Howard Herman: Still very thankful in Berkshires


The Thanksgiving turkey is gone. Black Friday cost us all a small fortune. Now it's time to really sit back and give thanks for what we have on the local sports scene.

Let us first give thanks to Wahconah co-athletic director Ken Pease and his staff for pulling off Wednesday's county championship game without a hitch.

The only thing Pease couldn't do was get a win for his Wahconah team against Mount Greylock. Everything else was a win for Wahconah and for the county.

The atmosphere for that game was unlike anything I have felt here in a few years. The fans were boisterous and respectful. The coaches did their jobs and the players did theirs -- entertainingly.

We should all give thanks to our local Division III college sports teams. For the teams at Williams and MCLA, it's about sport and not business.

When Maryland (Maryland?) and Rutgers made their moves to the Big Ten last week, it made me feel thankful that the Ephs and Trailblazers live here and compete.

The moves of Division I teams for money and TV contracts sometimes makes me feel queasy. I get it. Those schools have to pay for facilities, coaches and the like. It's an arms race just like in professional sports. The teams with the most money are more often than not the best teams.

We should all be thankful for the student-athletes at our local schools who give the term student-athlete a good name. These are young men and women who make their schools proud. By extension, they make us proud.

And we should be thankful for the Williams-Amherst sports rivalry.

The most intense and exciting regular season sports events I get to cover each year are the Williams-Amherst football game and the Williams-Amherst basketball doubleheader in Williamstown. The basketball games are particularly spectacular.

Chandler Gym is a small facility and fans are practically on the court. When the gym is filled, the noise can be deafening. Williams students have figured out how to properly cheer at a basketball game, bouncing up and down and breaking out some giant head photos. It's a real D-I feel in a D-III gym. If you haven't been, you are missing out on a treat.

As always, we should be thankful for the youth coaches and league organizers in Berkshire County. Without them, our young people would not develop into the athletes who participate in activities like the aforementioned county title football game or next weekend's Super Bowls. It is sometimes a thankless task to coach and mentor young athletes, what with all the pressure that comes from some over-zealous parents. These coaches give up their time to coach.

Sure, some of them are doing it because their kids might be playing. There are many, many other coaches who have been coaching before their children were born and long after their children have aged out.

For me, I have to give thanks to all of you, the reader.

More than you can imagine, I appreciate someone coming up to me in the supermarket or convenience store to ask me about UMass basketball or this week's high school basketball lineup. It shows you care.

That is why I do what I do. For that, I say thanks.

To reach Howard Herman:,
(413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.


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