Sports Editor’s Playbook, Oct. 28, 2010


Patrick Newell

Seeing the name William Thomas Jr. in our obituary section this week did not ring a bell in my mind until I read today’s follow-up obituary notice. In it, former Norwich athlete Tyler Saroka was noted for giving a speech of remembrance for his grandfather. It was then, I remembered “Bill.”
I saw Mr. Thomas at almost every Norwich home basketball game the past few years. He always sat in the same spot–behind the Norwich home bench about three rows up – almost even with the scorers’ table. Mr. Thomas helped me find a seat on a night when spaces to sit down were sparse, and although I had seen him at games the past few years, it wasn’t until this particular night that I struck up a conversation. He was a pleasant man, and I asked him who he was here to see. He told me his grandson Tyler played for Norwich, and he also had a granddaughter, Cassie Sutton, who played for the Norwich girls’ team. Mr. Thomas had a keen understanding of the newspaper business, and he told me he had a brother who was in the newspaper business. After that night – since I usually sat in the same vicinity as Mr. Thomas – we exchanged pleasantries and chit-chatted during breaks before games and at halftime.
In my short meetings with Mr. Thomas, I had just a glimpse of who he was, yet those impressions stuck with me. He will be missed at this year’s basketball games.

– I had a short voicemail message that was cut off after a few seconds. The caller did not identify herself by name, but briefly made an allusion to Bainbridge-Guilford’s soccer team – the girls. She didn’t finish her statement, but my understanding is that she was wondering (complaining) that the score of last night’s sectional win over Newfield was not in the paper. Not just that, the most recent game (another win) was not in the paper either. I wish this caller was able to finish her message and leave a call-back number. I would have quickly responded. Here’s my answer to this unknown caller: Bainbridge-Guilford has not reported girls’ soccer games all season. I attempted to call the coach at the start of the season, but my contact number for her was no longer in service. I also called the school’s athletic office and left a message with my phone number requesting contact numbers for the coach. I did not get a return call. So, my hands are tied at this point.
For 15 seasons, I had a good professional relationship with the previous B-G girls’ soccer coach, who diligently reported games – not just the wins, but all of the losses as well. It’s disappointing to see that relationship fall flat this season, especially with the team much improved over the previous two seasons.