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Pain in Spain with no newspaper

POSTED July 07, 2017
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

            I’m a newspaper and coffee guy. Doesn’t matter where I am - home, vacation, business or pleasure – It’s the way the day gets started. On the couch, on the porch and the vacation deck, it doesn’t matter. It’s the law, cup and paper.  It can get a bit problematic particularly on vacation out of the country. There isn’t always time to sit and sip and read. Then there’s the issue of finding something that’s written in readable form (translation, English).

            And so it has been for the last nine days. There was nothing to be found in good old English in Spain. Nary even a condensed version of the USA Today in Madrid or Segovia or Bilbao or Toledo or Barcelona and a few other hamlets we were fortunate enough to visit. 

            A few things reached me via social media but that will never replace the good old newspaper. I don’t even mind turning the pages in the wind. The internet will never replace the printed word for me.

            So I got home Monday night and have spent considerable time feasting on the written word. And, as you might expect more than a couple of item caught my eye.

            I have mixed emotions about Tom Scarola resigning as Shepaug Valley cross country coach. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Scarola has coached for 21 seasons and wants to watch his son do his athletic thing on a high school level.

            What’s more important than that? But Scarola has been about excellence and decency. He has won nine state titles and never been very far from the top of the mountain when his teams didn’t own the summit.

            But Scarola is also one of those guys you looked forward to talking with before and after meets. Honest, respectful, friendly, he has always been a good guy. He has become a very nice part of the running landscape and you will miss him not being in his familiar position this fall.

            Tom has always done the right thing too. A couple of years ago when he did not hesitate when there was some hijinks on his team and a number runners were benched for the BL Championships. His team was favored to win. It didn’t. But he knew he did the right thing. One week later everybody was back at the starting line and the Spartans won the Class S title.

            Tom picks a pretty good guitar with his group called Fossil. He talks about music with a passion that he coached with and he’ll go all night unless the police tell him to shut it down. But he is anything but a fossil. He is still pretty fresh and wants to see his son while he is fresh.

            But I know this. His record stands on its own. But cross country meets, well, they won’t quite be the same. Maybe he can bring his band and play at the finish line.

            Dan Scavone is now the Big Cahuna of the 31-team Central Connecticut Conference. The CCC made a wise choice. The man with the Popeye arms and highly respected basketball refereeing whistle brings a ton of experience to the job having either coached or been A.D. at Woodland, Nonnewaug, Crosby, Berlin and Danbury. Oh and I did I mention he was the Principal at Holy Cross.

            And know this about Scavone – he has the guts to make the tough decision. When Berlin was accused of using a football player that lived out of district he followed through in a town that takes its football seriously. He paid a price for it, sacrificing his morals wasn’t part of the price.

            Even in Spain I think I heard them yelling `Ole’. A good league made a good decision and gets a good man.

            Scott Langenheim a Naugatuck Greyhound? I admit this one surprised me a bit. The mountain of a man has always bled a lot of Torrington Red Raiders maroon and white. He starred there and has played an active role in the Alumni Club. But the big guy wants to coach and Naugatuck under a new regime likes his pedigree.

            First-year coach Dave Sollazzo has hired Langenheim to coach the offensive line and linebackers.  I know this, they will play for the big guy. And at least the color change isn’t dramatic from his high school roots. Good luck Scott.

            Talk about the future of the Berkshire League has been prominent since Lewis Mills began its flirtation with joining the CCC more than a year ago before eventually staying with the BL.  Nobody knows what the future holds for the 57-year-old circuit but it seems painfully obvious that the league will not continue to exist in its present format far into the future.

            Whether the BL joins the NCCC or NVL or comes up with another alternative, declining enrollments and disparity in enrollments are demanding change. Another issue that was not addressed this week in several newspaper articles was the push by the state legislature for regionalization.

            There is sentiment in Hartford to force the small schools to merge for monetary reasons which obviously perks up the ears of Thomaston, Litchfield, Shepaug, Wamogo and Litchfield.  That would certainly cut the number of teams in the BL.

            It is an uncertain future but the one certainty seems to be that the BL in its present form in living on borrowed time. For now, all is as was. For now. As for the future, get your GPS out to find out where the road will go.

            We are well into summer vacations but a final thanks to all the high school seniors who make our job so much fun. Graduation can take you out of your school but not your school out of you. There were a thousand thrills and memories that no one can take away from you – the bus rides, the practices, the wins, the losses, the highs, the lows, the titles and no titles.

            You don‘t get to repeat it so I hope you enjoyed it. Good luck in the future and once again – thanks.      


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