Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Looking Ahead And Looking Back (Sadly)

Boy do I appreciate it when you guys take the pressure off me and send along something to post this time of year ;-) Thanks to a friend and loyal reader for this one . . .

Massey Ratings already has its 2017 predictions out.  (LINK)

Never mind that Massey doesn't know if the next Saquon Barkley got lost and is on his way to the Ivy League or if a gifted starting quarterback is leaving school early (as I did not know writing a preview on a school not named Dartmouth back before the Internet). It doesn't matter for Massey, which certainly didn't go out on much of a limb with these predictions!

Here's how Massey sees the Dartmouth season going:
at Stetson W 29-10 (90 percent confidence)
Holy Cross W 24-21 (59 percent)
at Penn L 21-14 (32 percent)
Yale W 23-20 (59 percent)
at Sacred Heart W 24-20 (62 percent)
Columbia W 19-14 (63 percent)
at Harvard L 20-17 (43 percent)
Cornell W 26-20 (64 percent)
vs. Brown W 23-16 (67 percent)
Princeton L 24-14 (24 percent)

That's 7-3 overall, 4-3 Ivy League with the best chance for a win at Stetson in the opener and the worst chance of a win against Princeton in the finale.

Here's how Massey projects the Ivy League:
Princeton 7-0 Ivy, 10-0 Overall
Penn 6-1 Ivy, 8-2 Overall
Harvard 5-2 Ivy, 8-2 Overall
Dartmouth 4-3 Ivy, 7-3 Overall
Yale 3-4 Ivy, 4-7 Overall
Columbia 2-5 Ivy, 4-6 Overall
Cornell 1-6 Ivy, 1-9 Overall
Brown 0-7 Ivy, 1-9 Overall
I started to worry when the emails with questions I often couldn't understand and the envelopes from Bozeman, Mont., with newspaper clippings about Yellowstone Park stopped coming.

The morning brings sad news that Roy Abbott '52 has died. (LINK)

You may not have known Roy but if you have been to Dartmouth football practices over the past dozen or more years you would know his voice. "Booming" would not do it justice. And he wasn't exactly afraid to use it.

I used to laugh that Roy was one of my best sources at practice. As a general rule, I don't put the Dartmouth trainers in a tough spot by asking them about injuries.

Roy? He'd simply shout down from the stands, across the track and halfway across the field to get an update from the player himself.

It's fair to say Roy could sound gruff and that some of the opinions he shared were born of a different time. It's a cliche but I'm here to tell you the large man barked but he didn't bite.

He was a master story teller and not afraid to laugh at himself. His tale of trying out for the Dartmouth lacrosse team with an inherited stick only to learn when people started firing balls at him that it was a goalie stick cracked me up.

I remember him telling me about the time he was sitting at a game complaining to the fellow next to him about a promising wide receiver who kept dropping passes. Roy kept it up until the fellow finally started agreeing with him. Only then did he learn that his neighbor in the stands was the player's father.

I have vivid memories of big, brusque Roy Abbott – unaccountably wearing shorts and sneakers with his anorak on a cold day – gently and sweetly guiding his tiny and frail wife Leigh through the stands for practice. Alongside would be his beloved Golden Retriever, who he proudly told me would head down the hall of his motel to the exact room he always stayed in on the first day he returned from Florida for his fall watching Dartmouth football.

Roy wasn't a BGA subscriber for the first dozen years or so because computers weren't his thing, but toward the end he shared a check anyway just to help keep the site going. After losing his wife and moving to Montana to be near his kids his son hooked him up with a computer expert who got Roy online, allowing him both to watch games and read BGA. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about the patience that computer person had to have.

The last time I saw Roy he proudly told me his granddaughter from Montana was interested in Dartmouth. After she was accepted he asked if That Certain Dartmouth '14, then a ranger in Yellowstone, would talk with her, which she did.

I asked Roy if he would be at her graduation and he told me he didn't think so because he wasn't sure he'd be around. I was taken aback. Other older alums were disappearing each year but as big and strong as the man was he was going to live forever. But he was right.

Roy Abbott was 86.

This is from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
Roy’s “second” home in retirement was in his beloved Hanover, New Hampshire, where he would spend the fall seasons watching the Dartmouth Football team. He rarely missed practices or a home game and was happy to discover the internet later in life which allowed him to watch games he could not attend in person. Roy eventually settled in Bozeman, Montana, in 2016 to be near his three children - his Golden Retriever, Barney, was his cherished, constant, and loyal companion.