Anne Delaney

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Maurer had a way on the sidelines

In 2001, the Adirondack girls basketball team's unbeaten season was in jeopardy.
The Wildcats trailed Rome Catholic by 20 points at halftime. Adirondack coach Tom Maurer didn't yell. He laid out a new plan and new adjustments. The Wildcats cut  Rome's lead to a couple by the end of the third quarter and pulled away in the fourth to hang onto its undefeated season.
Maurer, 59, of West Leyden died Tuesday morning. He had been recovering from hip surgery earlier this month at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.
"It was one of those things he could and they believed," former Maurer assistant coach Dom Ventiquatrro said. "He was fun to coach with."
 
Upfront and honest, Maurer had an old-fashioned disciplined style of coaching. Ventiquattro and longtime softball opponent Pat Whalen of Ilion said Maurer could get away with being tough because his players knew he cared. They saw it. Maurer coached 27 seasons of girls varsity basketball and softball at Adirondack and his dedication included summer league games four days a week.
"He taught them to be more intense and to believe in themselves," Whalen said of Adirondack softball. "I told my kids 'look I'm not the only one who yells.'"
 

Soccer playoffs begin on Thursday

The Central New York State Soccer League men's division playoffs will begin on Thursday.
 
The two division, 14-team men's league has been whittled down to a Final Four leading into the 'A' and 'B' Division finals on Saturday. There no playoffs in the eight-team women's division.
 
In the 'A' Division semifinals, SC Sturlic will host Coliseum A at 6 p.m. at South Park Drive in Utica. SC Krajisnik will host Booters 'A' at Proctor Park. Game time is to be determined. In the 'B' Division, the Gunners of Madison/Waterville will play op seed Lee Alumni at 6 p.m. at Lee Town Park. Coliseum Roma will host Whitesboro at Proctor Park. Game time is to be determined.
 
The semifinal winners will play in Saturday's finals at East Herkimer Elementary School. The 'B' Division final will be at 1 p.m. followed by the 'A' Division final at 4.  
 

Thursday, July 24, 2008

WNBA fight sad development for women's sports

Is the brawl between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Detroit Shock of the WNBA a sign of a development in women's sports?
 
I can't recall another instance of a fight in women's sports, which is still in its infancy in the American sports conscious. The WNBA began in 1996 and established itself as the foudation of women's sports leagues.
 
We think nothing - or shouldn't  - of female  athletes participating in intense, compelling, minute-by-minute changing games. There are more women playing sports than 10 years ago, and opportunities exist for girls at younger ages.  Yet an incident of women fighting, even in the heat of the moment, is difficult to accept. 

Monday, July 21, 2008

Farley resignation bad for Notre Dame girls basketball

The girls basketball program at Notre Dame High School is going to be poorer for the resignation of Bill Farley.
 
The longtime varsity coach stepped down earlier this month, citing changes in the school's administration. Jugglers assistant coach Tommy Hynes and athletic director John DePerno also stepped down. Farley, who had 214 wins in 14 years, was a teacher of the game and one of the top girls coaches in the area.
 
Farley was interested in his players' development on the court. After games - win or lose - he often talked about what the players did well or no so well and what he wanted them to understand as the season progressed.
 
Notre Dame had a few down seasons in recent years, but the teams improved from beginning to end and that had to be due to Farley. High school sports is cyclical, and with a coach of Farley's quality the odds were good the team would again be competive in the Tri Valley League and the post season very soon.
 

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A nice night for baseball

There was everything a baseball fan could want Thursday at Little Falls Veterans Memorial Park.
It was a warm summer night for the New York Collegiate Baseball League game between the Bennington Bombers and Little Falls Miners. The NYCBL is a 14-team wooden-bat league for college players. On a nice night there are few things better than sitting outside enjoying live baseball.
 
On Thursday, it was so warm and humid that Digger, the Miners mascot, cooled himself by a press box fan between stints of entertaining the crowd of about 120 fans. Digger's highlight was leading a few willing fans in the 'chicken dance.'  
 
The game was well played with Bennington scoring all its runs after the fifth inning in a 6-0 win. Little Falls had its chances. The Miners left the bases loaded in both the second and third innings. The teams will play two games in two nights - Friday in Vermont and Saturday back in Little Falls.
 
In the late innings, a full moon tinged with orange hung low over left field.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Every year is unique at the Boilermaker

Bill Rodgers ran another Boilermaker. Six-time wheelchair winner Saul Mendoza returned for a physical challenge that requires more will than most of us can understand. Public address announcer Phil Stewart was again on a scaffold, several feet above the finish line to entertain and inform throughout the day the volunteers and spectators in the vicinity of Court Street.
There were things about the 31st Boilermaker Road Race that were the same in races past. This year, as with the previous 30, created its own personality with events that will forever link the 31st running to July 13, 2008. Here are a few:
The rain: never before had I left the house on Boilermaker Sunday with a jacket and without my sunglasses on my face. The glasses stayed in a pocket for a while because of steady rain that started about two hours before the 15K's 8 a.m. start. For some, there were more questions about the speed of the narrow front that produced the showers than the speed of the runners in the start corrals. Women's open division winner Ashu Rabo Kasim of Ethiopia was one of the concerned. Former race director Earle Reed was another. Kasim's worries drifted toward the back of the pack when the 23-year-old reached Valley View Golf Course and realized she could she enjoy the race's hilliest section. Reed was relieved at the post-race party the rain passed through the area, but the safety of the runners was on his mind because of the humidity.
Dave Reichert wasn't worried about the rain. The assistant race director confidently walked through the F.X. Matt Brewery parking lot about 6:45 a.m. in shorts and a jacket he knew he wouldn't need later. Reichert was right.
The winners: never before had Ethiopian runners won both the men's and women's overall titles. Terefe Maregu raised his arms above his head before he crossed the finish line, and Kasim sprinted the last mile to defeat four-time champ and running legend Catherine Ndereba by one second to complete the Ethiopian sweep. Maybe this year will be the start of Utica rivalry between Ethiopian runners and the always dominant Kenyans? Ndereba was back for the first time since her record setting run in 2001 and the return was made memorable by the close finish in the women's race.
The brewers: never before had Nick Matt seen so many people in the parking lot for the post-race party. The brewery president, who said he thought the party was in doubt six weeks ago after a fire jeopardized the bottler's processing facilities, was overwhelmed when he addressed a crowd that stretched as far out as any in his memory.
The timers: a malfunction of the timing chip equipment forced most runners in the field of 11,000-plus to rely on the slower 'gun time' results.
After the start gun goes off, the majority of the athletes in a race as large as the Boilermaker don't begin their run for several minutes and by that time the clock is ticking. With timing chip, a runner's time starts recording when he or she steps on the start mat.
The do'ers: the most notable would be Bob Ingalls, whose seven years as the calm, cool and collected race director made this year feel strange since his death on July 2. Ingalls was patient with multiple media requests and questions. He was accessible and willing to work with a reporter, even one who should know better, through the process of fleshing out an important story about the race. Ingalls' tenure as race director was going to end with the 2007 race - planned before he was diagnosed with cancer last summer. His absence, though, robs all involved of working with a knowledgeable and professional gentleman whose influence on the race will always be there.
The 32nd Boilermaker will be run on July 12, 2009. Will be Bill Rodgers be there? What about Saul Mendoza and Catherine Ndereba? We'll have to wait and see along with whatever new turns up.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Let's Get It Started

There are flags on telephone poles along Whitesboro Street leading to the Boilermaker Court Street finish line. 
Bleachers are already in place at the finish, along with fencing and the scaffolding for the public address announcers. On Thursday afternoon, there were enough trucks and people near the brewery and on Varick Street to make you think something is going on. Just a little somethings is going on: a party for 20,000 people.
 
 
 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's that time of year

It's beginning to look like the Boilermaker near Utica College. There is a sign of support over Champlain Avenue encouraging Boilermaker runners and I expect to see the orange fences on the UC grounds any day now.
 
 

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nadal-Federer among best ever

The Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer men's Wimbledon final on Sunday wasn't just the best men's final at the All-England Lawn & Tennis Club, as many are saying.
 
It must rank as one of the best sporting events ever. 
 
The others that come to mind, in no particular order: 1980 Winter Olympics, U.S.-USSR ice hockey semifinal; February's Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLII; Tiger Woods' victory in the U.S. Open in June; the 2004 American League Championship Series between the Yankees and Red Sox;  the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final between the U.S. and China.
 
 

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Manning Makes Most of Euro 2008 Experience

Herkimer girls soccer coach Glenn Manning was in Switzerland and Austria for the recently completed UEFA Eureopean Football (soccer) Championship. Manning went to the Switzerland-Portugal match on June 15 in Basel, Switzerland and saw Russia play Sweden June 18 in Innsbruck, Austria.
Manning watched the other matches on big screens set up in public viewing areas with friend, Urs Fischer, a Basel resident.
Manning planned the trip for two years. He couldn't go to the 2006 World Cup in Germany and was determined not to miss the Euro. The experience more than matched Manning's long wait. He visited Switzerland once before, in 1998 when he went to the World Cup in France.
"It's hard to describe one event that is the best," Manning said. "I'd have to say it's the people."
Manning was approached every day by people who heard him speaking English and they asked him why an American would be there. He said he told them it was an experience unmatched in the U.S. Manning said he saw a post-match parade for Holland after the team won a first-round game. After an hour, Manning had to leave but the parade was going strong.
"These were people who didn't have a ticket to the game because the stadiums only hold 40,000," he said.
Manning said it was common practice for fans at the game to exchange items from different teams, such as hats and scarves. After watching the Switzerland-Portugal match, a Portugal fan asked Manning for his Swiss scarf in exchange for the man's Portugese scarf. Manning obliged and received a warm 'thank you.'
"This big Portugese man is giving me a bear hug," Manning said.
Manning's friendship with Fischer is a story in itself. The men met in Baltimore in 1994 on the way home from a World Cup game in California. Manning missed his connecting flight to Syracuse and was stuck in Baltimore with his brother, Gary. Glenn and Gary were eating pizza in a hotel when Fischer and his brother, Stefan, walked in. The Fischers, who were on the same plane as the Mannings, didn't have a place to stay so Glenn and Gary shared their pizza and a bond over soccer was formed. Glenn and Urs kept in touch, and Urs visited the U.S. several times.
"That was back before e-mail so we had to send letters," Manning said.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Euro 2008 shows soccer skills

Who says soccer players aren't tough? They do play football, after all.
 
I was intrigued by the recently completed Euro 2008 Tournament and watched as much as I could. The Germany-Turkey semifinal on June 25 and the Sunday final between Germany and Spain were highlights of my off days. I was in front of the television with an iced coffee by 2:45 p.m. ET both days and didn't do anything else until the matches were over.
 
I was impressed by the players' footskills.  They routinely made passes that were unbelievable - pinpoint, right on the money every time. These guys are athletic, too. Fernando Torres made a couple of great moves, maneuvering past a German defender and leaping over keeper  Jens Lehmann, to create his goal in Spain's 1-0 final win.
 
Now, if someone from FIFA or UEFA or wherever can get rid of the flopping. It ruins the game, and whenever a guy goes down you never know if it's legitimate.
 
In the ESPN telecast of the Germany-Turkey semifinal, a camera caught Turkey's Ayhan Akman being treated with a staple gun for a gash on his head. The Turkish midfielder collided with Germany's Simon Rolfes, who also came away bleeding and was treated by his medical staff for a head wound. The camera showed Akman sitting on the ground while someone tended to his injury and I couldn't help but think how tough Akman was though I read he didn't return. In the final, German midfielder Michael Ballack was treated for a cut over his eye. There was a trail of blood on his face and neck but he returned to the match.