Designated Hitter: Consider a high school pond hockey game
For those of a certain generation, Mooney's Pond was the affectionate nickname of the rink at the Pittsfield Boys and Girls Club. The Mooney in question is long time executive director Jim Mooney, a man among men and one of this community's greats. We lost Mooney back in 2015.
So, there I was on the top floor at the Club, standing in what was the old WBRK broadcast booth, watching Taconic play Wahconah. There was a nearly full house in the rink, which tells me that there is still support for hockey in the community.
So, how about we take the game outside for a day?
Here's an idea for you: Let's take the three Berkshire County hockey teams, split them into two, and play an outdoor game on Pontoosuc or Onota Lake.
It can be called the Berkshire All-Star Classic, or whatever you want. Have the players raise money for a charity. Pass the hat during the game, and maybe donate the money to the Club, the Jimmy Fund or whatever charity is so designated.
If we wait a few more weeks, the cold will continue to sink in and the ice on one of our lakes will be thick enough to support players and fans.
A 200 foot by 85 foot rink could be measured off, lines could be painted and goals put on the ice surface. Then have the players go at it.
I know in Minnesota, there is an annual pond hockey tournament featuring hundreds of teams from across the United States and Canada.
Imagine how much fun the players would have playing the game they love on an outdoor sheet of ice. Imagine how much fun it would be for we fans to watch.
It is probably a bit late in this season to plan such a game, but if some of the powers that be in local sports take this and skate with it, it could become quite the winter event.
Just a thought.
We lost one of the good guys as 2016 became 2017. Norm Sweet Jr. passed away at home.
If you were a part of the baseball scene in Williamstown and Lanesborough and were part of the Mount Greylock baseball family, you knew Norm.
For 23 seasons, he was part of the Greylock baseball braintrust, helping head coach Steve Messina grow from a young head coach to one of the veterans of the game in the county.
If you covered a Mount Greylock baseball game, which I have had the good fortune to do over these many years, Norm would always take his position next to the backstop on the side of the Greylock dugout. It happens to be on the third-base side.
"Big Norm" could conduct conversations and scout opponents at the same time, and would often give Messina quality tips during games.
It's that kind of work that earned Sweet the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association's assistant coach of the year award in 2011.
Berkshire County has long been the home of baseball in Western Massachusetts. Numbers may be down everywhere, but kids and coaches attack the game with a passion I don't see quite as much of in most other sports.
Norm Sweet helped bring that passion. He will be missed.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253, or email@example.com. On Twitter: @howardherman
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