Sports Editor’s Playbook, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011

Patrick Newell

Far be it from me to really nitpick. Okay, it’s kind of my job to nitpick when something seems amiss. Someone please give me a sensible answer to this: Is homecoming really homecoming when you never actually left your home? It was always my understanding that a homecoming football game is a “welcome home” celebration for a team that played its most recent game (or games) on the road. The homecoming festivities include the crowning of the homecoming queen, the marching band leads a parade through town, and it’s typically a night where school’s alumni return to their alma mater to revel in the abundance of school spirit. Norwich celebrates its homecoming weekend this Friday when the football team hosts Windsor – exactly one week after hosting Chenango Forks. Norwich can blame its regular season football schedule for the misplaced homecoming celebration. The Tornado played their first two games on the road (week two’s home game was canceled). Technically, last weekend’s game with Chenango Forks should have been the Tornado’s homecoming. Friday’s game with Windsor is the second of three straight on the NHS field turf. The final two games – Johnson City and Chenango Valley – are on the road. It’s a bit of an unusual schedule, and really, Norwich had little wiggle room in which to place its homecoming celebration. If I am reading my schedule the right way, Norwich will also be forced to hold its senior recognition game (the final scheduled home game) next week against Oneonta. Quite a quirky schedule since it will be just the fifth game of the season for Norwich on an eight-game schedule.

A one-goal differential in a soccer game may noy seem like much of an aberration, but in my experience, one-goal games do not come with the frequency one might expect. That’s why I took notice of the Oxford boys’ soccer team earlier this week. First-year Oxford head coach, Jim Champlin, shoots me an e-mail after each game with the full statistics. I reviewed his log of e-mails, and noted six games this month – all losses – in which Oxford lost by a single tally. In just about every one of those games, the Blackhawks were either winning or tied with the opposition in the second half. With a few more fortunate bounces, the Blackhawks could have one of the gaudiest records in the area instead of unpleasant losing mark. This is an instance where a team’s record does not indicate a team’s competitiveness.

Speaking of gaudy records, Greene has three programs that are on quite a roll. The varsity volleyball team upped its record to 6-0 earlier this week when it beat Bainbridge-Guilford; and the football team, now 4-0, is the number five ranked Class C team in the state. A win over Oneonta Saturday will give the Trojans’ gridders seven straight winning seasons. And the third team in our powerful trio is no surprise. The Greene field hockey team is 7-0 after blanking Oxford Thursday night. Of the teams that I cover regularly, the Trojans’ field hockey team is the most consistent winner. A fourth Greene program – one that has not reported results to me – was also sporting a nifty record. The Trojans’ golf team was unbeaten as of last week.

I know I have written this before. If you’re wondering why your team’s result was not in the paper – or online – it’s because the game was not reported to The Evening Sun. Many area teams are on long road trips, and I rely on a coach’s phone call in order to give readers the scoop. It’s a simple theorem: No news from a coach equals no news in the sports section. Contrary to the cliche, no news is not good news.

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