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February 28, 2015
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SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — There was a large wooden placard in the dining hall of Camp Kokosing, an idyllic place in Vermont where I spent my summers from age eight to 18, and indeed a place in which I literally came to be. Inscribed on that aging oak board were the words, “Now is life’s most precious time.” For those seniors who take to the floor for their final home games of their high school careers, that Senior Night moment of recognition, the flowers imparted to parents and the photos taken comprise a powerful memory that will long endure.

Simply majestic

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — With assiduous practice, the strongest of will and the ability to overcome adversity may come the rewards of sweet victory. At the Sullivan County Indoor Track Championships, the Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs and the Tri-Valley Bears added to this season’s division title glory with impressive county wins.  Read more

Noble cause

LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — Every sports team has its share of adversaries. Battles are waged, games and titles are won or lost and in the immediacy of the moment, those quests seem so cathartic. But in truth those engagements pale by comparison to the struggle against a much more daunting adversary, indeed a common one, namely cancer, wherein lives, not seasons, literally hang in the balance. No other disease brings more dread than this seemingly omnipresent scourge, which strikes young and old, and people from all walks of life.  Read more

Division precision

WEST POINT, NY — Winning track meets takes depth. To garner a title you need the strategic placement of runners, jumpers and throwers to amass the most points possible against contending teams. To be sure, as hard as it is to win a track championship, it is that much more difficult to repeat. For the Sullivan West girls coached by Joe Seidl and the Tri-Valley boys, under the tutelage of Charles Reim, that task became a fait accompli via the successful defense of their respective OCIAA Division V title wins.  Read more

Margin of victory

SULLIVAN COUNTY NY — The difference between winning and losing can often be a razor’s edge, the narrowest margin of points or time. And indeed, the most compelling stories from the annals of athletics are often about those down-to-the-wire games, matches and races wherein that elusive victory was won or lost in a nanosecond, a buzzer-beating shot on the hardwood or an 11th-hour score in some miraculous reversal of fortune.  Read more

Rock rivalries

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — While early-season basketball features a bevy of non-league games wherein teams look to test their mettle against contenders from other divisions and/or regions, it is the current league games that evince the most intensity, as teams jockey to marshal at least .500 in their divisions to secure a sectional bid.  Read more

Heart on the hardwood

SULLIVAN COUNTY NY — Every player on a team has a role. When those are understood, and there is ample talent afoot, an unflagging work ethic in place and the indomitable will to give 100% night after night, success becomes more attainable, and a life in the postseason lottery looms as an increasingly greater possibility. During the course of high school basketball’s 18-game regular season, teams will have their mettle tested by staunch adversaries, injuries, player ineligibility issues, sometimes questionable officiating—and of course those nights where the shots just won’t fall.  Read more

In the rearview mirror (Part II)

SULLIVAN COUNTY NY — “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so they say. This is the second part of a visual replay of some of the dynamic athletes who have made 2014 a year to remember. All of these photos were featured in The River Reporter. Beginning next week, 2015 coverage hits the ground running.

In the rearview mirror (Part I)

SULLIVAN COUNTY NY — “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so they say. This week and next enjoy a visual replay of some of the dynamic athletes who have made 2014 a year to remember. All of these photos were featured in The River Reporter.

Northern lights

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — There are two possible directions for teams: To head north means to be on the upswing toward success, while heading south stands for the opposite tendencies. Indeed, the ultimate goal is to reach the Northern Lights, that glowing cascade of stunning beauty, which can only be seen by teams that can survive the arduous journey to postseason brilliance.  Read more

Winning ways

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—Though the season’s most dramatic encounters will be staged after New Year’s, these waning days of 2014 will also figure strongly into the final hierarchy. Wins now, albeit in the early part of the season, could make a difference when it comes to determining whether or not teams make it to sectionals.  Read more

Opening salvos

WALLENPAUPACK PA and SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Within the confines of area gyms, you can already feel the electrifying pulse of the new basketball season. Given the intensity of the sport, which provides riveting non-stop action and compelling drama, it is no wonder that year after year the start of the new hoops season generates such fervor.  Read more

Unrelenting hunger

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — These days there are far too many people going hungry, and as the words of Simone Weil remind us, it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to allay that terrible deprivation.  Read more

Simply exceptional

NEWBURGH, NY—Imagine the joy of playing your last high school football game among the elite players of Section IX, having been selected as an Exceptional Senior All-Star, and to compete in a game you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Such was the privilege of 17 Sullivan County seniors who were selected by coaches to play in the third annual Section IX Exceptional Senior Game on November 23 at NFA’s Academy Field.  Read more

Dawg stars

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — In a celebration replete with laudatory praise from coaches, awards and a slide show presented by this photographer that elicited loving memories of this past fall, Sullivan West consigned its impressive autumn campaign to history with its fall sports awards presentation on November 12.  Read more

Fall’s finale

KINGSTON, ALBANY AND CANTON, NY—Fall will not officially end until December 21, but as far as the autumn athletic campaigns of Sullivan County teams are concerned, November 8 marked its coda. Hopes that the season could be extended for the Livingston Manor and Sullivan West football teams in their respective Section IX Class D and C title games were sadly sundered by shutout losses.  Read more

Yellow Jackets’ jubilee

MIDDLETOWN AND BEAR MOUNTAIN, NY — Great news overshadowed the negatives for Eldred, which though it found itself in the spotlight vis-à-vis its varsity football hazing revelations, handled the matter in a proactive and commendably decisive fashion. But for this writer/photographer on hand to witness the Yellow Jackets Section IX Championships in girls soccer, girls cross-country and the first place finish of Kayla Maas and Dave Powers in their respective Section IX Class D races, it was a week to reaffirm the positives and to celebrate the success of Eldred’s teams.  Read more

Tickets to ride

LIBERTY, NY — The most valuable and enduring reward from participating in athletics is a sense of satisfaction derived from knowing you have given your best. That fulfillment of having made great strides by dint of hard work and dedication represents the “gold” that is available to any and all competitors. More importantly, that enduring benefit is not subject to the measure of winning or losing. But now looms the coveted postseason and the allure to vie for a title.  Read more

The warm bright lights of home

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY—Our lives are journeys forward, a search to establish one’s place in the world—a career, a family and a home to call our own. But we never forget our roots. Though our gaze is essentially forward in its view, we find ourselves at times also looking back. Back to where we came from. Back to the places and people who formed the bedrock of our lives. Part of that ritual each year are homecoming weekends on which pilgrims return, legions of alumni, many of them former athletes, drawn to the brightly lit fields on which many memories were made.  Read more

Fortune favors the bold

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — At the outset of a season’s journey, teams set sail from a common harbor and venture into the perilous seas of competition. With banners held high and lofty words of encouragement, they aspire to reach the golden shores of success. But what awaits them are waters fraught with turbulence and upheaval. Most will be sundered, some sooner, others later. But even against such odds, some seem inured to onslaught, and onward they go, bound and determined to come through the maelstrom or go down gallantly with the ship.  Read more

Saturday night special

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Riveting, heart-stopping and monumental. Those three words chosen from this writer’s extensive lexicon of adjectives aptly sum up Sullivan West’s 20-12 league win over rival Millbrook on October 4. Indeed, the story I penned on www.sportsinsightsny.com, entitled “May the Fourth Be with You,” references not just the date, but also the fact that the Bulldogs, who trailed 12-0 at the half to the mighty Blazers, a team that pummeled them 51-14 a year ago, rallied on fourth down with 40.4 seconds remaining in the game to pull off the epic victory.  Read more