sports

Year in Review columns are fun to write, except for the fact that 7-800 words is barely enough to capture even a glimpse of all the cool stuff that took place in the past 12 months. Here is a snapshot…

I loved starting the year off with the story about Louise Adie wrapping up her 14 year run as a kayak guide in Anarctica. She is an adventurer through and through, and I look forward to writing about her upcoming exploits. 

This was a great year for local Special Olympians, especially when Cassie Tabor and Kinsie Henry took the podium in Abu Dhabi at the World Games. 

Springtime brought a lot of stories my way, as George Valesente wrapped up his 40-plus year run as Ithaca College’s esteemed baseball coach. George was honored at the Hall of Fame ceremony at I.C., and he handed the keys over to someone he knows well: His son, David. The game of coaching musical chairs continued, as David’s job at Wells College was filled by Ryan Stevens, TC3’s coach.

Speaking of Ithaca College baseball, it has been a blast to watch (Auburn native and former Bomber) Tim Locastro put up some numbers in the Majors. He realized his dream to play at Yankee Stadium (for the Diamondbacks) and to thank his family and friends for making the trip, he hit one out. Tim is known for his speed and savvy, but he likes to flash some power once in a while. 

I was deeply saddened this spring when Clint Smith passed on a few short months after retiring as a NASCAR pit crew guy. Clint had some great stories about car racing’s Major Leagues, and he was a wonderful guy. I miss him a lot.

I haven’t done too many bowling stories over the years, but I was so happy to write about Kelly Foster’s induction into the NYS Bowling Hall of Fame. Kelly’s lifelong dedication to her sport rivals that of any other athlete I know, and she was a very gracious and upbeat interview. 

I loved writing about Brenda Michaud and her fierce fight to run, swim and bike again after a cancer diagnosis and a long and arduous treatment plan. She’s a bad-ass and a half.

In August, I inserted myself into this column when I wrote about the bucket list item my daughter and I checked off. We hopped on our rented bicycles in San Fransisco and rode through Fishermans’ Wharf, Aquatic Park, the Presidio, across the Golden Gate Bridge and down to Sausalito, where we put the bikes on a ferry and rode across the bay. It was only a 10-mile ride (with lots of headwinds, hills and an obstacle course made up of thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists) but it was a challenge and I loved every minute of it. 

The fall brought more glory to Ithaca College as the Bombers’ Parley Hannan wiped out the field of nearly 300 runners and brought Ithaca College’s first-ever cross country national championship to South Hill. Then, the Bomber football team made history by playing in front of a Division III record crowd of well over 40,000, at MetLife Stadium for the 2019 Cortaca Jug. The Bombers took down the Cortland Red Dragons for the third time in head coach Dan Swanstrom’s 3 years at the helm, and (semi) local guy Will Gladney put the finishing touches on a great career. Wil – who graduated from Owego Free Academy – set a ton of receiving records and is now working hard to try to make a career of it. 

Those of you who watched the Cleveland Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football on November 14 might have looked on as the camera panned the Dawg Pound and said, “That looks like Steve Lawrence and Bill Bryant…” That’s right, the former ICSD Athletic Director and I were the guests of Jeff Grover (a Spencer-Van Etten grad, one of Bryant’s former players and a Browns employee) and we had a blast. Things got a little crazy - given we were in the midst of fans who had started tailgating 8 hours earlier - and a lot crazy when a Browns player infamously hit the Steelers’ quarterback over the head with the QB’s own helmet, but none of that changed the fact that Jeff afforded us an opportunity to see the inner workings and showed us a great time. 

So, for 2020, if any friends or readers have any experiences they’d like to offer me, I’m all ears. Please keep the story ideas coming, and as always, thanks for reading. With 27 years down, who knows how many to go?

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