SPORTS

Giving parents their due

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Last week, Chad Finn of the Boston Globe wrote a column on his high school daughter wrapping up her final season of sports. It was a wonderful tribute to his daughter but the angle he took was toward the impact that high school sports makes on parents.

As you can imagine, he dug into the highs and lows of watching your child compete in sports. You love watching them play and succeed, and feel for them when they come up short and are disappointed. You not only grow closer in your relationship with your child, but you also encounter hundreds of other people along the way and make friendships that last forever, whether it is with other kids, parents, coaches.

I find the topic to be interesting and one that is not covered enough. The student-athletes deserve the attention, but sometimes the parents get lost in the shuffle. These are the ones that make it happen from the youth level on up. Parents ensure that their kids can play, the coaches help facilitate, and the students must hold up their end of the bargain.

For anyone that has not read this column, I’d highly suggest doing so. It was a moving piece that really resonated with me, and I am not a parent.

I guess this also leads me to sharing some personal news, but my wife and I are expecting our first child in June. I have told the people around me that I have spoken to but have yet to reveal it in my column, so here it is. We are having a boy and are looking forward to it every second of the day.

Reading Finn’s column made me even more excited. My boy will be a few years away from hitting the field, but I feel blessed that my life as a sports dad is just beginning, and I am thrilled to know that I will be experiencing all of those feelings that Finn touched on.

Moving forward, I will absolutely keep this topic in mind in my coverage. I think that it is important to give parents their due and I feel like it could open the door for some great content, especially at the end of the school year when the seniors are wrapping things up. There is nothing like a family story in the sport world, and Finn’s column was a terrific piece with some great insight. Definitely worth a read.

Now that spring sports are finally underway, I can start giving you some takes and opinions. My first one has to do with Toll Gate sophomore lacrosse player Adeline Areson.

As a freshman, Areson was an impact player in both basketball and lacrosse. It was clear right off the bat that the Titans had a special player that they would be able to build around in each sport.

This past winter, Areson broke out in basketball and became arguably the top player in Division III and one of the premier athletes in the state. She played multiple positions for Toll Gate and flat out carried the Titans for portions of the winter.

Last weekend, Toll Gate traveled to Cranston Stadium to participate in the lacrosse Injury Fund contests, and my biggest takeaway was how dominant she was again.

Every few years, you’ll see a high schooler who just stands out. You can’t explain why, or how, but you know a special talent when you see it. That is how Areson appeared on Saturday afternoon.

It was an exhibition, but when Areson had the ball, there was no stopping her. She always found a way to the cage and always got a shot off. When playing defense, she was always in the right place at the right time, she was vocal and communicating, it was hard to miss her.

It was really impressive to see the jump she took on the basketball court this winter and it looks like she is on track to do the same thing on the lacrosse field. It’s staggering seeing a player be so dominant, but then to realize that she is only a sophomore was insane.

Areson is a special talent whose ceiling is incredibly high. When she hits her peak, the state will be in for something special that only comes around every so often. Toll Gate will be right back in the mix this spring as well, much thanks to her.

Lastly, I will give you my Boston Red Sox outlook for the season as things get started this week.

The Sox had a solid campaign in 2021, reaching the playoffs and making it to the ALCS. All things considered, I believe that the team is about the same as it was last year and will have  similar results.

In terms of the lineup, Boston’s is elite. Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, JD Martinez, Trevor Story, that is a ton of firepower. The Red Sox should easily be a top-five offensive unit this year.

Like last year though, I have some serious concerns about the team’s pitching both in terms of the starting rotation and bullpen.

Chris Sale is out for the first two months, and he did not appear to be fully rejuvenated when he returned from Tommy John surgery last summer. From there, your only sure thing is Nathan Eovaldi, and even he is more of a middle-of-the-rotation type of guy. Like last year, it also seems like the bullpen will be organized on the fly with no real hierarchy.

Due to the team’s fantastic lineup, it will always have a chance to win and should be a top-five team in the American League. However, there are just too many factors for me to say anything more. I think a playoff appearance is in the cards, but from there, their chances are modest at best if you ask me.

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