1. Can this year get any weirder? With star wide receivers Antonio Brown (reinstatement) and Dez Bryant (Ravens practice squad) set to return to the National Football League, it’s starting to feel like 2014 all over again. Six years ago, those two wideouts combined for an astounding 217 receptions, 3,118 yards, and 29 touchdowns.
2. Shameless plug #1 – If you have not signed up yet to play our pro football contest, “Beat The Putz,” I would urge you to do so immediately. We have $25 gift cards to Delaney’s Market up for grabs every week and bigger prizes to give away in our grand prize drawing at season’s end.
3. Shameless plug #2 (sort of) – It’s a good time to get familiar with one of the most ballyhooed prospects of our time, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who will likely have some sort of impact on the 2021 version of our pro football contest. Lawrence entered Saturday’s contest against Syracuse, having completed 108-of-148 passes for 1,544 yards and 15 touchdowns. Oh yeah, and he has just one interception through five games.
4. Shameless plug #3 (the last one, I promise) – Despite coronavirus outbreaks, shuffled schedules, and a rash of injuries that are likely the result of canceled minicamps and preseason games, the NFL continues to plug along. [Due to last-minute changes to the pro football schedule after our press time, there were two contests which did not make our Week 6 slate – – Dolphins-Jets and Broncos-Patriots. Sorry, but those two games were null and void.]
5. The National Basketball Association managed to crown a winner, the L.A. Lakers, at its Disney bubble; Major League Baseball appears to have avoided a full-scale outbreak of the coronavirus (save for the early season Marlins debacle) to see either the L.A. Dodgers or Tampa Bay Rays win the World Series; but the big one, the Super Bowl, is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas on Sun., Feb. 7. Anyone taking bets if the NFL season will survive until then?
6. I have to say, watching games without fans is still not the same. Whether it be the pros, college or high school sports, the fan experience is unlike any other. Watching pro games on TV with fake crowd noise or standing outside a high school event or peering through a chain link fence hopefully is just a 2020 thing.
7. Let’s start with the bad news: While most everyone knows by now that high school sports are temporarily shut down for Springfield public schools, there are rumors that others like Holyoke are soon to follow. Student-athletes should cherish every moment of practice, every play, every move, every shot, every goal, and every landing, for we know not what tomorrow brings.
8. And now on to the good news: Although this season has been shortened due to the coronavirus, it has already been a sweet one for several teams like the Westfield High soccer program; Bombers girls volleyball, field hockey, and golf; Westfield Technical Academy golf and soccer; St. Mary’s girls soccer, and the Southwick golf team. My heart goes out to the entire Rams sports program, which has been sidelined from action due to the town’s decision to opt out of most sports this fall.
9. Congratulations to Westfield High School girls soccer senior forward Chandler Pedolzky, who reached a milestone last week. Pedolzky recorded her 100th point in a convincing road victory at Holyoke.
10. One last thing. It sure was nice to watch the Westfield Bombers football team get some practice sessions in over the last two weeks. Although, at times, practicing a contact sport while being socially-distanced often appeared awkward or forced, it was a much-needed distraction from all of the COVID-related news, political shenanigans, and civil unrest blanketing this country. And the boys got in a healthy dose of exercise too!