sports column


OUR INTREPID COLUMNIST navigates the mostly flat Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, which offers great views and no vehicular traffic. Can we get one of these in Addison County? Photo by Deborah Dickerson
The bike trip started with seven miles of continuous downhill—and quite a bit more if we’d had the time to continue all the way to St. Johnsbury. But we had to turn around. And that’s what made me a little nervous, because those seven miles of downhill also meant seven miles of continuous uphill to get back to the car, which is where we were hoping to be before the thunderstorm hit. My wife, Deborah, and I had been wanting to bike the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) for some time. We’d driven past the eastern end numerous times on our way along Route 2 through Danville and St. Johnsbury to...

DODGER GREATS ROY Campanella, left, and Don Newcombe spent their first year in (white) organized baseball in 1946 playing for the Nashua (N.H.) Dodgers, performing brilliantly and winning the New England League Championship. Jackie Robinson played that breakthrough year in Montreal, so the Nashua Dodgers were the first integrated U.S. baseball team in organized professional baseball. Courtesy of the Nashua Telegraph
I have wanted to go to a game in Holman Stadium in Nashua, N.H., for a long time because of the park’s historical significance. Finally, this summer I did, on Aug. 12, the very last day of the season for the Nashua Silver Knights of the Futures College Baseball League, the same league whose championship was won by the Vermont Lake Monsters (well-done, Monsters!). I traveled solo for an afternoon makeup game, watched the home team lose, 6-5, with about 100 other fans (at most) on a sultry day. I sat for an inning or two with the dad of the Knights DH, a Nashua boy, a senior at Emerson College...

MCKENNA DICKERSON IS radiant with excitement as she shows off the fish she caught below a waterfall on Alaska’s Tanalian River last month while her father-in-law, Matthew Dickerson, stands by with a net. Photo by Peter Dickerson
I have a confession. Although all three of my sons have gone on fishing trips with me from time to time, none is especially interested in fly fishing. If I bring one of them with me somewhere wild and beautiful — a national park in Alaska or Wyoming, for example — and put a fishing rod in his hands, he may employ it for a little while in the pursuit of whatever fish happens to be in the river. They have all done so successfully from time to time. Two have even managed to catch a fish in a state in which I have not caught a fish. But none of them really has a passion for angling. In short, I...

TED WILLIAMS, PERHAPS baseball’s greatest batter in the game’s century and a half history, batted left-handed and threw right-handed. Many of baseball’s greatest players demonstrated this mix-handedness (including Red Sox Yaz, Wade Boggs, Rafeal Devers). A medical study noted that 32% of the game’s greatest players, batted left and threw right.
You want your kid to be a major leaguer, and make a ton of money, so you can retire and live on Easy Street? Well, turn him around! Make sure he bats left-handed, from day one, from the day he first picks up that fat red plastic kid bat, or some other kiddie cudgel and attempts to bash something with it. It doesn’t matter if he appears to favor his right hand, eating, say, or scrawling primitive scribbles: just gently instruct him to put his left-hand on top of the right when he first picks up a cylindrical object and goes about smiting. The next thing you know he’ll be whacking the ball...

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE PROFESSOR of English Brett Millier worked for three summers for the San Francisco Giants prior to coming to Middlebury. Here she is in 1984 with one of her favorite players, pitcher Mike Krukow. “Kruk” has been a Giants broadcaster for 27 years.
As she was exploring the campus on her very first day at Middlebury College in August 1986, young professor Brett Millier encountered Frank Kelley, the director of residential life, who engaged her in lively conversation as was his wont. Frank learned that Prof. Millier was at Middlebury to teach American literature, so he encouraged her to lead a discussion of the book all first-years were asked to read and discuss during Orientation, Carson McCullers’s “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” He suggested she come with him to the dean of students office in Old Chapel to meet with the associate dean...
3rd in a series; read the previous installments here. Morning light creeps into Hell’s Canyon, carving the hillsides with light and shadow in just a few minutes as neatly as the water has been carving it for millennia. I look up the slopes for a glimpse of one of the wild goats, bighorn sheep, or mule deer that we have seen several times along the trip down the Snake River on the Idaho/Oregon border. There are none to be seen this morning. I take my mug over to the table where the guides are just setting out a thermos of coffee. The excursion has been billed as a float trip through the...

FORMER BOSTON RED Sox and Montreal Expo pitcher Bill Lee, a longtime Craftsbury resident, smiles with Jane Lindholm, daughter of Lee’s friend and Independent columnist Karl Lindholm.
This week’s column is written in a similar spirit to those of the other sports columnist, the angler, who takes us to lakes, ponds, and streams through sylvan glades to his favorite fishing spots. He describes with precise detail the bliss he feels casting his line in the water, surrounded as he is by the austere beauty of the natural world. I don’t fish but I know his bliss: I get mine at baseball games. I go to a lot of games and watch the Red Sox on TV, but in my dotage I find attending major league games kinda wears me out — the crowds, the hassle, the noise, the expense.  I have been to...

Guides Tyler, Connie and Mahaly discuss and plan a path through one of several class 4 rapids on day 1. Author Matthew Dickerson managed to stay in the boat but was thoroughly drenched by the tail end. Photo by Matthew Dickerson
2nd in a series. Read the first installment here. It’s the third morning of our four-day float trip with ROW Adventures down the Snake River along the Idaho-Oregon border. My wife Deborah and I sit in the shade of one of the rare clusters of trees near the bottom of Hell’s Canyon. Though at times during our float we’ve felt the impact of the “heat dome” that tortures most of the continent west of the Rockies, the morning air feels delightfully cool. I’m sure the previous night’s intense thunderstorm, which sent us running for shelter, helped bring in some of that cool air. We finish a hearty...

RAY FISHER WAS manager in Vermont’s Northern League for Burlington in 1937 and Montpelier-Barre in 1946 and from 1948-50. A Middlebury native and graduate of Middlebury High School and Middlebury College, Fisher pitched in the Major Leagues from 1910-1920 and coached baseball at the University of Michigan for 38 years. He returned to Vermont each summer to his family camp on Lake Champlain in Ferrisburgh. Courtesy of the Fisher Family Archives
In the last game of his sophomore year at Michigan State in 1946, Robin Roberts lost 2-0 to archrival Michigan, coached by a 58-year-old Ray Fisher. At game’s end, Fisher asked the Michigan State ace if he would like to play summer ball in Vermont. After a four-year wartime hiatus, the Northern League, a fast independent league in Vermont and New York, was reviving and seeking fresh talent from the collegiate ranks. Fisher was coaching the Montpelier-Barre entry. Roberts immediately agreed, and thus began a productive and warm mentor-player relationship. Roberts was 11-8 that first summer (“...

ROW ADVENTURE RAFTS wait to be loaded for the start of Day 3 of our columnist’s float down the Snake River this summer. Photo by Matthew Dickerson
Hell’s Canyon. With 8,000 feet of elevation difference between river level and the highest peaks of the enclosing ridgelines, it’s the deepest river gorge in North America — even deeper (and wider at the brim) than the Grand Canyon. It’s also the terminus of the Salmon River, the longest undammed river in the Lower 48. Cutting through the heart of this majestic and awe-inspiring canyon is the Snake River. After leaving Wyoming, where it has gathered waters from the mountains of Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest, the Snake briefly turns northwest and picks up...

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Addison County Independent