Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Catch This

Former safety Quinten Arello, a two-time Dartmouth captain, is the subject of a Q&A HERE in advance of the NFL Draft.

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This is cool. In recognition of Jackie Robinson Day, the Chicago White Sox piorneering former Dartmouth football assistant Jennifer King throw out the first pitch:

Click HERE to read King's bio as assistant running backs coach with the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately, no mention of her year in Hanover with the Big Green.

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With the retirement of Yankees' radio announcer John Sterling (LINK) it's a chance to revisit his call of The Catch by Dartmouth's Andrew Hall in the Big Green's win over future NFL QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and Harvard in 2003:


Here's the story I wrote a few days later about The Catch, now immortalized in a photo by former SID Kathy Slattery on a column just inside the main gate of Memorial Field:
Catch As Catch Can 
Hall's Haul in Win Over Harvard Was The Talk Of The Ivy League
HANOVER – Brett Hoover of the Ivy League office is home in Plainsboro, N.J., watching the YES Network broadcast of the Dartmouth-Harvard football game, laptop computer at his side, online.

Two-hundred, sixty-one miles to the northeast, Big Green coach John Lyons has called timeout, a decision longtime voice of Dartmouth football Rick Adams reports from his sunny radio cubby high above Harvard Stadium.

Taking advantage of the break in play to make her way from the end zone back to the 20-yard line is Dartmouth sports information director Kathy Slattery, shooting digital pictures on this day with a spanking new 300mm, f/4 lens.

It is Saturday, Nov. 1, 2003. There are 12 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the game between undefeated and nationally ranked Harvard and the underdog Big Green.

Less than two minutes have elapsed since Crimson quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Rodney Byrnes with a 55-yard lightning strike to slice Dartmouth's lead from 23-9 to one touchdown in one fell swoop.

The Big Green is in a third-and-28 hole at the Harvard 40-yard line because quarterback Charlie Rittgers collided with the referee for a bizarre 18-yard loss on the last play. It is crunch time.

For everyone.

***

Lyons is hoping a long pass will bring a first down, but is thinking that an interception would be as good as a punt.

On the Crimson sideline, coach Tim Murphy has sent in another defensive back and is feeling confident that the numbers are in his team's favor.

Near the painted H in the middle of the field, Rittgers huddles his troops and calls the play: 79 Trade.

Junior wide receiver Andrew Hall and senior wide receiver Jay Barnard will line up left. Senior tight end Casey Cramer will be on the right side of the line.

Hall, the 6-foot-3 Rick Fox lookalike who is enjoying a big game, reviews the play as he heads to the line. He and Barnard will be running "jet" routes, straight up the field, crossing along the way. He knows how big the moment is.

"We need the momentum back," he says later of his thinking. "I'm telling myself you have to do everything you can to get the first down the way I always do on third down."

In the YES booth, John Sterling, he of the "Yankees win, thuuuuuuh Yankees win," fame, sets the scene.

"Here it is, third-and-28," he tells his audience. "A big play for Dartmouth."

Slattery hoists her Canon EOS-1D digital SLR camera and looks through the viewfinder.

Across the Dartmouth offensive line, senior tackle Courtney Wuistinger, senior guard Chris Mathewson, senior center Luke Catenacci, sophomore guard Mike Shannon and junior tackle Vik Tiku gird for a hard rush.

Rittgers takes the snap. Wuistinger rides Harvard defensive end Matt Farbotko around the left of Rittgers, who steps up into the pocket at just the right time. Mathewson is a wall in the middle that Harvard defensive tackle David Kunst can't budge. Catenacci, Tiku and Shannon team up on the right side to hold off a bull rush by tackle Jon Berrier and defensive end Eric Grimm.

Just as Berrier breaks through, Sterling makes the call in the TV booth. "Rittgers, deep downfield, over the middle for Hall ..."

On the home sideline, Slattery has her camera poised as Rittgers lets fly from the 47. "I had been in the end zone waiting patiently for what I was convinced was going to be a touchdown the play before," she says. "When I saw Rittgers roll out and go down, I was mad. So I went stomping back to about the 20-yard line, thinking, 'Now what's going to happen?' The camera just happened to sight on Andrew Hall when he was at about the 10 and I knew Rittgers had thrown it."

Hall is on the left hash, around the 25, when the ball leaves Rittgers' strong right arm. Free safety Chris Raftery is close on his heels. Linebacker Dante Balestracci is tearing straight toward his own goal line -- and Hall -- in a race with the tight spiral. Corner Rick Williamson is sprinting in from the right.

As Hall reaches the 6-yard line, he leaves his feet, his long left arm reaching straight up, a black sweat band just below his elbow. Like a dance partner, Raftery goes up with him, pinning Hall's stronger hand to his side.

Hall's gray-gloved left hand palms the ball and he pulls it into his body as he bounces. Sterling's call continues, the excitement in his voice rising to a fevered pitch: 
"... and he made a catch. That's as good a catch as you'll see. Andrew Hall. Oh, what a catch!"
Adams and color commentator Wayne Young send the same word back to radio listeners in the Upper Valley.

"Did he catch it?" Adams shouts. "What a catch at the 2-yard line! Andrew Hall gives Dartmouth a first-and-goal. ... My goodness, what a catch! Wow!"

Adds Young: "As long as they play football at Dartmouth, that's going to be one of the greatest catches you'll ever see. I wish our audience could have seen it."

***

Slattery has seen it, through the lens of her camera.

"My concern was I might have sighted on it, but did I have it in focus?" she says. "I could see the ball on Hall's fingertips, and I said, 'Ooh, I think I have it.'"

Down in New Jersey, the Ivy League's Hoover can't believe what he has just seen until YES replays the catch two times. Hoover's mind is already racing as Hall rolls onto his feet and Cramer rushes over, signaling the touchdown that will come on the next play.

Slattery thinks of checking her camera to see if the picture she wants is preserved on its one-gigabyte compact flash card, but thinks better of it.

"Part of it is I'm new to digital photography, and I'm afraid I'm going to push the wrong button," she admits.

Hoover, who knows he will have to try to describe the indescribable on the Ivy League's Web page, has no idea that Slattery shot the picture. But he does have an idea.

"Immediately when I saw it, I would say within 20 minutes, I e-mailed the people at YES saying, 'This catch is unbelievable. If you can turn it into an MPEG (Internet movie file), we'll gladly put it online, " he says. "I certainly can't do that thing justice by writing about it."

One play after Hall's grab, Rittgers sneaks in for the touchdown that closes the books on a 30-16 Dartmouth win.

***

Slattery finally gets a peak at her picture a day later. It is better than she could have imagined.

On Sunday, Hall sees the still photo and catch for the first time on the coaching study tape. It's not a YES Network closeup, but his teammates hoot and holler for more. "Everybody wanted to see it a couple times," he says. "I think people were in kind of disbelief. I know I was."

On Monday, it is Hoover's turn to be in disbelief when he sees the picture Slattery e-mailed his way. He quickly puts it on the Ivy League website with the words "The Catch 2003" superimposed across the bottom.

By Wednesday, the YES techies have e-mailed a 48-second video clip to Hoover, who throws that up on the Ivy website, too.

By Wednesday night, Hall has finally seen the YES clip. He's heard Sterling say, "Boy, that's fabulous. That is really fabulous. Well, if Harvard loses today, that will be the catch of the year."

The decathlete from Greene, Maine - who asked Lyons if he might walk on to the football team during his track recruiting visit - has watched the replays and heard his name called. He's getting ready to e-mail a link to his parents so they can see the catch he tried to explain in an excited phone call home.

And still, Hall wonders aloud if it ever really happened.

"It's hard to believe they are talking about me," he said. "Hearing someone say it's a great catch and should be top 10, that's amazing. It's a dream."

No, it's a third-and-8 dream come true.

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For what it's worth, here's The Catch, taken by the late Kathy Slattery (Phillips), the legendary Dartmouth sports information director.


And here is where Andrew Hall is today: LINK

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EXTRA POINT
For those of you who recall the PAT a few weeks back about "ice out" on Joe's Pond here in Vermont (LINK) the hard water lasted a good deal longer than expected:


More than 17,000 tickets were sold at $1 apiece in the ice-out contest. The winning pot this year is $6,974. Find a story on the WCAX TV page HERE.

Monday, April 15, 2024

You Make The Call(s)

Listing starters in college football can be a dicey proposition. Is a starter the player who is actually on the field for the first play on his side of the ball even if that's his only play of the game? Or is the starter the player who instead plays the vast majority of snaps on his side? How do you handle determining the starters on defense if you usually play a 3-4 defense and open with a 4-3? Or if you open with two or three tight ends?

Understanding that knowledgeable people can disagree about who is, and who isn't a starter in a game and on a season, here's a reasoned list of Dartmouth starters from last year. Your mileage may vary.

This list was drawn from the Big Green's official statistics. Starts in 2023 are listed after the player's name and players who have moved on  are in italics

–OFFENSE–

QUARTERBACK
Nick Howard 8
Jackson Proctor 2
Dylan Cadwallader 1

TAILBACK
Q Jones 10

WIDE RECEIVER
Paxton Scott 10
Isaac Boston 10
Painter Richards Baker 5
Daniel Haughton 4
Jackson Gerard 1

TIGHT END
Jace Henry 8
Nic Sani 2

CENTER
Thomas Hartnett 5
Nick Marinaro 5

LEFT GUARD
Nick Schwitzgebel 10

LEFT TACKLE
Delby Lemieux 7
Kyle Brown 3

RIGHT GUARD
Kyle Brown 7
Tristan Holmbeck 3

RIGHT TACKLE
Konstantin SpΓΆrk 10

–DEFENSE–

NOSE GUARD
Josiah Green 10

DEFENSIVE END
Charlie Looes 10
Hank Knez 10

MIKE LINEBACKER
Danny Cronin 8
Micah Green 2

WILL LINEBACKER
Macklin Ayers 10

SAM LINEBACKER
Braden Mullen 5
Teddy Gianaris 4
Micah Green 1

NICKEL
Tyson McCloud 8
Cam Maddox 2

CORNER
Leonard St. Gourdin 10
Jordan Washington 9
Patrick Campbell 1

STRONG SAFETY
Sean Williams 10

FREE SAFETY
Quinten Arello 9
Cam Maddox 1

KICKER
Owen Zalc 10

PUNTER
Davis Golick 10

LONG SNAPPER
Josh Greene 10

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EXTRA POINT
Good thing I got off my back side and got a little exercise hiking early yesterday afternoon because the rest of the day was spent watching the Masters and then the Billy Joel "live" special recorded last month in honor of the 100th show of his soon-to-conclude Madison Square Garden residency.

I find myself wondering this morning, if I had the opportunity to choose to see just one of those two events in person – which would I pick? I've been to the Masters twice (albeit in a working capacity) and I saw Billy Joel in concert shortly after graduating from college, so neither has the edge in that regard. So what would it be?

After thinking it over, I would probably have been at the Garden this year instead of watching Scottie Scheffler win his second green jacket in front of the (faded) azaleas at Augusta National. Not that I could afford either, of course.

Another year, who knows?

And oh by the way, count us among the fortunate who did not have our local station cut away to the news while the Piano Man was performing Piano Man. ;-)

Sunday, April 14, 2024

This And That

Dartmouth's office of "Strategic Content And Brand Management" has a look at how Big Green football practice has gone through the first half of spring HERE.

If you prefer video, here are secondary coach Aashon Larkins and quarterback coach/offensive coordinator Kevin Daft:

Editor's Note: I stopped by The Green House to watch practice yesterday and will have a story for you at some point this week. Stay tuned.

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A Valley News appreciation of the life of Priscilla Sears, a former Dartmouth professor of English, liberal studies and women's studies who died last year at age 90, begins with an anecdote featuring former Big Green football player Byron Boston '81, today the  chief executive officer of Dynex Capital. From the story:

While Boston found that many professors on the Ivy League campus could be condescending toward students from non-traditional backgrounds, Sears held all of her students to the same rigorous standards.

“She was bold enough to be very demanding.” Where other professors tended toward patronizing, “she didn’t treat me differently. She really came at me and made me look at myself. It was a complete mind-opening experience.”

Find the full story HERE

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While Dartmouth coach Sammy McCorkle wrapped up the first half of spring football practice Saturday morning, the highlight of the week for the McCorkle family was about 750 miles south where his oldest daughter Maddie scored a game- and career-high five goals while leading the Duke women's lacrosse team to a 14-11 win over Louisville on her senior day with the Blue Devils. McCorkle recorded a hat trick in the fourth quarter alone. Find the story HERE.

In addition to her achievements in lacrosse, McCorkle was a two-time, all-state basketball player and 1,000-point scorer at Hanover High School.

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EXTRA POINT
We leave on our month-long train trip across and around the country one week from tomorrow and it's starting to look as if I'm going to have to mow the lawn before we go. I can't tell you how glad I am that our lawn tractor has been repaired. What I can tell you is how glad That Certain Nittany Lion '16 will be that it's fixed because he'll be helping out with the lawn while we are gone. Which reminds me . . .

Last fall Mrs. BGA and I planted a bunch of daffodil bulbs and the hope is that they bloom before we leave. They are closing in on six inches in height now and it starting to look as if it will be a photo finish whether we actually see the flowers before we are "all aboard." It may fall on TCNL '16 to send along a few pictures of the daffodils before he mows them over ;-)

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Spring So Far

The polish that helped Wendy Laurent become Dartmouth's associate head coach and the intensity that makes players want to play for Don Dobes are both on display in this look at spring practice to date:

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Joining the Dartmouth staff in the offensive quality control role is Grayson Kline, a former walk-on tight end and quarterback at Penn State, where he earned degrees in sociology and criminology. He was most recently an offensive assistant at LIU. Find his Penn State bio HERE.

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Posting an interesting offer is senior nickel Tyson McCloud:

McCloud had 36 tackles and four pass breakups last fall. 

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Defensive lineman Gannon McCorkle, another potential grad transfer, sounds excited about an offer from the University of San Diego, Xweeting, "I’m excited to get on campus next week." He also holds an offer from Marist.

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Hoping to have a mid-spring look at Dartmouth practice in the next day or so. Stay tuned.

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EXTRA POINT
Having walked all 18 holes of Augusta National on multiple occasions while covering the Masters, it has occurred to me that, like Monday's eclipse, you can see all the pictures and watch all the coverage you want of Amen Corner and the rest, but the only way to really, truly see it is to have been there.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Hometown, Uh Home State Hero


Former Dartmouth offensive lineman/tight end Jake Guidone '21, who helped UConn to the 2022 Myrtle Beach Bowl as the grad transfer starting center, is on a different kind of field these days. A smaller field.

From a story in The Sun (LINK):

Fresh off a bye week, the Walpole native is ready to get back to business, toeing the offensive line for the undefeated Massachusetts Pirates (3-0) of the Indoor Football League.

The team, which moved to Lowell in the offseason, plays host to the Iowa Barnstormers on Friday (7:05 p.m.) in what promises to be another action-packed arena football affair.

And . . . 

A 6-foot-3, 315-pound lineman, Guidone certainly knows his way around the gridiron. He worked out with the Green Bay Packers in September after attending rookie minicamp with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent this past season.

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Speaking of offensive linemen, Dartmouth will be honoring one at commencement this year. From The Dartmouth (LINK):

Former professional football player and assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology John Urschel will receive a Doctor of Letters. Urschel, who previously played as a lineman for the Baltimore Ravens before transitioning to a career in academia, is the author of “Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football.”

Green Alert Take: Those who think you can't combine top-notch academics and major college football might be interested to know Urschel starred on the gridiron and in the classroom at Penn State after seriously considering Princeton. He earned his doctorate at MIT after earning the Campbell Trophy, known as the "academic Heisman," while playing for the Nittany Lions.

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Still on the topic of offensive linemen, Dartmouth's Ethan Sipe has added Old Dominion to his growing list of grad transfer offers.

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Back on the subject of academics and major college football, a friend of BGA shared a link to a story that shows a different side of the equation. The USA Today headline pretty much says it all: QB Shedeur Sanders attends first in-person lecture at Colorado after more than a year;  Colorado quarterback has been doing coursework online instead. University life ain't what it used to be. (LINK)

From the story:

“It’s so different now man because most of the school is online,” Deion Sanders said. “Like, they go to classes and I’m like, 'You guys are missing the best part of college − to be on campus, to walk around and build the atmosphere and build relationships on campus with other students outside of football.' That’s the best part of it, but now you have so many kids, they’re just online. I don’t even know if Shedeur has partaken a class on campus in his college career.”

Green Alert Take: That's pretty hollow. Maybe, just maybe, if Coach Sanders went so far as to tell the players he wanted them to actually experience school in person they might have the experience he says they are missing.

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Have you been wondering – as I have – which Dartmouth basketball players did not vote to unionize? In a letter to the editor of The Dartmouth, 6-foot-6 forward Connor Christensen of Eden Prairie, Minn., explains why he thinks the union is a bad idea. From the letter (LINK):

I believe that the movement opposes the core values and traditions of Dartmouth athletics — the balance between a rich academic history and competitive athletics — and may lead to unintended consequences for athletes across the College. 

And . . . 

Ultimately, unions exist to protect people from being taken advantage of. I, however, do not feel exploited by Dartmouth. It is an honor to represent the College and attend an institution with world-class academics and prestige. 

Christensen writes that he intends to continue as a member of the team.

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EXTRA POINT
I got this note in my email yesterday from web host Weebly. It's bittersweet:

bgafootball.com has expired

We wanted to let you know that bgafootball.com expired today and has been taken offline. Any connected site or email is no longer functional.

But if you want to get back online, you still have 29 more days to do so!

For what it's worth, the site was still up when I checked it just now. ;-) 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Well Done

Dartmouth has had 13 current players and two alums named to the The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame's Hampshire Honor Society, which was released this week. To be included a player must have completed his eligibility, had a  minimum 3.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale, and have been a starter or significant contributor on the field all season long.

Named from Dartmouth
Quinten Arello
Macklin Ayers
Kyle Brown
Dylan Cadwallader
Danny Cronin
Tyler Green
Josh Greene
Jace Henry
Nick Howard
Sam Koscho
Charles Looes
Tevita Moimoi
Nicholas Schwitzgebel
Paxton Scott

Also
Noah Roper – Colorado School of Mines
Isaiah Johnson – Syracuse

Hampshire Recognition By School
Harvard 17
Dartmouth  13
Princeton 10
Brown 9
Cornell 8
Yale 8
Columbia 7
Penn 4

Find the full list of players honored by school in the NFF release HERE.

Green Alert Take: The Hampshire Honor Society is yet another entity that has been turned upside down by the transfer portal and the COVID bonus year. At least four of Dartmouth's honorees are graduating but will be playing elsewhere next year. And Kyle Brown, Danny Cronin and Paxton Scott are returning for a fifth year with the Big Green.

Editor's Note: Should have included Kyle Brown and Paxton Scott in that listing.

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This is sweet:

Maddie McCorkle, a former standout Hanover High School athlete, will be on the field for Duke Senior Day tomorrow. No idea if dad Sammy will make it to the game, but as they say in these parts, it would be "wicked cool" if he could find a way.

A midfielder, Maddie is tied for the team lead with two gamewinning goals this spring. She had 12 goals and six assists total for the 9-6 Blue Devils. Sister Allie McCorkle is a freshman on the lacrosse roster at Colorado.

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EXTRA POINT
The latch that engages and disengages the hatchback on my EV went kaput on Monday. It's going in today for some diagnostics and if we are lucky, a fix. Or it may have to go back in a few days. Time will tell.

Here's the interesting part. We called the dealer about the issue and they asked about the mileage on the vehicle. They said if it was less than 36,000 the warranty would take care of the repair.

Did you notice what day I said the issue cropped up? Monday. If I'm doing the math right, the car went out of warranty either on the way up to watch the eclipse, or on the way back.

And you know what? It was worth it!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

A Special Tribute

Today a guest column by a researcher who worked closely with former Dartmouth football coach Buddy Teevens. This appeared in the spring 2024 issue of HEADWAY and is reproduced here with permission.


A Personal Remembrance of Buddy Teevens
by Jonathan D. Lichtenstein, PsyD, MBA

Buddy Teevens was a staunch advocate for brain injury prevention, an innovator in ways to make football safer. He passed away this past September. He was 66 years old.

Buddy was the head coach of Dartmouth Colleges football program for 23 years across two distinct stints leading the Big Green. In his first campaign in the late 80s and early 90s, Buddy successfully recruited a disciplined placekicker from Connecticut, my brother Jason. Growing up, l attended an uncountable number of Dartmouth games, both home and away, watching my brother drive kickoff after kickoff deep into opponent territory. When I came to Dartmouth in 2013, Buddy was already back for his second tour of duty in Hanover. My brother, also living here, had been a longtime supporter of the program as an alum and one of Buddy's former players. He told Buddy about me and my focus in neuropsychology and traumatic brain injuries.

Shortly after starting my job at Dartmouth, Buddy Teevens started calling me on the phone. It felt unreal. We texted regularly (Buddy embraced the thumbs up emoji like no one else) and often chatted about our shared interest in head injury prevention. He would always call me when he returned from a coach's summit, or a high level NCAA meeting about safety. "I spoke to this guy, I think you know him," or "I listened to their ideas and it all makes sense - it's what we've been doing." He had so much intellectual curiosity, as he tried to figure out how to best protect his players - not just for Saturday, but for the rest of their lives.

Buddy's humble nature was always remarkable. He single-handedly changed the culture of football forever, but he just acted like he was the luckiest guy in the room. Happy to be along for the ride. In reality, he was often the smartest guy in the room. Brave, entrepreneurial, enthusiastic, thinking ahead of the curve. He embodied the Dartmouth spirit and grew to define its ethos.

One of the proudest moments in my academic career was presenting alongside Buddy at the Ivy League/Big Ten summit in 2016. Buddy was talking about his approach and techniques for non-tackle practices, and I was weighing in on the concussion outcomes data that followed. It was particularly fun presenting with Buddy that year because Dartmouth had just won the Ivy League title. Despite never tackling another player in practice, Dartmouth was a powerhouse on defense. Discussing how safety could be paired with improved performance and winning, in front of Big Ten athletics representatives, made us feel a bit like Daniel in the lion's den. But we had the numbers and the graphs to show that it worked. Buddy was a football visionary, and I was the guy trying to translate it into objective analysis. It was awesome. I only wish I had done more in that domain before he left us.

Buddy was such a strong supporter of me and my career. When I wanted to study concussion's effect on the central auditory system, he was a cheerleader, opening up the football program's doors to our study team. When the Mobile Virtual Player (a remote-controlled mobile tackling dummy) was just getting started, he invited me to pursue research questions and I surveyed players and coaches on their satisfaction of using the device. I presented those findings to the MVP's board of directors, which was a great learning experience for me early in my career. When CNN came to do a story on Buddy and his practice methods, he called me up. "Hey J – are you free right now? CNN is down here at the field and I told them about you." Next thing I know, I'm being interviewed by Ana Cabrera, talking about concussion prevention. We were a team, and that was incredibly special to me. I will never forget when Buddy said to me, "I love it - I'm working with a Lichtenstein again!" Since I was a kid, I looked up to my brother, and by proximity, I looked up to Buddy. Working with him, I simultaneously felt like a kid, while solving very adult problems.

Buddy shared the spotlight. He didn't want the attention, even though he deserved it. He wanted to collaborate rather than revel in his own personal successes. This is the essence of what I try to impart to my team and my trainees. Do not put yourself first. The team is the most important component and we all work better when we work together. These are some elements of leadership I learned from Buddy Teevens, and I will continue to teach them long after he's gone.

Writing this, I am incredibly sad. I am sad because of all the work that was still to be done by Buddy by his team and by those who consider themselves part of his family. I'm sad for the student athletes who would have played for him and won't. I'm sad because lost potential is one of the worst things that we can face. I'm sad because of the moments that I won't get to share with Buddy. I'm sad because we recently published a peer-reviewed paper showing the association between using the MVP in practice and reduced concussion risk, and he doesn't know about it. I want to call him and tell him about the publication. I want to share the success with him, and all the successes to come. I'm sad that I can no longer do that.

Everything I do from now on in the space of brain injury prevention – from concussion research to clinical care to training to community service - will be done with the memory of this extraordinary human being in mind.

Dr. Lichtenstein is the Director of Neuropsychological Services at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where he also leads the Pediatric Neuropsychology and Sports Neuropsychology programs. He is a consultant to concussion management programs at middle schools, high schools, and colleges in New Hampshire, and is the Team Neuropsychologist for Dartmouth College Athletics, also serving as Site Co-PI for the Big Ten-Ivy League Epidemiology of Concussion Study.

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Season tickets for Dartmouth football go on sale Thursday with incentives for those purchasing early. Here's a sampling from the press release announcing the sale (LINK):

Fans who renew their season tickets by Friday, April 19 are then eligible for these prizes: (only eligible for season ticket renewals)

* Pair of pre-game sideline passes to Penn Game (4 winners chosen)
• Honorary coin toss captain for one game (game TBD | 1 winner chosen)
* Golf with Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Sammy McCorkle (up to 3 guests | 1 winner chosen)
* Autographed team-used Dartmouth football (1 football | 1 winner chosen)
* Dartmouth branded Nike Jacket (1 jacket | 1 winner chosen)

There are different incentives for those who purchase by April 26, May 3, May 10 and May 17.

This is toward the bottom of the release, which features a graphic showing ticket prices "based off stadium sightlines":

The increased ticket prices of the 2024 football season helps deliver a distinctive student-athlete experience in an ever-changing college athletics landscape.

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This is former Dartmouth pass rusher Flo Orimolade of the Toronto Argonauts: 

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Can you believe Harvard alum Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for more yards in his NFL career than Phil Simms and Tony Romo? A story about FCS quarterbacks trending down in the NFL includes this (LINK):

Since the 1979 NFL Draft was the first to involve FCS players, there have been 60 quarterback selections from the lower tier of NCAA Division I college football.

None were taken in last year’s draft and none are expected to be selected in this year’s draft, which will be held from April 25-27 in Detroit.

Here's the eye-catcher: 

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A story about the Dartmouth basketball union vote in The Atlantic under the headline The Logical End Point of College Sports; If players are workers, schools will have to pay them includes this specific detail I had missed (LINK):

As they told me and other journalists, they mostly just want the $16.25-an-hour minimum wage paid to all student employees, including their own student managers. Basketball, they argue, is their campus job.

The writer, a recent Dartmouth graduate, doesn't pull his punches in his lede:

Cade Haskins averaged just 0.9 points a game this season for one of the worst teams in all of Division I college basketball. And yet he may turn out to be responsible for triggering one of the biggest changes in the sport’s history.

Last month, in a small HR office above the only sports bar in Hanover, New Hampshire, Haskins and his teammates on the Dartmouth College basketball squad voted to form the first-ever NCAA players’ union. Their goal: to collectively bargain with the school for wages in exchange for playing basketball. Dartmouth had six wins and 21 losses this year, good enough for dead last in the Ivy League—itself not nationally competitive—and 334th out of 362 Division I basketball teams. No player on the current roster was alive the last time Dartmouth had a winning season, and the program hasn’t qualified for the March Madness tournament since 1959. 

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From a story in the Harvard Crimson headlined, ‘Early to Call It Doomsday’: Athletic Director Says Lack of NIL Collective Won’t Hurt Harvard Athletics (LINK):

Harvard Athletic Director Erin McDermott pushed back against concerns that Harvard’s lack of a name, image, and likeness collective could make it fall behind other programs competitively.

And . . . 

McDermott also said during the interview that the Athletics Department would “allow” undergraduate sports teams to pursue unionization if there was interest.

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And finally, still another Sign of the Apocalypse out of Colorado (LINK): 

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EXTRA POINT
Please excuse the premature use of the expression "jumped the shark" HERE regarding certain commercials airing during the NCAA Tournament(s).

This is jumping the shark:

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

The Eclipse

The diamond ring and no, that's not my photo but it's exactly what we saw.

I drove about 70 miles north yesterday to view the total eclipse under cloudless blue skies in Newport, Vt., and kept notes about the day to share with Mrs. BGA who, unfortunately, was away and missed the event.

Although I was looking forward to it, I will admit I went north thinking the eclipse might have been a little overhyped.

I was wrong.

It everything it was promoted to be and so very much more. Awe inspiring doesn't do it justice.

Anyway, here is a quick transcription of my thoughts and contemporaneous notes jotted down in a reporter's notebook during the day. Apologies for the inconsistent punctuation, capitalization and tense which I will clean up in time, but hopefully this will give you an idea of what it was like. I'm very glad the sky was clear and I had the chance to experience totality. I've seen partial eclipses before, but this was something way, way more impressive.

Background: 

Eclipse starts: 2:16:35 p.m.
Totality begins: 3:29:23
Totality lasts: 3 minutes, 35 seconds
Eclipes ends: 4:38:13 p.m.

HOW IT WENT
As I came up the ramp onto I-91 for the trip north just before 9 a.m. I said to myself, “Whoa.” At that time of day, on that part of the highway, I can often go a couple of miles before I see the first car. This time I actually had to wait at the top of the ramp for a bit to carefully merge into traffic. Five minutes up the road a rest area that almost never has more than two or three cars in its lot had every spot taken and a line of a dozen or more cars queued up on the shoulder waiting to find a place to park. Whoa indeed.

By the time I got to Newport, about an hour up the road, I had seen cars from 16 states and the District of Columbia.

Although I arrived at the eclipse viewing area in Newport 5½ hours before “totality” all the parking lots around the 36-acre Prouty Beach campground overlooking Lake Memphremagog were filled. I ended up being the third car directed to park behind the local armory but by the time I had grabbed my chair, cooler and backpack every spot in the lot had been filled.

A 10-minute walk brought me to Prouty Beach where I set my chair up on a bluff overlooking the shimmering water of the lake, grabbed my reporter’s notebook and started jotting down a few observations as thousands of people arrived.

Here’s some of what I wrote:

More people than expected ... set chair to face in direction people with massive telescopes are facing ... they must know what they are doing ...  food truck offering brisket, ribs, pulled pork just setting up ... smells good ... line is building quickly to the porta potties ... spot someone wearing a black T-shirt from a 2011 eclipse ... someone sitting near me: “There’s a comet. You might need binoculars to see it but planets will be visible.”

More tripods than I’ve ever seen in one place ... some have huge telescopes and cameras attached with owners fiddling with them ... you could probably buy a pretty fancy new car for how much some of those set-ups cost ... on the other end of the spectrum, a few people have cardboard boxes with pinholes to project the sun onto a light surface ... a fellow with a wooden “sun spotter” is explaining to the curious how the thing works ... woman to my right passing the time reading the local paper to a companion: “Have you ever heard of a baseball player named Bill “Spaceman” Lee? It says he was here.” (The former Red Sox pitcher long lived in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.)

Time for a walk around the campground and more notes: People playing frisbee and tossing a football ... kids chasing a balloon ... feels a little like a football tailgate ... woman with a table selling “Eclipse Cider” ... back of her SUV is filled with cases of the stuff ... she tells me they made the labels just for this day ... woman at Newport Goodrich Memorial Library display offers free eclipse glasses for safe viewing but I already have mine ... official-looking table selling chips, granola bars (of course), coffee, tea and hot chocolate for $2 and water, soda and seltzer for $3 ... surprisingly reasonable.

Another eclipse T-shirt, this one memorializing 2017 in South Carolina. ... line to porta potties is now 110 yards long with people standing two and three abreast ... a man with a ‘60s era lawn chair is sitting in the line and inches the chair forward every couple of minutes ... he may have the right idea ... I hear there’s a rumor more porta potties could be on the way ... I’ll believe it when I see it and decide to limit my liquid intake ;-) ... I tell brisket people if they had brought their own jobsite johnny they could charge $5 a head ... they laugh and agree.

People sitting around a table playing a card game called Boss Monster ... beats me ... couple playing a portable Scrabble game ... jigsaw pieces inside an open cardboard box ... maybe an eclipse puzzle? ... more than a few people doing sudoku ... man next to me sound asleep reading Tomboy Bride by Harriet Backus ... might put me to sleep too ... at 12:08 a huge roar erupts as a truck carrying nine more porta potties arrives ... as workers unload them a woman near the front of the line formed for the new arrival  shouts, not unkindly, “Hurry up” ... the crowd laughs but within minutes there are now two 100-yard plus lines for the bathroom ... I brought Cokes and seltzer cans but I’m leaving them in the cooler until the lines subside (which they never do).

TV network has Starlink satellite internet setup and fellow with an expensive haircut and sports jacket is clearly the “talent” ... locked wifi signal shows TV folks are Sky News from the UK ... Spot T-shirt reading Big Eclipse Energy ... chalk lettering on basketball court says “Inhale Positivity” ... at a distance two hammocks have been erected between trees ... kids are flying a kite ... ask a fellow in front of a green pop-up potty if there’s really a portable toilet inside ... he says no, it’s for keeping his telescope and equipment out of the sun ... he tells me someone came by and asked how much he could pay them to use his toilet ... overheard: “We were going to go to Texas but when we saw the forecast we changed our plans and came here” ... even better: “The sun has a million times the volume of the earth” and a  high-school aged kid, sounding like a stoner responding, “That’s pretty big.” 

At 2 p.m. the PA on a flatbed truck starts up and the mayor (?) says the hope is after this Newport will no longer be a “drive through but a drive to” town, emphasis on "to" ... another speaker says the last time they had a crowd like this was when the Vermont band Phish played nearby “but this is better. No mud” ... speaker from the Northeast Kingdom Astronomy Foundation tell us “What I’m going to do is shut up. Use your eyes and senses and look around ... it will change your life.” He tells us the the totality “is a naked eye event.” ... speaker is as good as his word, offering only a few more sentences at appropriate times ... at 2:16 he tells us “first contact” is just seconds away ... he tells us when totality arrives to look a things that are red and green and note the color changes and tells us there will be some light on the horizon.

At 2:16:35 the speaker says “We have first contact” and a cheer erupts ... after a glimpse of the sun I pull off the glasses for a look at the crowd and every head is adorned with protective shades and is looking skyward ... 20 minutes or so in the sun looks like Pac Man ... a man nearby holds his binoculars in front of him and casts an image of the sun on the ground ... when he tries to show it to his wife her shadow blocks the sun and he’s frustrated ... cirrus clouds are starting to rise in the west but the show will be over before they can interfere ... announcer talks about impending “second contact” and tells us there will be an “ambient temperature drop” ... he’s not kidding ... it’s getting cooler already ... woman nearby: “Last time it was Aug. 21 in the summer and I didn’t notice it getting colder. I do now.” ... 3 p.m., still a half hour from totality and someone says, “It’s so cool and we haven’t even got to the good part yet.”

At 3:10, with 20 minutes until totality, the TV folks try out their lights ... I’ll personally go over and pull out the plug if they do that at totality ... at 3:16 all that is left is a thin slice of sun ... now there are just 10 people in line for the porta potty ... there’s a really eerie look to the sky and ground ... at 3:20 I pull my jacket on ... nine minutes to totality and there’s no one at the porta potties ... speaker: “We’re four minutes from second contact. Notice the changes in ambient lighting.”

At 3:29:18 (as I note later) the speaker says: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and the sun is totally covered and the crowd applauds ... there’s absolutely no color, just white jutting out around the black moon ... it’s not pitch black out but it is very dark except the horizon ... woman nearby: “My heart is pounding.” Someone else: “I’ve been to these before and you could see a dozen of them and not see one this good.” ... a single, bright light appears at the bottom and someone shouts, “There’s the diamond ring” ... never head of that but it makes sense.

Totality lasts 3 minutes, 35 seconds ... and within two minutes of the end of totality the line at the porta potties is more than 100 yards long again ... the eclipse is doing in reverse what it was doing at the start and most people are packing up ... what they were were oohing and aahing over before is now ignored ... I alternate between watching the sun come back and people watching ... someone says, “In an airplane you can see it for 10 minutes.” ... sounds like someone who is making it up as he goes on ... announcer: “There’s a box for recycling the classes. They are going all over the world.” ... I keep mine as a souvenir. 

I ask a man in front of me who is packing up his camera telescope where he’s from ... he says Corning, N.Y., about seven hours away ... he was going to go to Burlington but called an audible yesterday when cloud cover was predicted to be lighter in Newport ... closest room he could get was in Lake George, N.Y., 200 miles away ... he left at 4 a.m. to get here ... he last shot the 2011 eclipse in Wyoming ... said he had to choose between Nebraska and Wyoming and opted for the latter because it’s a better vacation spot ... sorry Nebraska. ... At 3:59 p.m. the loudspeaker is playing “Dancing in the Moonlight” ... it is probably playing similarly appropriate songs but I don’t recognize any of the others.

At 4:38:13 the eclipse is officially finished and a half dozen or so people applaud ... the echo of  a freight train horn comes across the lake and it’s as if a game has ended ... I pack up and head to my car where I sit until 5:30 to let the traffic get out of town ... I expect clear sailing home but no such luck ... when I reach I-91 it is bumper-to-bumper southbound with a lone car on the northbound side only every five minutes or so ... a little down the road I spot a Go-Pro camera that has fallen off a car between the two lanes ... I’m about to open the door and get it to see if I can somehow track down the owner but then the traffic starts up again ... traffic doesn't often become standstill but it rarely gets above 10-12 mph except for teasing a minute or two of 30 or 40 mph only to drop back to single figures. 

It is nearly 10 p.m. before I get home ... the NCAA championship game is in full swing ... the trip back down took 4½ hours and I'm worn out ... it was a long day but it was a fabulous day.