Sports 08-18-2011

Help keep me in the loop

If a parent has any info/photo of their child participating in a sports or recreational activity (elementary school, high school, college, or otherwise), please E-Mail me at [email protected] and I will be sure to include the info/photo in a column.  I’d also love to hear about any honor roll students or scholar athletes, or just about any story which would recognize the accomplishments of past and present “Townies.”

Good-bye Peter

Please keep the family and loved ones of Peter Looney in your thoughts and prayers.  There is pain to be suffered and hearts to be wrung, but he is being welcomed at the “gates” by his namesake and his deeds will never be forgotten.  The light he leaves behind shines brightly.

Kitchen Kup

The 10th annual Kitchen Kup street hockey tournament was, once again, a great success.  The 16-team, double-elimination format featured a plethora of talented players who dazzled the standing-room-only crowds with hustle, teamwork and phenomenal individual skills.  Kitchen Kup director Joe Brennan and his family (Kathleen, Aileen, Nene) would like to thank Alexi Hingston, Jacko Greatorex, Tom Jackson, Tim Buhay and George Dighton, as well as all of the participants for their show of sportsmanship.

According to Joe, “We are proud to give today’s generation of ‘Townies’ a venue to display their hockey skills and are extremely grateful for the continuing support of the Charlestown community.  Century 21 Realty, Monument Flooring, CHAD, Johnnies Foodmaster and the Boston City Council, in particular, provided generous sponsorship.”

Proceeds from the Kitchup Kup concessions and entry fees help defray tournament expenses and allow the directors to make a contribution to the Michelle and Mark Gorman Scholarship Fund.  There is a Kitchen Kup account on Facebook for anyone interested in learning more about the tournament.

Little League news

The Medford Invitational Tournament, which features some of the best Little League teams in Massachusetts, is still in progress at Columbus Park in Medford and the tournament directors do a sensational job of providing entertainment for both the players and spectators alike.  Visit the Charlestown Little League website at–l-l for a list of upcoming games.

“Townie” CYO softball All Stars

 With the 2011 CYO softball season permanently etched in the record books, the following players represented Charlestown at the annual Middlesex-Essex League All Star game, held in Billerica:  (10 and under) – Madison Rodriguez and Quinlan O’Brien; (12 and under) – Ann Merullo and Caroline Sicotte; (14 and under) – Maeve Fittz, Karyn Cunningham and Caroline Collier; (18 and under) – Jennifer Hayes and Kiersten Kelly.

The North Conway bears

Several times a year, I drive my family to North Conway, New Hampshire for fun-filled days of fishing, swimming, campfires, frog hunting, star-gazing and shopping.  We stay at my brothers-in-law’s house which is conveniently located just minutes from the center of town, and within walking distance to a nearby lake.  The time spent there is a welcome change from the hectic city grind.

It is a place where you can let your hair (or what’s left of it) down; unwind on the porch with a refreshment in hand; breathe in the aroma of whatever is barbequing on the grill; and drown in the tunes of the Clancy Brothers, Paddy Reilly and the Wolfetones.  The neighbor’s children, whenever they are there, cordially join in on our revelry.  I’m grateful for the quality time spent with my family but am also subconsciously leery of the presence of black bears; rightfully so.

My first bear encounter occurred on our first visit.  I was sitting at a candle-lit table in the back yard during the late evening, my wife and kids comfortably asleep inside the house, imbibing in “spirits” with my brothers-in-law while singing along to Irish ditties that we sorta knew by heart.  Our field of vision was total darkness, save for our handsome faces illuminated by the candles.

An eerie silence fell upon us as the cassette tape reached its end.  A short distance away we heard the crunching sound of footsteps.  The three of us looked knowingly at each other that what was lurking amongst the trees could only be a bear.  In a flash, chipmunks, rabbits and who knows what else stampeded underneath our table and through our legs.  It happened so suddenly that our only reflex was to grab the glasses that contained the high-quality bourbon so as not to spill a drop, which we successfully accomplished.  We again heard the footsteps; this time headed in the opposite direction, so we remained seated and flipped the cassette tape over to resume our harmonies.

The second bear encounter was a couple of years later.  My son Patrick, who at the time was seven months old, was stirring in the early morning dawn and preparing to scream out his breakfast cry.  I went upstairs to the kitchen as to not wake the household, placed Patrick in a high-chair and fed him cereal and apple juice while I waited for the coffee to finish brewing.

As I turned around to go to the refrigerator, on the other side of the sliding glass doors just a few feet away was a black bear.  It was standing on its’ hind legs with its’ front paws leaning against the doors.  I am 6’ 4” and I was looking up at the bear.  I could’ve grabbed the video camera sitting on the nearby counter and taped my last will and testament, or at least recorded footage of the bear, but my only instinct was to get the bear off of the porch.  The bear dropped down on all fours and ambled over to the garbage container beside the grill.

Horizontally displayed on the wall above the door frame was a baseball bat-sized halfball stick engraved with a shamrock and “Charlestown Townies” logo; a house-warming gift no doubt.  While the bear was rummaging through the trash, I slowly slid open the glass door and slammed the stick as hard as I could on the porch deck; it made a loud, ear-popping sound.  The startled bear jumped off the porch onto the ground and ran about twenty yards before turning around to make eye contact.  I threw an empty pail at the bear and bellowed a menacing growl.  The bear non-chalantly went on his way.

My brother-in-law resides full-time in North Conway and considers a bear encounter typical of the daily New Hampshire lifestyle; not unlike chopping wood, raking leaves or hauling recycled waste to the dump.  On my family’s most recent stay there, my sons and I didn’t get 50 yards from the front door before happening upon a black bear in the middle of the road; it was twelve noon, unsettling to say the least.

If I had my druthers, I’d carry a bazooka with me at all times as a bear deterrent; though that would surely be frowned upon by the townsfolk.  In addition, I don’t suspect I’ll be developing a laissez-faire attitude toward bears any time in the near future.  In the meantime, the Kelly’s will continue to enjoy our visits to North Conway, albeit, with an ever watchful eye.

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