Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: A small world during a big week

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Random thoughts while emptying the notebook and waiting for the bagels to toast properly.

A week ago today, the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII (or 52 for those of you who might be Latin challenged). There isn't much more I can say about what happened on the turf in Minneapolis, except to say the team that played better on that day won.

But if there is one thing we all learned from watching the Eagles beat the Patriots is to listen to current Arizona State coach and former ESPN commentator Herm Edwards, who famously said "You play to win the game."

As obviously silly as that might read, in this case playing to win the game is emptying the bucket both physically and mentally.

Doug Pederson coaches the Eagles, and the hire was criticized far and wide. But what coaches, athletes and parents need to remember from that game is that Pederson coached with an attitude and it is obvious he was not afraid to lose.

If any of those plays that worked hadn't, there would have been a duck boat parade in Boston last week.

There are too many coaches who might not "gamble" in those situations.

Around here, Wahconah coach Gary Campbell Jr. falls into the Doug Pederson category.

After all, it was Campbell who went for it on fourth-and-short twice in the state semifinal football game against Blackstone Valley Tech. His offense did not make the first down on either try. One of them was on the Wahconah 20.

"Yeah, yeah. We just missed some blocks," said Campbell, when asked if he would go for it again. "You know what? It's what we've done all the time. If you can't win two yards, then you can't win the game."

And sometimes, if you are more about playing not to lose, you will lose.

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I spent the weekend covering the Western Massachusetts Division III wrestling championships at Taconic High School. If this was the last major event in this old gymnasium, it went out a winner.

Sure, there are still some regular-season games for the Taconic basketball teams remaining, and there may be tournament games to play. Those, however, are not guaranteed.

There were a lot of teams, competitors, parents and fans in the gym that will be eventually torn down after the new high school across the way opens up.

Hopefully, there will be more events like this one at the new high school, when it opens.

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Sometimes, things just have a way of working themselves out. Just ask the Boston Celtics.

Remember about a month ago when there was a storm of controversy over Isaiah Thomas' tribute video?

Sure you do.

Thomas asked the Celtics to delay showing it until the second time the Cleveland Cavaliers came to Boston. The first time, the ex-Celtic guard was not in uniform, and his family wasn't there.

Oh baby, did that cause a headache. Turned out that the return visit by the Cavaliers was also the day that the C's were slated to hang Paul Pierce's No. 34 from the rafters. That was a problem.

Pierce didn't want to share the day with IT. So eventually, Thomas acquiesced and asked the Celtics not to show the video.

Doesn't matter now, because last week, Thomas got dealt to the Lakers. There won't be any need or desire to show the video with the Thomas-less Cavaliers in town.

And since the Lakers already made their one visit, no video.

Sometimes, the best laid plans.......

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On the subject of the Cavaliers, their new general manager Koby Altman had himself quite a week. Altman made some trades that pretty much changed the look of LeBron James' team completely.

Altman's just another one of those NESCAC guys.

The Cleveland GM played at Middlebury from 2000-04. In that time, his teams wen 0-5 against Williams.

But he then went on to coach for Dave Hixon at Amherst. Those teams, from 2007-09, went 5-0 against the Ephs.

Altman's best game on the court came as a senior, when he scored 12 points in a 104-71 blowout loss to the Ephs.

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And on the subject of Williams, if you spend as much time watching the Winter Olympics as I will, a bunch of former Williams athletes are involved in the NBC productions. A few of them I covered.

Rob Hyland, Matt Marvin, Adam Datema and Matt Casey all played football for the Ephs. Hyland is producing figure skating, Marvin is a men's hockey producer, Datema is a logistics technician in Korea, while Casey coordinates all South Korea production from the NBCSN headquarters in Stamford, Conn.

Sam Flood, a longtime NBC executive and former Williams hockey player, is the lead producer in China while former golfer Jake Abrahams is a researcher and went from the Super Bowl to Korea.

Sports Illustrated's Tim Layden will be featurizing for both SI and the network.

It is a small world after all.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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