Sports

10 Things (I Think) I Know … Or 10 Things I Hope to Resolve in 2021

1. Ever since Michael Jordan retired two decades ago, no player in the National Basketball Association has captured my attention until … Jayson Tatum knocked down that stepback 3-point buzzer-beater to lift the Celtics in the season opener. I resolve to find my new pro basketball player man crush in 2021, but Tatum may be just that guy.
2. Some of you may have experienced “Freshman 15,” the amount of weight gained during a student’s first year at college, but I have gone through the “Covid 19”. Not only did I knock back the ill effects of the virus this past year, but packed on a few extra pounds (feels like 19) as well. It’s time to get healthier and tip the scale back in my favor in 2021.
3. Cherish every Bruins game like it’s the last, beginning with the Jan. 14 opener against the Devils. If the coronavirus taught us anything, it’s that we should not take anything for granted.
4. Use the power of the pen to spread positive vibes. I will renew my vow to mention three positive takeaways from each sporting event I am assigned to, no matter how lopsided the score.
5. Avoid Facebook/Twitter chitter-chatter. Although I do believe there is some benefit to sharing stories and photos on social media platforms and that friendships can also be forged, nurtured and furthered over time online as well, I do believe a lot of harm can come from bullying, name-calling, and the sharing of “fake news” stories. I will NOT get caught up in the negativity online in 2021.
6. I look forward to unraveling the Madness in March, especially after the courts went silent last year as the virus stripped Dayton and dozens of other championship hopefuls tournament competition. Is it Gonzaga’s tourney to lose in 2021? Only time will tell.
7. The last time I competed in the FanDuel World Fantasy Baseball Championships, the Red Sox won the World Series. I am going to do my darndest to end my drought while our Beantown ballplayers aim to end theirs.
8. Watch the Westfield Starfires take flight. In their inaugural season in 2019, the Starfires produced the batting champion – Thomas Joyce (.370 batting average), a top 10 home run hitter – Christian Walsh (6 HRs), and the strikeout leader – Jack Fox (79 Ks). Last year, they fielded a competitive ballclub led by West Springfield pitcher Nick Dombkowski. Will the third year be the charm?
9. Now that the New England Patriots have fallen back to Planet Earth, will this be their new normal? I seek to unlock the answers for next season and will unleash a new wave of predictions for our Beat The Putz Football Challenge in 2021.
10. Finally, I look forward to uncovering and/or revealing the next wave of local athletes to come out of the Westfield and Southwick areas to our readers. If you have any story ideas, articles and/or photo submissions, please email them to Sports Editor Chris Putz at [email protected]
Happy New Year!

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