Beyond The Score

Central Vermont Sports Blog

Archive for the ‘Montpelier’ tag

Montpelier’s Sports Culture is Changing

without comments

Back in January 2011 I wrote a piece titled “Where Have the Fans Gone.” It was about the change in MHS sports culture and lack of community support from students and teachers at sporting events. Not too long ago the MHS gym would have been full of raucous basketball fans. They were wild and full of excitement. Slowly this began to change, not just in basketball but all sports at MHS. It seemed a sign of things to come. Not only were things changing at MHS but in central Vermont. So why the change in sports at MHS? Where have the Fans Gone? In fact, Where have the Athletes Gone?

Since writing that piece community support for competitive sports has been greatly lacking and the quality of skill in students-athletes is also lacking. Fewer and fewer kids are playing competitive sports. Montpelier no longer has a football team; they used to dominate the league. No longer is there a girls softball team. The softball field behind the school is used as a parking lot for the Farmers’ Market or other non-school events. Also, boys and girls hockey no longer exists at MHS. The Vermont Principals Association allows MHS students wanting to play hockey to join the Northfield teams. Track and Field is now an independent sport and the few student-athletes with interest train with U32 High School. There are a couple of programs at MHS survving the sports culture change; tennis and soccer. Tennis has an off-season connection to First and Fitness Racquet Club and soccer benefits from the developing players in the Capital Soccer Club.

I remember the day when close to eighty-five student-athletes competed in track/field under coaches Rome Aja, Charlie Phillips and Ed Skea. It was an amazing sight to see the fields around the school full of athletes training and developing skills so they could compete at very high levels. Today the few sports that remain at MHS are suffering from a lack of participants and highly skilled athletes. The School Board recently suggested dropping baseball for just that reason. Some think it has more to do with declining enrollments but I feel it has more to do with a change in how families and students make decisions about participating in school and in the community.

A general observation, which probably shows my age, is that students today are “spread so thin that you can’t taste the flavor.” Parents want their kids to experience everything. I don’t disagree with that because a taste of something helps you make decisions about what you’d like to do. If you experience a wide variety of things and avoid striving to be really good at something then you become more of an observer of life. People that have skills and achieve at very high levels are successful. Competitive sports teaches you that.

I remember the day when the numbers of kids wanting to play competitive sports was so large that kids had to try-out for a team. Many didn’t make it so they would work on their skills during the off-season hoping to make it next year. They had goals and the enthusiasm to work hard to reach those goals.

Currently the MHS girls’ basketball team has seven players on the varsity and many are freshman. They are struggling to compete. These kids have great attitudes and they don’t appear to get down from not being able to compete. They play hard and give it their all. You can’t ask for more. They seem to be having fun. So if we measure success in terms of doing your best and enjoying what you’re doing then these kids are successful.

MHS Girls vs Oxbow

Why play any sport? The reason we keep score is to see who wins. To compete. To challenge yourself and an opponent. Losing day in and day out takes its toll on any competitive athlete, especially one that strives to excel. It takes a special quality of character to continue the struggle against the odds facing the MHS girls basketball team. Those seven – this magnificent seven, have those qualities. They are all in this together and they demonstrate a willingness to make the best of this journey. It is a struggle and they are facing it with strength of character and enthusiasm. Hopefully the thrill of competition drives them and they will welcome the challenge.

Sport teaches you how to work together and develop high level skills. It builds community and helps players strive to be successful. Some measure success in winning. I measure success in knowing that I made the effort to do my very best. To achieve what I am capable of doing!

Striving for excellence and digging in to be really good at a sport requires time and commitment. Going through the motions and experiencing little bits of life is not success. It’s neglecting your potential. It’s cheating yourself of the gift of knowing you can be great at something because you did more than experience it. You mastered it. You set goals. You worked hard to attain them.

I started this conversation wondering where the athletes have gone. Maybe they are dancers, actors, musicians, artists or something other than sport. You suffered through my ramblings about the past and my thoughts on sport and success. The community and culture around competitive sports in Montpelier is changing. Maybe you can offer your thoughts on why MHS sports are declining and what does the future bring for competitive sport in Montpelier.  What is the message parents and students are sending us as Montpelier moves away from competitive sports? What replaces it?

MHS Girls Basketball 1990

Written by admin

January 25th, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Posted in General Discussions

Tagged with , ,

Firsts and Lasts

with one comment

Vermont Girls Ice Hockey Coaches Association announced the 2011-2012 Lake Division All Star Selections today, February 27. Player of the Year went to outstanding player Abby Marmer of Burr & Burton Academy and Coach of the Year goes to Mike Vasseur of Harwood Union. But it was the selection of 1st Team Goalie that got my attention. Mary Cain gets that honor and sets another first for the season. She is the first goalie to get the award without recording a win during the season. It just demonstrates the respect coaches around the state have for her game and how incredible she is in the net. Earlier in the season she had 71 saves in one game – a first for any goalie in Vermont. She had 747 saves this season – another first. Her save percentage is around 0.878.

Cain was also named to the Annual Essex Rotary All-Star Hockey Classic which will be played on March 17th in Essex. It was also announced that she is an Academic All Star with a GPA above 3.5. Congratulations Mary! You’ve had an amazing career as a high school goalie and we’ll look forward to watching you play in the All-Star Game in Essex in March.

Mary Cain makes a stabbing save against U32 in her final game.

Others named to the Lake Division 1st Team are Kristen Dukette and Erin Easton (Northfield), Emma Cummings (Harwood), Lucy Stillman (Rice), and Brooke Sabol (Burr & Burton).

I’d like to take a minute to tip my hat to retiring Head Coach Chris Turley of Montpelier. Coach Turley had his last coaching moment walking off the ice at the Civic Center in Montpelier after shaking hands with U32 players during the final game of the season. He headed into the locker room to talk with his team. Chris and his staff of volunteers (Peter Farrell, Paul Rumley, Sam FitzPatrick, Brian Cain) started the Montpelier High girls hockey program ten years ago as a club program and it evolved into a varsity sport. He was all about players being successful by developing character while developing hockey skills. He will be missed. Chris is done as is the MHS girls hockey program.

Coach Turley leaves the ice after his final game as a coach.

There is a possibility that Montpelier players will still be able to play hockey next year. A merge is being discussed with area schools and if the decision-making adults can cross mascot lines the kids will benefit and Montpelier girls will be on the ice next year.

Written by admin

February 27th, 2012 at 8:11 pm

WHAT a GAME!

with one comment

What a Game!

Sport is about the contest. It’s about the atmosphere in the arena and the drive of the players. It’s about the desire to win. All that filled the Civic Center in Montpelier Saturday night when two winless teams faced each other and a dramatic hockey game broke out.

Montpelier High and Woodstock High girls hockey teams met and battled for three periods of action-filled play. It was Senior Night and the players from both teams were recognized during the pre-game ceremony. Flowers, pictures and reflection of four years of competition were center stage. Coaches, parents and players made the most of it. After the ceremony (L/R) Junior Tess Adams, Freshman Chole Golonka, and Sophomore Julie Connor completed the festivities by singing a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner to start the game. Check it out below.

The game was physical and penalty-ridden. Montpelier jumped out to a lead and Woodstock responded. It went back and forth until the final minutes of the game when Woodstock broke a 3-3 tie and topped it off with an open net goal as time expired giving them the win, 5-3.

That’s what happened but this is the story. Montpelier scored almost as many goals tonight as they did all season. Tess Adams “The “Tasmanian Devil”, and Rachel Ebersole “The Rock”, scored early to put Montpelier in the lead. Woodstock tied the game. Then Freshman Chloe Golonka (who not only took up hockey for the first time this year but also had to learn to skate at the beginning of the year) made a beautiful unassisted score off a rebound to put the Solons ahead in the third period, 3-2.

Chloe Golonka puts MHS ahead 3-2 against Woodstock.

Woodstock’s next 3 goals were all part of the drama. Two teams sacrificing life and limb got after the puck and settled it at the end of three periods of hockey. I enjoyed every minute. Two teams playing their hearts out near the end of the season.

It was disappointing to watch the Solons fade toward the end but they have to be proud of their effort and hopefully they know what joy they bring to the ice for an old dog like me. You would never know the records of these two teams watching the style of play and the energy of the coaches, fans, and players during the game. It doesn’t get much better!

You can check out pictures of the game at Crowley Photos.

Three games remain next week: North Country, Rice and U32. I hope to watch all three!

Written by admin

February 19th, 2012 at 10:27 am

MHS Girls Hockey update

with one comment

Brief update on the progress of the Montpelier High girls hockey team:

Saturday night (1/07/12) MHS played U32 and with less than two minutes remaining in the game the score was 2-1 with U32 in the lead. The Solons called a timeout to plan strategy for the final 120 seconds of the game. MHS won the faceoff and headed down the ice toward the U32 goal. Montpelier pulled the goalie but unfortunately U32 gained control of the puck and scored a goal on an empty net making the final score 3-1.

They lost the first game of the season 10-0 and in this game had a chance to tie with just a few seconds left in the third period. It’s so much fun watching them improve daily. More and more players are showing that desire to win as their skills improve.

Below is a audio slideshow of highlights during the game. The National Anthem is sung by MHS center Tess Adams. You can access the pictures at Crowley Photos website under the SPORTS gallery – High School Sports.

Get Adobe Flash player

Written by admin

January 9th, 2012 at 2:05 am