I have been writing this column since the spring of 1988, I believe. Linda Myers pestered me for about two months to write. I wasn’t sure I had enough information for a weekly column or if people would bother even reading something I wrote. The Essex Reporter icon (Myers) served as the managing editor of our paper from 1984 to 2001. She then ventured into the realm of politics, representing our community with class. Her persistence wore me down. I agreed, and Sports Shorts was born. Sport is, and always has been, a love of mine, much more than a hobby. I know I would never have become a teacher if I didn’t get to coach. Not sure if many people who read that original column are still around in the area. Might like a peek at that first one! Anyway, even between high school sports’ seasons, I can always find topics to write about or comment on.

Have to say, the biggest sports news of the week is the VPA announcing co- and quad-championships in girls’ basketball. Our Essex Hornets, the CVU Red Hawks, the MMU Cougars, and the Rutland Raiders share the D1 crown. Congrats to all. Essex’ Mary Finnegan got the nod to express her feelings and those of the team. Such a well-written piece. Who is your English teacher, young lady? Other stories by CVU’s Mekkena Boyd, MMU’s Sophia Farrell and Caitlyn Luitjens, and Rutland’s Anna Bower, Rylee Burgess, and Megan Smith were touching as well. Fair Haven and Harwood share the D2 title. Soccer and field hockey used to declare co-champs if tied after overtimes. Last was a thriller between Dan Shepardson’s CVU Crusaders and Scott Mosher’s BFA Bobwhites. We are in uncharted waters, and the VPA is doing its best.

NFL free agency made headlines all last week. Biggest news in this sports-starved country is Tom Brady looking at the New England Patriots in the rearview mirror. He’s taking his right arm, his brain, and his football skills to sunny Tampa where season ticket sales are beginning to explode. Pats, NYG, NYJ, and of course the Dallas Cowboys all have been active.

Bad news usually comes in 3’s. Boston hit hard as it’s lost three superstars, two home-ground, in the last three months: outfielder Mookie Betts (trade), QB Tom Brady (free agency), and pitcher Chris Sale last week (Tommy John surgery). Read on Facebook that Sale and Yankees pitcher Luis Severino (Tommy John, too) can rehab together…..

Dolphins are making hay in free agency…..

No such thing as men’s or women’s NCAA basketball (or any other college sport for that matter) being crowned champion this year. In extremely-uncharted territory here, so either “open” – “no champion named” - * - or a simple blank noted in the 2020 slot…..No need to guess or theorize who champs should be unless you are writing a story.

All sports on all levels are obviously on hold. No plans at this time to resume anything, and there really can’t be…..

Some amateur, duffers, and/or golf junkies have been hitting the links – spread out/distanced/wiped down carts – in warmer climates…..

Walkers, bikers, and joggers have been out on the roads…..

Trash out in force. Florida doesn’t have a bottle bill, but does that mean you can just throw those empties, or worse yet--trash, out your car/truck window? Losers!

Saw a funny post on Facebook from Essex High alum and former student Amber Drabble. Guy peeking out the window with this caption: “Day 6 of no sports. Watching birds fight over worms. Cardinals lead blue jays 3-1.”

If you want a bit of a break and need a feel good moment, check out Extreme Makeover Home Edition on Sunday evening. Obviously missing sports and March Madness. Been watching way too many Hallmark Movies and would rather work out than watch another episode of Entertainment Tonight!

Happy birthday Bill O’Neil, nephew Derek Hathaway, Jeff Goodrich, Mike McCaffrey, Erin McGaughnea, Elizabeth Green, Nan Payson, Shanna Moyer, Pearse Cochran, Sydney Reyome, Kathy Kretz, Toby Smith, Kerry Gallagher, Lucas Hopper, Kasie Pontecorvo, Liz Leggett, Ryan Neary, Caraline Flaherty, Melissa LaMarche, Maria H Brennan, Scott Ose, and Melissa Paquette.

Stay well and be safe!

Recommended for you