Some things to think about on Preakness Day
Here’s a few Saturday tids and bits while lamenting not being invited to the Royal Wedding but at the same time ready to get back up on that horse, so to speak, to pick another sure Preakness winner:
— The current Saturday forecast mirrors what the poor Eagles of the International Soccer Club of Nashua had to endure for their first ever home game at Rivier’s Raider Field last Saturday. It’s a shame that the weather didn’t cooperate to make it a more festive occasion with more fans (we think a nice crowd of 300 would be a reasonable number in a perfect world).
If you like soccer, it’s a good take.
“I’m excited about this league (UPSL) and where it’s going,” Eagles goalie Kyle Connolly said. “I think it’s it good for soccer in general around the U.S. … it will help promote soccer at a higher level.”
The level of soccer is enjoyable, but extremely physical. Lots of jawing with officials that you don’t see as much of on the high school level. “The fans came, we put a good situation out here where we put tents out,” Eagles coach Jerold White said. “On a better day, we should get more fans. We hope so. And everything the community is doing is helping out as well.” The Eagles are next at Rivier on June 2 and 3.
—- It’s been a mild debate for years around here, the public vs. private debate in athletics. Locally of course Bishop Guertin has had great success – the Cardinals have had their time dominating football and most recently, girls basketball, and Guertin always has the area’s best boys hockey team. But it’s not nearly as dominant – Trinity and Bishop Brady and St. Thomas of Dover certainly arenn’t – as private schools are in other states.
Example: consider this current debate in Pennsylvania: According to the York (Pa.) Daily record, nearly 70 percent of the state titles in boys and girls sports are won by private schools. In last three years, according to published figures, nine of 12 boys hoop titles were won by privates.
A reported survey done by District & Western Pennysvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) determined that 86 percent of the schools want to divide playoff system for public and private
In another district, 354 of 365 said non-publics own a competitive advantage, and 338 want separate tournaments. It’s clearly a different world in many other states, especially with the number of schools.
—Thoughts on Matt Light being this year’s Patriots Hall of Fame inductee over Richard Seymour? Ironically, the two came in the same draft in 2001, and while Seymour was more dominant on the defensive line, Light likely got the nod from the fans because he protected beloved QB Tom Brady and also remained a Patriot his entire career. He’s also been more in the limelight after his playing days were done. “Richard Seymour and I came in together and we had to figure out the NFL together,” Light said in his conference call. “We had a great deal of respect for each other.. … It’s beyond humbling. I’d put both of those guys (Seymour and Mike Vrabel) ahead of me, to be honest.”
Here’s one thing you may forget: When Light was drafted, he originally was tried during camp at right tackle. “And I failed miserably at that,” Light said.
But not in his left tackle spot, which is now up for grabs.
“It’s definitely been a position that was fairly stable over the years,” he said, also referring to Bruce Armstrong and of course Nate Solder. “I think they’re going to find somebody who can do it.”
In any event, his Patriots Hall of Fame speech in September should be a hoot.
—- It’s a shame to see that a gymnastics school in the area is closing – the New England Gymnastics Training Center in Hudson. The owners are said to be retiring, and a potential sale to have someone take it over fell through and now another business is said to be taking the space. A shame as the school, if you follow The Sunday Telegraph’s Kids Sports, had a very successful season at the different levels, including one state title.
— Here’s another shame: North Middlesex High School (nearby Townsend, Mass.) is saying so long to longtime football coach Sandy Ruggles. Ruggles won six Central Mass.titles, had four underfeated seasons, enjoying two separate long coaching tenures (with stints at UMass-Lowell and Ashland (Mass.) High School in between). But his second stint brought a 24-89 mark, and the 70-year-old Ruggles was told by the administration following a 1-10 record. His first tenure saw a reported 121-34-3 mark and was inducted 18 years ago into the Mass. State Coaches Association Hall of Fame. “They wanted me to do things contrar to the way I want to run a program,” Ruggles told the Lowell Sun’s Dennis Whitton. “I’m disappointed by the lack of professionalism shown me in the last three months by the administration.”
Ruggles will likely wind up as an assistant somewhere. Anybody local interested? Guertin? Ruggles has ties to the father of newly named Cardinals head coach John Trisciani, also named John. This bears watching, as he’ll be in demand, one would think.
— The Preakness? Hey, another longshot. We’ll go with Diamond King, 30-1 odds. C’mon, it’s a day of royalty.
Tom King can be reached at 594-1251, firstname.lastname@example.org., or @Telegraph_TomK.