Designated Hitter: Common sense would have gone a long way in MIAA-Nash controversy

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It's time for another one of those ICYMI columns. In case you missed it.

ICYMI, the medalist in the Central Massachusetts Division III golf tournament did not get credit for the victory.

Emily Nash of Lunenburg conquered the Blissful Meadows Golf Club course with a 75. She was one of two golfers to break 80, and she beat Nico Ciolino of Worcester's Advanced Math and Science Academy by four strokes. What happened after that was anything but blissful.

Now everyone, including the Math school's Ciolino, knows he did not finish first. And this, my friends, is where the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association made its mistake.

The Central Mass. tournament director should have just given her the trophy and said congratulations. Instead, she got a hearty handshake and Ciolino was given the trophy.

Now if you read the golf tournament format on the MIAA web site, the following is spelled out: Girls playing on a fall boys team CANNOT BE ENTERED IN THE BOYS FALL INDIVIDUAL TOURNAMENT. THEY CAN ONLY PLAY IN THE BOYS TEAM TOURNAMENT (MIAA statement in all capital letters). If qualified, they can play in the spring Girls Sectional and State Championships. It is on the first page of the rules and regulations.

But since Nash competed against the boys, and whupped them, she more than deserves to have gone home with the trophy signifying medalist at the tournament.

Her team, however, did not qualify for the state D-III tournament that will be played at Wyantenuck Country Club in Great Barrington on Tuesday, so she will not be coming to the county.

What should have happened is that she should have received a choice after winning last week. Nash should have been asked if she wants to come to Wyantenuck or did she want to compete in the spring for the girls state championship.

Nash should be the Central Mass. Division III individual champion. She earned it. If she wants to play in it.

Girls golf in Massachusetts is a spring sport, like girls swimming in New York is a fall sport and boys swimming is a winter sport. So championships aren't run at the same time.

While it is unfair that she can't come to Great Barrington, is it also fair for her to get two chances at winning a state title — in the fall with the boys and in the spring with the girls? Is that fair to the male golfers who can only compete for one championship?

So, if the MIAA wants to fix this, it would behoove the golf committee to give girls who qualify for states as an individual a choice as to which state championship they want to play for. But if any golfer is first in their sectional, be they male or female, that golfer should be the champion.

Tone deafness is not a crime, but a little common sense might have diffused this situation.

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ICYMI, Arena Football is returning to our region.

That's right, football fans. It is the third coming of Arena ball, and the Times Union Center in Albany will host the team.

Some of us recall the first time the Albany Firebirds came to what was then the Knickerbocker Arena.

Do you remember "Touchdown" Eddie Brown? He played wide receiver for the Firebirds and back in 2006 was voted the greatest Arena Football player in the league's first 20 seasons.

And did you know that Eddie Brown is the father of Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown? Didn't think so.

So, the new Albany team was unveiled last week. It is owned, in part, by Albany folks and by the ownership group that runs the Philadelphia Soul of Arena Football.

"It will be a great product. I guarantee you that," former NFL quarterback, former ESPN analyst and Soul co-owner Ron Jaworski said. "The fans of Albany, they will be people that will love the game.

"I have been around the Arena Football League long enough to remember the old Albany Firebirds and all the great things they did," Jaworski said. "Watching them on the Arena Bowl game and the crowd going crazy in Albany.

"It's back, and it's going to be like that again. The good times are back."

We will be the ultimate judges of that.

Reach sports columnist Howard Herman at 413-496-6253, hherman@berkshireeagle.com, or @howardherman.


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