Geoff Smith | From the Baseline: Turns out, Taconic's mascot is already being talked about

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The best laid plans of mice and men...blah, blah, blah. Long time, no chat. Apologies for that. But here we are.

Housekeeping item to take care of first: If you are reading this column, chances are you read Howard Herman's column on Sunday, in which he suggested that it is time for Taconic to consider changing its mascot away from Braves.

Turns out, the Pittsfield School Committee is actually doing just that — taking the mascots of Taconic, as well as Pittsfield High into consideration for possible change. In their meeting on July 8, Chairwoman Katherine Yon announced that the committee will look at the Braves and Generals mascots, and debate whether a change needs to occur for both schools at its next meeting (Aug. 12).

If Generals has to change, give me some time before backing a new mascot. But if Taconic is going to change, I'm fully behind the idea of the Comets. Taconic Comets. Just say it a few times. Think about how cool some of the logos could be. I'm starting the write-in campaign now. Then again, maybe rockets? Taconic Rockets? Rockets get us to space, but comets are mesmerizing to watch when you can see one.

Kudos to Bill Cameron, another member of the school committee, on bringing that to our attention. The school committee has some major issues ahead to tackle, and I'm glad that the school mascots are part of that agenda moving forward.

We'll hear more about this subject as we hit the middle of August.

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You know how I know sports are back?

Parents and spectators are once again complaining in the outfield.

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But in all seriousness, when I trekked out with the camera last week to go watch some Little League action, I was curious about the amount of banter I might hear from the sidelines. Whether or not it's agreeable, there is no denying that hearing from the peanut gallery is synonymous with a live sporting event.

So after a couple of months of hearing nothing, it was utterly refreshing to get out to a ballgame, and listen to people complain again.

But do you know how I know that things are different?

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People were complaining about who was, or wasn't, wearing a mask.

That's progress.

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Despite the jokes that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association either has a) no one in charge, or b) the "good ol' boys" club in charge, the fact is that local principals, assistant principals, athletic directors and others do serve on MIAA boards. While we'll leave the politics out right now about why Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley had to be merged together into one district (District 1), there are a handful of locals serving on important MIAA boards.

We know this, because the MIAA published its Leadership Document, which lists all of the people who work on various committees. The terms run from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

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Of note: Mount Greylock Athletic Director Lindsey von Holtz is still the vice president of the Board of Directors. Jeff Granatino is the president. Considering the relative size and location of Greylock in the greater MIAA world, it always seems notable that von Holtz holds such a high position. Having dealt with her directly on a number of various issues, I can see why the MIAA has appointed her to the position again.

Von Holtz and Belchertown principal Christine Vigneux are the two District 1 reps on the Board of Directors.

Wahconah Assistant Principal Steve Messina is on the Interscholastic Athletic Council and is joined by Smith Vocational's Jeff Lareau as the District 1 reps on that board. For the Eligibility Review Board, Lenox Assistant Principal Brian Cogswell and Mount Everett AD Josh King are the two District 1 reps on that board.

Wahconah AD Jared Shannon will do another year as a member of the Tournament Management Committee, and is joined as a District 1 rep by Northampton Assistant Principal Kara Sheridan. Springfield AD Dwayne Early is also on the TMC, but is serving as an AD At-Large instead of as a District 1 representative.

Mount Everett Principal Jesse Carpenter is on the Sportsmanship Committee, along with Paulo Freire AD Wesley Jackson for District 1.

Those are all of the major boards at the MIAA. If you go to the link up above you can read more about the individual sports committees, and who serves on them.

In advance, just want to say thank you to all of the ADs and educators that serve for the MIAA. It's work that often goes unnoticed or underappreciated until the you-know-what hits the fan. But at the end of the day, your commitment to the betterment of athletics in the commonwealth is admirable and worthy of praise.

Geoff Smith can be reached at gsmith@berkshireeagle.com, @GSmith_Eagle on Twitter and 413-496-6254.


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