Winter is nearing an end and now is the time to start looking towards brighter and sunnier days. However, the spirit of some people shine bright all year long. Take Isaac Lufkin. He is a Classical High School student who is the kicker for the freshman football team. In fact, he even helped to lead his team to an undefeated 2013 season and the freshman football state title. But what is most inspiring about Isaac is that he accomplished this without any arms. It was the way he was born, and it has not stopped him from living his life to the fullest – independently and without pity. Even the NFL took notice of this young man’s indomitable spirit. In response, they invited Isaac and his mom to a behind-the-scenes VIP experience at the Super Bowl. From walking onto the field, having a birds-eye-view of the stadium from a press box, which was adjacent to Kevin Costner, and a surprise visit from President Bill Clinton, Isaac had the experience of his life. He wants to play in the NFL, and based on what this young man has already accomplished and his extreme determination, it looks like the sky is the limit.
Regardless of what happens during the rest of their season, PC basketball coach Ed Cooley deserves our kudos for the remarkable season he and his team of overachievers have put together. The heart-stopping double overtime, one-point victory over Marquette ranks as one of the best games in years at the Dunk. Despite a team that rarely played more than seven players and survived the loss of three of its key players, one because of an injury, two because of off-court issues, the team ended up in fourth place in the new Big East despite being a pre-season pick for the bottom. In addition to the team’s competitiveness, the outstanding play of NBA superstar-to-be Bryce Cotton and Cooley’s own personal marketing skills and charisma, PC has been attracting sell-out crowds as the season draws to a close. Wonder what this talented man knows about economic development?
You don’t need another reminder that kids, on the whole, are much smarter than you. They understand technology with an intuition that you can only dream of, rattle off facts faster than you can say “hold on a second, let me think,” come up with remarkably inventive ways of getting pretty much everything they want. They can also, more than likely, completely decimate you at Scrabble. This month, hundreds of tiny geniuses descend on Hasbro for the 12th annual National School Scrabble Tournament, April 26-27. Kids from across the United States and Canada will compete for a $10,000 prize. You might not be able to play – and you probably have better ways to spend your weekend than being shamed by a 7th grader – but you can watch the tournament via an innovative live stream.
But, if you are up for a friendly challenge, Julian’s still has their informal Monday night Scrabble league. Just show up with a board, sit down at one of their designated tables, and wait for an opponent to bring his or her best double word score.
The quintessentially New England town of Stowe, Vermont may be a skiers paradise, but there are so many great things to do there, even when there is (blissfully) no snow on the ground. I recently spent a fall foliage weekend in Stowe, which was so picturesque and relaxing that on Monday morning when we were driving to work, my traveling companion and I both fantasized about turning our cars around and heading back to Vermont.
I was expecting Stowe to be a relatively sleepy town in the off-season, rich with scenery but not much else. It turns out my expectations were completely wrong: there is so much to do in the area, mostly involving food or drink. On the drive from the highway to our hotel, I was begging to stop every two minutes - for “the world’s best” cider donuts, at a distillery or gourmet cheese shop, at a farm-oriented general store. My willpower ran out at the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, where they offer tours, and there’s a “flavor graveyard” in remembrance of dearly departed flavors like Rainforest Crunch and White Russian.
We had to work off all of that Wayne’Swirled (a Saturday Night Live flavor mixing vanilla and caramel ice creams with a dark caramel swirl), so as soon as we checked into our hotel, we headed back out for a scenic hike.
Scratch that. We headed out for what I thought would be a pleasant, easy jaunt to Sterling Pond, but was actually a tough mile-plus up Smuggler’s Notch. Just past the pond - which, ok, fine, was beautiful, once my vision came back - is the trailhead for several ski runs on Mt. Mansfield. So yes, we hiked to a gorgeous pond. I just didn’t know we were hiking up an entire mountain to get to it.
Despite my best attempt to fall off the mountain on our descent (I wish I was kidding), we made it down. But I …