So, I pretty much got side-tracked this winter and spring with traveling through PA and OH to watch my son play college lacrosse. That Interstate 80 just kinda keeps going and going, doesn't it?.
Plus, the erosion of the “Newtown-ness” of the Newtown Patch really started bugging me, so I just stopped writing. It's weird that that the "Newtown Sports Beat" articles are all about Darien and New Canaan. And the parents who wrote about their kids' youth or high school teams seemed desperate to do so, and only because nobody else seemed to be paying attention.
So I'll try and get this local thing going again. I'm going to address a few items that have popped up since my last contribution here. I'm pretty sure I'll forget to mention something or somebody of importance, but maybe that's a reason to write again after this one...we'll see.
#1 - There are no winners in the bullying/basketball ordeal.
No matter what you think of the now ex-basketball coach or the kid or his parents, the whole thing just stinks. Truth is, nobody other than those immediately involved really know what happened, so all of us who spent so much energy passing such extreme judgments were probably doing so out of sheer ignorance. The kid and his parents who complained, the coach, the AD, the players, even the people of Newtown who were so free with their uninformed opinions – everybody lost. If your kid had a previous problem with this particular program or coach, I guarantee that it was different than what this kid experienced. And for every bad experience there were probably ten good ones. That's just reality. What constitutes actual bullying to one kid might simply be "razzing" to another. We haven't defined exactly what makes one acceptable behavior and the other devastatingly destructive. Yeah, it might have something to do with unrealistic expectations, but the kid was made to feel like crap, and that's never good. It probably won't be the last time in his life that he's going to be made to feel that way - it's unfortunate but I hope that he and his family understand that. And I really hope that someday kids will understand that if the other kid doesn't think it’s funny...it probably isn't.
#2 - Newtown HS Girls Basketball won the LL state championship.
Now that was very cool. Slipping past heavily favored Danbury. Shocking heavily favored Hillhouse. After a whimpering loss to Barlow in the SWC quarterfinals, the improbable run to the LL title game was amazing to behold. The crowd/student support at Mohegan Sun for the championship game against heavily favored Mercy - a private school that pretty much pulls/recruits from all over the state- was tremendous. I watched that game on CPTV this past weekend and got nervous when the Hawks fell behind in the closing minute even though I knew the result. On the night the girls won the championship, I was overnighting at a Latrobe, PA motel, devouring social media, hungry for any and all information about this special team. I'll admit it - I cried. It was a great run for a great group of kids.
#3 – The accomplishments of the three sport athlete cannot be over-celebrated.
There are a bunch of kids out there who never stop, kids who go from fall to winter to spring and always have practice or a game. No rest for the weary. The most notable of these kids in my sightline at NHS are Cory Fisher and Riley Wurtz. As Newtown student athletes, Riley and Cory will be missed but hopefully emulated by the coming generation. You never know, the next Cory and the next Riley may already be at the grade school level somewhere in this town. Hopefully they can avoid the knuckleheads who want them to specialize in a single sport.
#4 - NHS spring sports were pretty pretty pretty darned good.
The girls and boys tennis teams really put forth great seasons, and it was very cool to see how together they all were as basically individual athletes masquerading as a "team" sport. Apparently things got a little nutty at the Class LL semifinals when a Greenwich player and parent (shocker) went off the deep end. I would have LOVED to have seen that. People who make spectacles of themselves at sporting events offer me so much entertainment.
Lacrosse wasn't so bad, either. The boys team went further in the state playoffs than any Newtown team had since the tourney switched to Class L/M/S tournaments, crushing McMahon in the quarters before faltering in the second half of the semifinal game against Ridgefield. The girls won their EIGHTH straight SWC championship and fell by one goal to Greenwich in the Class L semi's. Our youth program is pumping out players, and both the boys’ and girls’ teams at the high school have been reaping the benefits for the past few years.
NHS baseball opened up a can of whup-you-know-what on Pomperaug for the SWC title. The diamond squad was solid all year but Pomperaug was a regular season thorn in the Hawks’ side. But in the conference championship game...not so much. The final was 18-1 and it frankly must have been fun for our Newtown baseball folks to watch our neighbors to the east go down in flames.
Jake Feinstein can run. I mean, this kid can RUN. He was the SWC and Class LL champ in the 3200 meters, and came in this junior has all the makings of becoming the finest distance runner Newtown HS has ever produced. Other NHS runners like Peter Kerns and Dieter Gutbrod also produced stellar results. For the girls, Reagan Cerney, Melissa Buccino and Zoe Eggleston contributed to a solid 9th place Class LL finish.
#5 – What the heck is going on down at the Oakview Fields and when are they going to be finished?
The mountains of dirt and giant earth movers are just sitting there…let’s get something going! Please don’t tell me there’s asbestos involved. And I know they don’t need to knock down buildings. What’s the holdup? I'm nostalgic. I'm a sap. I need to see cute little kids running around down there kicking soccer balls. make it happen.
So yeah, a whole bunch happened while I was "away". And while I'm still skeptical about just how "Newtown" the Newtown Patch really is (uhhh, guys - Swanky Frank's and The Happy Cheesesteak are both closed now, so you can take down their listings in the Directory), I will do what I can to add a little more of the local flavor every now and then.
Like I said at the beginning - you may not agree with me, but it'll probably be a better read than the minutes of the Botsford Garden Club. Unless you're into gardening. Oh, man. I just alienated all the green thumbs in Botsford.
Live and learn, I guess. Live and learn.
[Editor's note: All parents of student athletes are encouraged to share their children's accomplishments on Patch! You can blog, post Announcements or upload pics to our Sports Gallery and I will feature them on the home page. Thanks! CR]