Addison Independent

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Addison Independent Sports Columns


I have been writing one or two sports columns a month in the local newspaper, the Addison County Independent, since 1999. Most columnists have to write that many or more a week, so I’m obliged to make mine good, don’t you think? I can write about whatever I want. I’m a sports fan, an athlete when I was young, a coach for a while, now the dad of athletes. I am grateful for the opportunity to collect my thoughts in this way on the sports’ world, local or farther afield. Till now, I haven’t written books, long things: having a family – four kids, and a demanding job seemed enough of a challenge, so these essays satisfied a need to express myself and my interests and values in writing.

I work hard on these pieces. Each is about 850 words, long enough to say something, but not so long to discourage readers.  I appreciate the feedback I get from my friends in town. On those occasions when I have published something in a national publication, I may get a few responses, very few. Here, in Middlebury, I get lots of comments from readers whom I like, admire, and know well.  They say, “I enjoyed your column this week,” and then say something to prove they actually read it. So I respond, “Okay. I’ll keep doing it.”

The years have accumulated and so have the columns. Now there are nearly 200 of them. Here’s a sample:

1. Some favorites:


“Player, Coaches, Teams, Murph: Thanksgiving” (This column won first prize in the NENPA award for Sports Column)  24 November 2011


“The Spirit and Meaning of Sports”  (my “philosophy” of sports) 8 July 2010


“L-Screens, Old Jocks, Denial” (My struggles with a bad case of Old Jock Syndrome), 8 July 2011


“A Relic, A Shrine, Hoop Heaven: A Gym”  (Alumni Gymnasium at Bates College where I learned to love the game of basketball), 20 January 2011


“Father/Son: ‘How ‘Bout Those Sox’” (thoughts about my dad and me and sports on the occasion of his passing)  18 March 2010


“Ah, To be ‘In the Zone’”  (the magic of being “in the zone,” where everything goes right), 18 May 2008


“Clubbo, Fats, Shorty, Bum, Icky, and Head”  (On the prevalence of nicknames when I was growing up)  24 January 2008


“Sitting on the Bench: No Fun”  (the benchwarmer, his dad and his coach – all behaving well)  22 February 2007


“Buck O’Neil’s ‘Right on Time’”  (I always have felt there was defiance in Buck’s famous utterance)  2 November 2006


“Crashing into the Glass for Fun”  (David Lindholm, Intramural Ice Hockey Commissioner and Flying Bula, his team)  30 December 2004


“His Losing Season?” (I compare my losing season in college, 1-24, to Pat Conroy’s “Losing Season”) 16 January 2003


“Mchakmchaka: Run and Sing” (the African running and singing group at Middlebury, including my son)  11 April 2002


“The Turkey Day Classic” (the Thanksgiving touch football game on the Clifford’s lot on Nelke Place)  27 November 2001


“Fear and Intimidation” (that’s the essence of baseball – an exercise in suppressed terror)  6 July 2000


“In Search of Ted Williams”  (Two sad fellows taking the Spring Training baseball cure), 11 March 1999


“I Never Missed One from the Stands”  (I thought my name was “Jesus Christ Karl!” – the challenge of reffing in the town league), 29 December 1998


2. Chronological Index of Columns