SPORTS

Missing the normal preseason

Posted 4/14/21

We are now at the halfway point of the regular season for football and something has occurred to me. I don't have the numbers handy so forgive me if I am incorrect, but it seems as though there have been an unusual amount of lopsided wins and losses to

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SPORTS

Missing the normal preseason

Posted

We are now at the halfway point of the regular season for football and something has occurred to me.

I don’t have the numbers handy so forgive me if I am incorrect, but it seems as though there have been an unusual amount of lopsided wins and losses to this point.

I won’t go through a list of all the scores and games that I have covered so far, especially since our teams have been on the wrong side of a few, but more often than not the games I have covered have been essentially over by halftime. I’m talking three, four touchdown leads as early as the halftime break.

So what gives?

If I had to guess, I would say it was the shortened preseason and just the current lay of the land as a whole. Teams did not get the same time to prepare as years past, teams have had to be quarantined, schedules thrown out of whack. A lot has gone on in a short period of time here.

All that said, I’d imagine that’s why some teams just have not seemed ready to go. Of course, some teams were likely in for down years in the fall anyway, but to compound that with everything going on in the world, some of these teams just don’t stand a chance.

This is not me saying that it has been a mistake to play the season. Absolutely not, I was thrilled to see teams hit the field and to see the seniors get one more season of action. Some football is better than no football, and we all kind of knew that things would be different.

This is all just me talking to myself. Each passing week I have been seeing more and more lopsided scores and after this weekend, I have finally been forced to scratch my head and wonder what is going on.

Even some teams that have talented rosters and others with great leadership … there have just been some teams that have gotten off to slow starts and I can’t help but blame the pandemic. If you were to ask them, they’d likely say it doesn't matter and they have to do better, which is the right thing to say. But deep down, in some cases, it’s hard to ignore the effects.

It’s been great to see our teams back out there and to see everyone doing such a good job of staying safe and taking the proper precautions. Let’s continue this momentum the rest of the way and into the postseason and have a good time.

All that said, though, I am looking forward to getting back on schedule in the fall and seeing teams allowed the proper time to prepare. Football is the most detail-oriented sport there is, in my opinion at least. Sports like basketball and hockey, for example, are much more based on the flow of the game. Football, however, has 11 players on each side of the ball that have entirely different roles on each play. To give teams a week or two to rehearse is a tall task.

Next item on the agenda that I wanted to touch on was middle school sports.

For those who read our papers regularly, you may have seen some of my coverage regarding the situation over the past few months. I have only touched on the state of middle school sports a few times as they were outright canceled in the fall and only a select few districts were partaking in the winter.

Now, though, nearly all schools are back at it this third season with soccer and it looks like we will see a nice slate of sports be offered in the actual spring season.

Middle school sports are kind of like the middle child in my eyes. High school is what every athlete’s career builds up to … from there, some continue to play and some don’t, but for most kids, high school is where things come full circle and for many it's their final chance to compete.

Youth sports are when everyone is first starting out. You see parents, grandparents, the community, everyone gathering together to celebrate these kids trying something new and getting their feet wet athletically and socially.

Middle school sports in Rhode Island serve as that bridge between the two and are often overlooked.

Are they overlooked in that family members are disengaged? Of course not. But in terms of publicity and overall buzz, it’s just not the same.

So here I am, trying to throw some attention their way. Embrace that middle school level, especially if you are in the sports field. Middle school is very important in that the high school coaches start kicking the tires on some of these kids and at times are in the middle school coach’s ear about the system they want to play and the things they want passed along to help prepare them for the next step.

The youth level teaches them the fundamentals, but the middle school game is really about the kids being able to implement the fundamentals efficiently and in a way that will help them hit the ground running.

So, point being, I am excited to see middle school sports back in action. They are often overlooked, but there is no denying how important they are in establishing that feeder system in each town and creating a consistent high school program. I’m sure high school coaches are happy to have them back.

Lastly, I have to eat some crow regarding my Red Sox take last week.

The Sox started 0-3 and looked terrible. I had many doubts about the team prior to opening day and still do, but I was kind of saying “told you so,” after their rough start.

As of this writing, they rattled off six straight wins to improve to 6-3 and were the best team in baseball in the past week or so.

Congrats to the Sox, you have turned things around for now and are showing that you will be competitive. However, I still doubt the pitching staff greatly, and would consider them on the outside looking in to the playoff picture.

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