The wedge season is in full swingApr 08, 2021 03:20PM ● By Chuck Tashjian
The nice weather is coming and vaccine shots have brought hope and enthusiasm to all of us over the past few months. Tough times during the COVID-19 pandemic and once again, our hearts go out to all who perished and their families who were left behind from this invisible disease. Caution still is the way to go, meaning wearing masks should be the rule for awhile. We are 14 months into COVID-19 and still have a long way to go.
The good news is high school sports are back and are presently in their wedge season of playing fall sports, namely football, field hockey, soccer, and basketball. The wedge season is the past fall season that was cancelled because of the COVID. Now, all sports are being played and practiced under restrictive rules and conditions.This space was against the “wedge season” and admits it was wrong as the MIAA pulled it off so far without any major crisis or setbacks.Happy for the kids. That is all that counts here. Tip of the hat to the MIAA. The weather cooperated for the wedge season as the month of February flexed its snow muscles way too much but the coaches and kids stayed with the MIAA plan and persevered by practicing in school parking lots. The month of March, even though very cold, gave the wedge season a chance to succeed. The kids deserve it.
Let’s catch up with the local high school football teams. The wedge season football schedule for football is five games for every MIAA school unless a COVID protocol cancels a game. Shepherd Hill is the only “big” school in our area, meaning Division One because of their regional school enrollment. The Rams are 2-1 with two games remaining. At Doherty on April 10 and then at home against Shrewsbury on April 16. The Rams have beaten Leominster and Algonquin to date and lost to Wachusett. If the Rams finish at 3-2, meaning splitting between Doherty and Shrewsbury in their final two games, then they head into the 2021 fall season with a lot of momemtum. Former SH lineman and current Atlanta Falcon starting guard Chris Lindstrom is coaching the line at SH because he is in his NFL off-season and the wedge season in Massachusetts gives him that opportunity. It doesn’t get any better than that in Dudley. Imagine being a current Ram player today and seeing Lindstrom every day at practice. Lindstrom is such a solid human being in every way there is in life. The Rams are lucky to experience his presence. So much to learn from him and football is only half of it. His life values are off the chart.
The Bartlett Indians are also 2-1 after beating North and Abby Kelley and then losing to Millbury 34-14. The Indians play at Sutton and then close out the season at Southbridge on April 19, Patriots Day, at 10:15 am. This makes it a holiday game. Remember Thanksgiving Day longtime fans, your Bartlett Indians play Southbridge at home on even years. The Indians always travel to Spectown on odd years. The 100th Thanksgiving Day game was played in Southbridge in 2019. That was the last time BHS played SHS in football. 2020 turkey day was cancelled due to COVID. The point here is the over 100 years of even years in Webster and odd years in Southbridge, 2021 should be in Southbridge. The Indians could end up at 4-1. As the old saying goes, “beat the teams you are supposed to beat.”
The 4-1 wedge season will also give great hopes and promises for fall season. The Oxford Pirates are also 2-1 and they too can control their destiny and get four wins this wedge season. The Pirates beat Quaboag and Bay Path and have David Prouty and Worcester Voke left on their schedule. St. Paul beat Oxford in Game 2 of the season. Bay Path is 0-1 with Voke, Burncoat, and Prouty left on their schedule.
Just putting this out there: as the Oxford Pirates pursue two more wins this “wedge season,” breakfast is on the Oxford Insurance Agency for the Pirate coaching staff at Carl’s Diner on Main Street in Oxford if Coach Jeff Clarkson’s Pirates go 4-1. Oxford proud alumn Gordon Cook will serve that breakfast anywhere in Oxford. When the Pirates deliver the four wins, Gordon will deliver the bacon.