It's always easy to look back on the year to pick out the top stories. The challenge is to look ahead.
The crystal ball is, as always, cloudy.
The Patriots will get to Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3 in New Orleans and the ever-humorous Bill Belichick will get to bring his fourth title home. In a year where nobody in the NFL is all that good, the pedigree of the Pats will prevail.
March 1 is when the Jets will fire Rex Ryan. In a surprising move, New York GM Mike Tannenbaum reaches back to his tarp-pulling days at Wahconah Park to hire a Berkshire County guy. Shawn Flaherty, winner of three straight Super Bowl games with the Mount Greylock football team, is Tannenbaum's selection.
Speaking of Mount Greylock, the Mounties will play St. Joseph's for a Western Mass. Division III basketball title. As I said, the crystal ball is a little cloudy, and I can't see the winner.
UMass basketball coach Derek Kellogg will finally get his wish -- a trip to the NCAA Division I tournament. The Minutemen will go to Dayton as part of the First Four tournament. UMass will be one of the last two at-large teams. The Atlantic 10 is really good and should have four or five NCAA teams.
April 7 will find the Williams College men's basketball team playing for the NCAA Division III championship in Atlanta. This is the 75th anniversary of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, so there will be a Hoopsapalooza in Hot ‘Lanta that weekend. The Division I men's semifinals will be played on Saturday, April 6, while the Division II and III title games will take place on the 7th.
April 8, the Red Sox open at home against the Baltimore Orioles. The "sellout" streak will continue, but should end on April 19, when the Kansas City Royals come to Fenway. It'll be 35 degrees and the Royals will stink, so there's no reason for the streak to continue.
There will be a sellout crowd for the Pittsfield Suns home opener in June. John Kinne will homer in his first home game and the crowd will go nuts.
Not to put any pressure on Alison Johnson Krol, but she's going to compete in the Fourth of July race, and once again be the top female finisher.
Both the Suns and the North Adams SteepleCats will fall just short in their bids for championships in their respective summer leagues.
When the Jets hired Flaherty, the Mounties found themselves in need of a coach. Greylock reaches into its deep coaching resume file and hires Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.
Kelly keeps the Greylock staff intact, and assistant Brian Gill buys some new shirts and ties to wear on the sideline all season. If it works in the playoffs, why not in September?
The Baltimore Orioles will hold off the resurgent Boston Red Sox to win the American League East. Dan Duquette and all of Dalton will celebrate.
A sudden influx of student-athletes will provide every high school football team in Berkshire County enough players to play two-platoon football. (At least we hope that happens.)
In a surprise Williams basketball coach Mike Maker replaces Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, and Doc Rivers decides he's had enough of the NBA. Rivers takes command of the troops in the Purple Valley.
Remember, the crystal ball is cloudy. Here's wishing one and all a very happy 2013.
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