego—Schottenheimer was fired.
    It’s about expectations.

    CHARGE “THIS!”
    Speaking of the Chargers, this NFL team which abandoned San Diego for Los Angeles has been struggling, on and off the field. They’ve been drawing around 20,000 fans per game to the StubHub Center, while they await a new L.A. stadium which they’ll share with the Rams in 2019.
    Shame on Charger owner Alex Spanos. Unlike New England’s Bob Kraft, Spanos took his team away from San Diego when the locals wouldn’t pony up a billion bucks for a new stadium. So now his lousy team is losing before sparse crowds in La-La Land. While San Diego may not have been the sports town that Boston is, the Chargers had a loyal following. Spanos could have counted on more than 20,000 fans showing up at Qualcomm Stadium—for a preseason, intra-squad scrimmage.
    Sports loyalty has value, which Spanos and his advisors apparently failed to factor in to the equation which led them to decide to move to L.A.
    Sad.

    USA SOCCER
    Also sad—really sad—is the fact that the USA men’s soccer team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. A 2-1 USA loss to Trinidad-Tobago sealed the Americans’ fate.
    Ay carumba!
    If John Farrell and Marty Schottenheimer deserved to be fired, then what fate should await USA men’s soccer coach Bruce Arena?
    Trinidad-Tobago??? (Did I say “Ay Carumba!” ???)
    Following a headline stating that the USA soccer team would not be appearing in the World Cup Tournament, a soccer fan asked a very fair question.
    “Men’s or women’s team?”
    The USA women have won several World Cup and Olympic titles.
    Sports editors should make sure the headlines state that it was the MEN’S team that failed to qualify.
    Ay carumba!

    Sports Quiz
    What manager was fired after taking his team to the World Series during his first year in charge? (Answer follows)

    Born Today …
    That is to say, sports standouts born on October 19 include former NBA star—and Kobe’s dad—Joe Bryant (1954) as well as former boxing champion Evander Holyfield (1962).

    Sportsquote
    “Being fired has some of the advantages of dying without its supreme disadvantages. People say extra-nice things about you, and you get to hear them.” ― Howard Zinn

    Sportsquiz Answer
    Yogi Berra’s 1964 New York Yankees won 99 games and the American League pennant. Berra was fired after losing a seven-game World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

    State Representative Michael Moffett was a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord and currently teaches on-line for New England College. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.


  • Columbus, Indigenous People, And Sports Nicknames

    Mike Moffett by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    Happy October 12th.
    Columbus Day!
    Or at least it used to be, before it was changed to an October Monday to make a long holiday weekend. And now in many places it’s being changed to “Indigenous People’s Day,” ostensibly to honor those who lived in America before they were decimated by European colonialists in the wake of Columbus’ voyages.
    I like the idea of an “Indigenous People’s Day.” But does it have to replace a day that’s special to so many millions of Italian-Americans? While not Italian, I recently visited beautiful Italy. And while Native Americans were certainly brutalized after 1492, do activists really need to stick their thumbs in the eyes of Italians?
    Columbus was a brave sailor and a visionary explorer—even if he died not realizing he’d never made it to Asia. He certainly influenced history, for better or worse.

    Osceola and Renegade are the official mascots of the Florida State University Seminoles. Osceola, representing the historical Seminole leader Osceola, and his Appaloosa horse Renegade introduce home football games by riding to midfield with a burning spear and planting it in the turf.

    While the conquistadors and other explorers were brutal, they had no monopoly on violence. Many indigenous tribes were constantly at war with each other. Erasing memories of Columbus hurts not only Italian-Americans, but also anyone who cares about comprehensive history—including Native Americans.
    The activists seeking to denigrate Columbus are largely the same ones seeking to ban Indian sports nicknames. These activists—mostly non-Indian—seek to define nicknames on their terms (“demeaning”) while emotionalizing the issue and implying bigotry on the part of those who disagree.
    But most Native Americans embrace the nicknames and understand that they’re intended to honor, not demean. For example, the Seminole Indians savor their connection with Florida State, and work with the University to promote their relationship—even as non-Indians try to take away FSU’s nickname.
    Anyway, while I AM a Fighting Irish and Celtics fan, to honor Columbus and Italian-Americans my new favorite European soccer team is now Juventus, also known as Vecchia Signora—Italian for “Old Lady.”
    Evviva Vecchia Signora!

    LEGISLATIVE SOFTBALL CLASSIC
    The first annual Legislative Softball Classic will be played on Saturday, Oct. 14 at noon in Merrimack at the Anheuser-Busch athletic complex. Sponsored by the N.H. House of Representatives’ Veterans Interest Caucus, this game pits Democrat legislators against their Republican counterparts. Proceeds go to support Manchester’s Liberty House, which assists homeless and transitioning veterans. Over $8000 has already been raised for the cause, through legislator donations and sponsor program ads, with much more to come on Oct. 14—General Dwight Eisenhower’s birthday.
    Many find it inspiring to see legislators—red and blue—working together for a common cause. And while we don’t know who’ll win, we do know that there will be a fun post-game celebration at the brewery’s Biergarten, in the best tradition of bipartisanship—and Oktoberfest.
    So in the best tradition of the Granite State’s adult softball leagues, there WILL be beer—and maybe some Clydesdales!
    All are welcome.

    Sports Quiz
    What major pro sports team plays in Columbus, Ohio? (Answer follows)

    Born Today …
    That is to say, sports standouts born on October 12 include former Red Sox player, manager, and Hall-of-Fame executive Joe Cronin (1906) and Italian-American boxing trainer and manager Goody Petronelli (1923).

    Sportsquote
    “Riches don’t make a man rich, they only make him busier.”
    — Christopher Columbus

    Sportsquiz Answer
    The Blue Jackets are Columbus’ pro hockey team. Founded in 2000, they’re members of the Metropolitan Division of the NHL’s Eastern Conference.

     

    State Representative Michael Moffett was a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord and currently teaches on-line for New England College. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.


  • Football Head Cases

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    FOOTBALL HEAD CASES?

    Another football season beckons and excitement abounds as professional, college, high school and junior level football players take to the playing fields, dreaming of gridiron glory.
    The 2017 season will end on a down note for most as only one team can win a championship in any league or conference. But some players’ seasons will end extra early due to the inevitable injuries associated with this violent game.
    Which brings us to the perennial question about whether football should just go away, given that so many players get hurt and maimed. Concussions and brain injuries are of particular concern lately, given the many anecdotal examples of former gridsters suffering dementia.
    A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association focused attention on research conducted by Boston University’s School of Medicine where researchers studied 111 brains donated by former NFL players—110 of which showed damage characteristic of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
    Yet despite a growing movement to ban football, more New Hampshire high schools than ever are offering the sport. Locally, Laconia, Kingswood, Plymouth and Franklin High Schools have long-established gridiron traditions. But now Gilford/Belmont fields a joint football team. Winnisquam and Newfound High Schools now have football.
    In fact, smaller high schools through New Hampshire have jumped on the gridiron bandwagon, probably to the chagrin of local soccer coaches—schools like Epping/Newmarket, Farmington/Nute, Raymond, Mascoma, Merrimack Valley and Bow.
    So how does one reconcile the growing movement to ban football with the growing number of schools that offer it? Will the public support both football and increasing player safety requirements?
    Time will tell.

    Girls 3-on-3 basketball action in front of the State House as part of the recent Rock-On Basketball and Music Fest.

    ROCKING BASKETBALL IN CONCORD
    It was cool to see Concord’s Main Street in front of the State House turned into basketball courts on August 11-12 as part of the Rock-On Basketball and Music Fest. Concord’s Bonner basketball family members (Matt, Luke, and Becky) are prime movers behind this unique annual event that combines entertainment with sports while bringing people together.
    Hopefully this event will continue to grow. I’d suggest adding a dunk contest. And a three-point contest. Maybe a “Legends” component so Dave Bonner could return to the court.
    Rock on, baby!

    Sports Quiz
    What year did the New York Yankees finish tenth—and last—in the American League? (Answer follows)

    Born Today …
    That is to say, sports standouts born on August 24 include former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan (1952) and MLB Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. (1960).

    Sportsquote
    “I have two weapons; my arms, my legs and my brain.” – NFL quarterback Michael Vick

    Sportsquiz Answer
    The Yankees finished tenth and last in the American League in 1966, ½ game behind the Boston Red Sox. The Baltimore Orioles finished first and then swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

    State Representative Michael Moffett was a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord and currently teaches on-line for New England College. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.


  • NASCAR in Loudon

    Denny Hamlin winner of Loudon’s July 16 NASCAR race.

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    NASCAR IN LOUDON
    It was wonderful to hear the roar created by the world’s best race car drivers at the Overton’s 301 NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on July 16. I heard the noise from the back deck at my home in Loudon, roughly a mile from NHMS—as the crow flies.
    More than just crows were flying that day, as some small planes pulled banners through the sky to advertise to the tens of thousands of NASCAR spectators. Helicopters were aloft as well, at least one of which was carrying a camera for some aerial shots for NBC sports, which telecast the event nationally.
    I always get a kick from watching the action on my television, as I can listen to the event in real time while watching the splendid telecast with its wonderful graphics, multiple cameras, and excited announcers.
    The aerial shots showing New Hampshire’s hills and forests always make me proud of this unique major sports venue on Route 106 with a capacity for 100,000 spectators.
    Of course, there were less than 100,000 fans at the track on July 16, as NASCAR attendance has been declining nationwide for years. Consider my situation. I’ve attended in person in the past, but was content to watch Denny Hamlin’s #11 Toyota take the checkered flag on TV, even though I lived within walking distance of the track.
    Still, I love the energy and excitement that NASCAR brings to the Granite State twice a year. Yes, the traffic is heavy on those two days, but I think it’s cool to see people from all over America converge on Loudon. We had three Canadian visitors stay with us for race weekend—who, unlike me—spent most of Saturday and Sunday at NHMS.
    It all happens again on Sunday, Sept. 24 when the New England 300 comes to NHMS.
    Sadly for New England NASCAR fans, that will be the last September race in Loudon, as that event moves to Las Vegas in 2018—a reminder that major sports are big businesses. Hopefully the July race will stay in Loudon. Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • The Celtics And The Draft

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    The 2017 NBA draft is a week from today—June 22—and for the first time since 1950 the Boston Celtics have the top pick. The burning question is: What will Celtic General Manager Danny Ainge do with the pick? With the Celtics a young and deep team that was one of the NBA’s “Final 3” this season, perhaps they could trade the pick for an established star who could help them to the next level—the NBA Finals.
    (As this is being written well in advance, if Danny has already traded the pick, you’ll have to excuse me.)
    The names of several stars have been bandied about, including that of Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant. Would you trade the pick for rights to someone like Durant?
    Actually Durant will be a free agent so the Celtics could just make him a great offer and sign him directly and trade the pick for LeBron James.
    This scenario is not entirely implausible. The 28-year-old Durant expressed interest in Boston before heading to Golden State. Having just won a title with the Warriors, he may need a new challenge.
    The notion of the Cavaliers trading LeBron—an Ohio native—might seem fantastical, but it would make great sense for Cleveland from a business perspective. A 14-year NBA veteran, James will soon be 33 years old. He’s a big guy whose knees and ankles have taken a terrific pounding. He may only have a year or two left.
    There’s a place for sentiment in sports, but the NBA is a business. The Celtics kept the “Big Three” (Bird, McHale, Parish) around until they all declined about the same time—like the One-Hoss Shay. The team was then non-competitive for 15 years.
    The Cavaliers would be smart to get a first pick for the aging LeBron. While there are no guarantees regarding top picks (see below), theoretically they’d be giving up LeBron’s last two years for a potential superstar with a 10-12 year future.
    Such a deal would create a short-term firestorm in Cleveland, but eventually it could pay off handsomely. Loyalty has its place but don’t forget that LeBron bugged out of Cleveland in 2011 in search of title rings—which he acquired in Miami.
    A year or two of LeBron and Durant in Boston would create a media sensation, incredible expectations, and major “chemistry” questions. It’s unlikely to happen, but fun to consider.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • Tim Tebow

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    Sports Illustrated recently ran a big baseball story on a Class A, South Atlantic League, minor leaguer toiling away for the Columbus Fireflies.
    With the countless sports stories percolating and countless teams dreaming of priceless SI attention, how did SI come to run such a feature?
    The answer is that the subject of the story is the most famous baseball minor leaguer since a dude named Michael Jordan batted .202 for Terry Francona’s 1994 Birmingham Barons.
    That subject was Tim Tebow.
    Tebow played on a couple of national championship football teams at the University of Florida and won the 2007 Heisman Trophy. He led the 2011 Denver Broncos into the playoffs and stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers with an overtime TD pass. But the Broncos traded him to the New York Jets and Tebow never started another NFL game. The New England Patriots cut him during the 2013 pre-season.


    But what made Tebow especially newsworthy was his very public affirmation of his Christianity—for which he endured endless ridicule and countless slings and arrows from, well, the “unchurched.”
    I’ve never understood how so many in American society can preach about tolerance and inclusion while a brave and successful Christian warrior like Tebow is subjected to so many snarky comments. Here’s a guy who honors traditional family values and never attacks anyone, and yet, judging from so much hostile commentary, one would think he represents a danger to the republic. Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • The Celtics And Walter Brown

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    The Celtics And Walter Brown
    While watching the Celtics’ wonderful 115-105 Game #7 victory over the Washington Wizards last week at the “new” Boston TD Garden, I was struck, as always, by the occasional camera shots of all the championship banners and retired numbers hanging from the Garden rafters.
    As I pondered the incredible long-term success enjoyed by the NBA’s most storied franchise, I focused on one of the retired numbers in particular—Number 1.
    Many fans are oblivious as to whom that number represents, but Walter Brown is someone that all Celtics fans should revere—for many reasons.
    A Massachusetts native who attended Philips Exeter Academy, Brown succeeded his father George as manager of the old Boston Garden, which was then a hockey mecca. First and foremost a hockey guy, Walter actually coached the USA hockey team to its first Gold Medal in the 1933 Ice Hockey World Championships .
    An ongoing challenge for the Garden back then was what to do with the building when the Bruins weren’t playing. After World War II, entrepreneurs planned for a new professional basketball league—one that would eventually become the NBA. Brown wanted in. So he took out a mortgage on his house to come up with the money to reserve rights to the franchise that became the Celtics, who played their first game in Boston in 1946.
    The team struggled early on, but Brown stayed with it. Attendance improved with the acquisitions of former Holy Cross star Bob Cousy and Coach Red Auerbach in 1950. The Celtics became a playoff team which generated crucial extra revenue. Still, Brown couldn’t always make the payroll. One year he was months late in paying the Celtics their playoff bonuses. The players knew they had money coming their way, but patiently cut the owner some slack because they trusted Brown and knew he had the team’s best interests at heart. Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • World All-Star Baseball

    Will Washington National Ryan Zimmerman be an All-Star again in 2017 and 2018?”

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    World All-Star Baseball
    Sports Illustrated’s ace baseball writer, Tom Verducci, recently proposed replacing the current Major League Baseball All-Star Game format with a five-day mid-season World Baseball Classic tournament. The WBC presently goes in March where it has to compete with March Madness, Spring Training, etc. An eight-team, five day, international tournament in July that yields a world champion is a great idea.
    A 24-man All-Star roster should be sufficient. Presently SIXTY-SIX All-Stars show up for the Mid-Summer Classic—33 from each league = too many.
    Hold the event in Chicago or New York or someplace with two big baseball parks. The quarterfinal/first-day round requires four games—i.e two doubleheaders. Then come two semifinal games and a championship game. So we actually get SEVEN All-Star games instead of just one. And with MLB on hiatus, and no other major league sports happening, the WBC gets maximum media attention—both domestically and internationally.
    A home run derby and similar All-Star traditions could be worked into the schedule—as in how the NBA turned its All-Star game into a multi-day, multi-event festival.
    Hopefully those with the power and influence can overcome inertia and make this happen. The 2018 MLB All-Star Game has already been awarded to Washington D.C. Can this commitment be re-worked? Verducci’s inspired idea deserves consideration. Maybe just use Nationals Park and RFK Stadium and implement the WBC tournament in D.C.
    If we can put a man on the moon then we can certainly figure out how to do an international baseball tournament!

    NHL ALL-STAR HOCKEY
    The NHL is not going to support the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, as they have other Olympic Games. Remember the Sochi Games in 2014? The NHL created a two-week schedule break, and in lieu of an All-Star Game the NHL players played for their national teams in the Olympics. Not just for the USA and Canada, but also for teams from the Czech Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • Marines, Moffetts and Marathons

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    MARINES, MOFFETTS, AND MARATHONS
    Fitness is part of the Marines Corps ethos. If you want to be a Marine, then you need to be able to run. My brother John was a cross-country standout in high school, so when he joined the Marines running was not a problem. Because he could shoot, move, and communicate he was the honor graduate for his Parris Island recruit training platoon. He later became an officer.
    I followed John into the Marine Corps and for a while we were both lieutenants stationed in California. It took me longer than it did John to become a shooting expert but I eventually made it. I also recorded some excellent run times but never could quite match those of John.
    After finally beating him in a 10K road race on a Marine base, I immediately called our mom with the great news. Always careful not to show favoritism, she congratulated both of us instead of just me!
    John eventually ran in the Marine Corps Marathon, the same one that Oprah Winfrey famously completed. John’s time was considerably better than Oprah’s fairly impressive 4:29:15

    Marine lieutenants Michael and John Moffett, circa 1985.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • Devin Booker Goes For 70!

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    Devin Booker Goes For 70!

    One of sport’s attractions involves unpredictability. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Sports are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
    A movie is what it is—a fait accompli. Similarly, a Broadway play has a script. Even a live concert features music that’s already been written. But a sports event unfolds in actual time—a true reality show.
    A game can break your heart OR send your spirits soaring. You never know. The price of admission is the same either way.
    Every time I go to Fenway I hope to see a perfect baseball game. Or a no-hitter. Or a great catch. If the hits come early then let there be a lot of them. Let there be a record set. Or maybe a fight!
    (I was at Fenway when Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk had that fight at home plate and the benches emptied. Loved it!)
    When it comes to Celtics games, I just want to see Boston win with some great plays along the way to get the crowd going.
    And when the C’s are playing a lousy team—like the Phoenix Suns—a friendly wager makes the action more compelling. So during a recent trip to the “Garden” for a Celtics-Suns game I made a couple little bets to make the game more interesting, in case the Celtics romped (which they did). I bet on the Celtics and the “over,” the latter meaning that I guessed that there would be more than 219 points scored in total.
    When there were less than five minutes left in the first quarter, and the Suns had yet to score a field goal, the “over” didn’t look so good. But then both teams got hot and eventually 250 points were scored, as Boston won 130-120.
    One player in particular got hot—Suns rookie Devin Booker, who played one season at Kentucky before joining the Suns last fall as a 19-year-old rookie.
    The Garden scoreboard shows the point totals for the players in the game and at one point in the third quarter someone noticed that Booker had 46 points. So then we focused on the rookie, who stayed hot in the fourth quarter and made a bunch of last minute free throws to end up with 70 points.
    Wow! Only five NBA players had ever scored 70 points before—and Michael Jordan was not one of them. (Larry Bird holds the Celtic record of a mere 60 points.)
    So I went home happy. The Celtics won big and an all-time record was set. The only thing missing was a fight! Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • (Semi) Pro Basketball In N.H.

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    With college basketball’s “March Madness-2017” reaching its climax, many basketball fans can’t help but cast their minds back to great games and players of the past. Through the wonders of You-Tube many of these magic moments can be relived with a couple clicks on a computer mouse. Nostalgia has its place.
    However, some basketball stories are just not available via You-Tube. But they can still be savored via the “oral history” recollections of hoop historians regarding the wonderful players and performances of yesteryear.
    Such a historian is Concord’s Bob Gile. Presently a Vice President for Investments at Benjamin F. Edwards and Company, Gile graduated from Franklin High School in 1951. He later graduated from Dartmouth College and then served as a naval officer before entering the world of finance. Some of Gile’s most vivid memories from his Franklin days involve some of the best basketball in the country taking place right in the Franklin High School gym.

    Did the great Bob Cousy play basketball in Franklin High’s gym?

    Franklin, N.H. Not North Carolina, not Kentucky, not Indiana, and not Madison Square Garden.
    Franklin
    “In the late 1940s a sort of semi-pro basketball circuit evolved in New England,” recalled Gile. “Sunday afternoon basketball became an entertainment staple in Franklin.”
    In those post-World War II days, with television in its infancy, locals packed the Franklin gym to watch the Franklin Comets take on all challengers. John Barry was the coach/general manager, and at first the Comets featured local standouts like Frank Mead, Pete Shanelaris and the Robitaillle brothers. But as other teams in the region ramped things up, eventually the Comet roster featured non-locals, like former Bowdoin star Norm Cook, or 6-foot-6 Jack Darton, who hailed from New York. New Hampton’s Everett Nordstrom also became part of the mix as the quality of play skyrocketed. Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • Rick Barry And Son(s)

    Rick Barry playing with the Golden State Warriors.

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    This being a March of college hoop Madness, alert basketball fans may have noticed a Canyon Barry playing for the Florida Gators. Yes, he’s the son of Hall-of-Famer Rick and his second wife Lynn. Canyon is actually a grad student at UF, studying nuclear engineering, having already graduated from the College of Charleston—with a year’s hoop eligibility remaining.
    Named for the Grand Canyon, where he was conceived, the younger Barry is one of the top scorers for the Gators, who earned the fourth seed in the Eastern Regionals.
    Canyon has four half-brothers who all played pro ball—Scooter, Jon, Brent, and Drew, sons of Rick and his first wife Pam.
    In his prime, Rick was the top forward in pro basketball. I met him in 1971 at a basketball camp in Fitzwilliam, N.H., where the other big name was Jerry West, then the top guard in pro basketball. (Imagine LeBron James and Steph Curry coming to New Hampshire today to run a summer camp to make some extra money!)
    Barry was with the Nets then, who lost in the ABA Finals to the Pacers the next year. Rick then returned to his former Warrior team, whom he led to an NBA title in 1975. Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • New Golf Rules!

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    The annual Masters Golf Tournament—my favorite sports event of the year—is only a month away. The flags are going up at Loudon Country Cub—my favorite golf course. So it’s a good time to reflect on long-overdue golf rule changes recently promulgated by the U.S. Golf Association.
    Most people I play with follow a very liberal interpretation of golf rules, i.e. if you can’t find a ball on a leafy autumn fairway, then just drop a ball where you think your ball ended up. No problemo! Or any two-foot putt is a “Gimme!”
    Of course, in league and tournament competitions, one really needs to know and follow the rules, especially if your opponent is one of those dreaded “sticklers.”
    Still, not only do the new and overdue USGA rule changes make sense but there are actually FEWER rules now. (Washington and Concord take note!)

    Horton Smith won the first Masters Golf Tournament in 1934.

    For example:
    *There is no longer a penalty for accidentally moving your ball on the green. (I hate it when that happens!)
    *You can repair damage on the green before putting. (My balls always seemed to end up behind an unrepaired hole on every green.)
    *A ball is declared lost after a three minute search, as opposed to five minutes. (This rule change will really speed up play with some of the guys I play with.)
    *Under the new rules, you can do a ball drop from as close as one inch above the ground, as opposed to shoulder height. (Bravo! This will cut down on my ball drops rolling into water hazards.)
    *If you throw your putter and damage it, you can still keep it in your bag. (I’d been carrying two putters anyway. Hope that’s not against any rule.)
    Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • First Pro Sports Games

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    Recent Facebook postings remind us that 2017 is a year for Red Sox commemorations—this being the 50th Anniversary of the pennant-winning 1967 Impossible Dream Boston team that created the modern Red Sox Nation. While young Sox fans have no recollection of that magical year they should better appreciate Boston’s baseball heritage through the anniversary dates the team will be highlighting as the season unfolds.
    Some of these Facebook postings from old-timers including reminiscences about first trips to Fenway Park.
    My first trip to the Boston ball-yard was on August 9, 1972. My bleacher seat cost $2 and Rico Petrocelli hit a home run as the BoSox beat the Cleveland Indians 5-2. When I played golf with Rico last summer I asked if he remembered that game and he confessed he had no memory of it—in contrast to my vivid recollection.

    Weirs Times columnist Mike Moffett as himself at a 2005 Celtics game with Lucky the Leprechaun.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3036


  • Prep School Hoops

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    Granite Staters rightly take pride in Concord High grad Matt Bonner playing 12 seasons in the NBA. But did you know that no less than TEN alumni from Wolfeboro’s Brewster Academy have played in the NBA? Check out Brewster’s web site. The school’s captured four National Prep Championships since 2010, as well as five New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) Class AAA Championships since 2008. Over the past decade, Brewster’s averaged over 30 victories per year (305-50) for a winning percentage over .860. The Bobcats have captured six regular season NEPSAC Class AAA Championships since 2008. And Brewster’s advanced to the National Final Four in each of the past eight years.
    Besides Brewster’s ten NBA alumni, over 50 others have played professionally in other leagues around the world, including the NBA Developmental League—not to mention the numerous Bobcat grads who’ve played college ball at every level.
    Who knew?
    Brewster head coach Jason Smith is in his 17th season as Brewster’s head hoop coach, having compiled a 414-109 (.792) record during his first 16 seasons.
    But our Lakes Region prep school basketball universe includes much more beyond Brewster. Continue reading  Post ID 3036