MIKE DIMAURO - RECENT COLUMNS

Catch the fever for high school football on Thanksgiving Eve Day

Published: August 17, 2019 | Mike DiMauro

Idle Thoughts, while waiting for the first day of school, AJ Dillon to win the Heisman and for Dr. I’s spin rate to match his exit velo.

The talent level is on the right track, thanks to people like Kareem Brown

Published: August 16, 2019 | Mike DiMauro

Ah, but there are some people — the few, the proud — who not only want to help, but actually do something about it.

Mitchell and New London need to keep working on this softball field issue

It’s too easy here to join in the choruses of apocalyptic growls masked as “here we go again” and “only in New London.” But not this time.

Sun players show some resolve in grinding out another win

It's a curious thing sometimes, this sports watching thing. We all have our teams. And if we watch them long enough, we can convince ourselves they'll never win another game.

Honest mistake results in Little League's death penalty

You are about to read a story about an innocent mistake, misapplied rules, a dad's heartbreak and administrative narrow-mindedness that ought to have state Little League officials embarrassed at their callousness.

Boxing's 'Gray Dogs' are as inspiring as they are lovable

There they are: Marco, Groucho, The Fox and The Doc, among others, taking out their frustrations on various punching bags.

Pressure is on Benedict to provide UConn football the tools to succeed

And so UConn took a major step toward become a de facto basketball-only school late last week, forking over a $17 million exit fee to leave the AAC, thus leaving the football program on purgatory's welcome mat.

For the sake of equity, Little League must rethink its sectional format

Let's play the Connecticut Little League baseball version of "Which doesn't belong and why?"

Sun are going to need a lot more from Jones down the stretch

A great many folks – 8,249 to be exact – left Mohegan Sun Arena happy Wednesday afternoon.

Honoring the life of Dick Donovan leads to reflective moment

Mr. Donovan, Dick — or "Gerry" as some knew him — was a fixture in the bleachers here in our corner of the world, watching his children, later his grandchildren, play all kinds of games in all kinds of sports.

Dr. I is back and he's got a lot on his mind

Best Dr. I can tell, former Waterford High great Kevin Johnson began the custom as far back as 2016. He called his Lancers “savages” after he hit a halfcourt shot to win a game.

Vincent will always be a Ledyard guy, even as he retires to Florida

Taking time to appreciate people and their contributions has gone the way of the bunt.

Rollie Pier, beloved, gave life to New London

And so our most unwitting comedian, fabled character and reflexive historian, the man who gave life to our city, has passed.

The underdog (UConn football) has a story to tell

Newport, R.I. — It is most counterintuitive to think such a thing. And yet there’s something almost mystical developing right now with UConn football — forgotten, but not gone until a few weeks ago — but now perhaps lovable underdogs all over...

Strecker's trying to drum up interest in football and dispel some myths

Example: A concussion is inevitable, if one decides to partake of high school football.

Taurasi was never as good as advertised ... she's been even better

Mohegan — The greatest women’s basketball player in the history of the world returned to where it began for her Friday night, Diana Taurasi back in Connecticut, now 20 years removed from the first time UConn fans learned of her — and her cachet. Hard to believe.

Trace Morales should be celebrated for showing that 'team' still matters

Here are three little words about a Mystic Little Leaguer who will forgo the chance of his young lifetime to remain with his team in pursuit of a District 10 championship that should restore some faith: Trace Morales stayed..

Change in pay structure catches many East Lyme assistants off guard

There's nothing else quite like learning that what you do just doesn't matter, a lesson several varsity assistant coaches at East Lyme High School discovered recently.

It's time to take your kid crabbin' ... and you won't regret it

It's time to meet one of the most fascinating gents here in our corner of the world: Gene Wasicki, the brains behind the upcoming third annual "Take Your Kid Crabbin'" on Sunday at McCook's Park.

Sun, after four straight losses, better start baring their fangs

Mohegan — A crowd of more than 8,000 showed up Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena. So did national television. And the home team was there, too, a week removed from a 43-point loss in Washington. You needn’t have been a founding member of The Optimists’ Club to think...

Phillips returns home to help inject some energy into downtown New London

Occasionally, serious people with serious motivations emerge among us, forgoing barren opinions about New London for energy and earnestness.

Sherry Adams has cooked up quite a following with her business

That’s what happens when one of your daughters, Alyssa Hancock, becomes one of the best players in the history of Waterford High. The poor mom becomes a postscript.

Next up for State U should be a makeover for the XL Center

How can we in good conscience go ga ga over UConn’s decision to declare itself a basketball school and leave the XL Center in its current condition?

I'll always have the indelible memory Bella Olsen left with me

Bella died last week in a single car crash in Rhode Island. She was 19. There are no words. But there sure are memories and an enduring lesson I’ll carry with me forever.

UConn football set up to fail by people who need to support it the most

UConn football is over. University leadership has signed the death certificate, now that headlines have emerged about State U's foray back into the Big East.

We're seeing more progress, and not just anecdotal, in women's sports

The facts are facts: men monopolize mainstream sports. This is used as prologue for some recent developments within the women's sports revolution that speak to progress. Not anecdotal progress, either.

Miller and friends lead a basketball revival in Norwich

Happily, Leonard Miller and his friends, despite some recent obstacles, care about their community too much to merely complain. They're doing something.

Griffin, making the most of his second chance, is giving back to New London

And this is the story of Dom Griffin, a former Whaler, class of 2008, who used rock bottom as a means not merely to rid himself of the figurative shovel, but to parlay his second chance into a happy life.

Volunteering at Jennings was just what Mr. Mike needed

This was Friday at Jennings School, which I like to call my new family. The last day. And so, all the administrators, teachers, staff (and me, the two-day-a-week cafeteria boy) are all out there waving as the kids embark on summer vacation.

Brayan Pena's story is one of hope, wonder and intrigue

If the Cuban government was watching that definitive day now 18 years ago, well, let's just say Brayan Pena wouldn't be managing the Connecticut Tigers today.

Rollins has found much to celebrate about our community of New London

New London — This is not an easy time to be a New Londoner. Sordid developments within the schools have turned the city otherwise so full of characters and spirit into a punchline — even nationally — evidenced by Cedric The Entertainer’s one-liners about the...

Jones defying her age (25) and playing like an old-school veteran

Jonquel Jones, 6-foot-6, is shaped like 6 o'clock, but the rest of her game screams prime time.

It was the perfect (and fitting) ending for the Spellmans

Fittingly, their last official act as a high school sports family came with the youngest sibling picking up his championship medal.

Dr. I: Jared and Maddie Burrows accomplished something special for Waterford

(A bonus high school state tournament edition of) Idle Thoughts, while waiting for the utter joy of summer: • Dr. Idle, Dr. I to his close friends, must begin today’s discussion with a shout-out to the Burrows family of Waterford. They accomplished something this...

With six teams in state finals, these are rewarding times for ECC

We are about to embark on a historic two days here in our corner of the world, the final championship weekend of high school sports in Connecticut that has unwittingly become an ECC-palooza.

Misto earned her inclusion as part of the city of green and gold

New London — In the pantheon of all the other certainties and realities about New Londoners, this one bats leadoff: Suspicious of all outsiders. Assimilation into the 06320 from beyond the borders does not happen without strict scrutiny. It’s like trying to sneak...

Tech schools are altering the integrity of state baseball tournaments

The state’s governing body of high school sports bears many responsibilities, yet none greater than establishing an equitable baseline for the games our kids play. And while many of us quibble with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s applications at times,...

It was a day of illumination and inspiration at Clark Lane

A whole bunch of kids at Clark Lane Middle School not only raised more than $20,000 for various local charities and programs, but combined the athletic, academic and social into a day of illumination and inspiration.

Ulrich's next stop is Newport and the New England Tennis Hall of Fame

Geoge Ulrich, the affable Director of Tennis at Lyme Shores Tennis and Conditioning Center since 1993, will be inducted into the New England Tennis Hall of Fame next month in Newport, R.I.

Alyssa Thomas fits in just fine in our corner of the world

All of which makes Alyssa Thomas the perfect fit for our corner of the world.

Milton's life is celebrated through two passions: motorcycles and sports

The 12th rendition of the Big Red Motorcyle Run will begin at noon next Sunday at Smokey O'Grady's in East Lyme, a tribute to the memory Cory Milton, a former football player at Fitch who died too young.

East Lyme-Waterford hits all the right notes, as usual, despite the horn blowers

East Lyme — This was Thursday night on the turfed lawn of Dick North Field, another in the allegory that is East Lyme vs. Waterford, another occasion to experience our best high school rivalry in this corner of the world get better with each rendition. This time: lacrosse. The...

With love and support from the Duggans, Skipper refuses to fail

Tuzar Skipper, a graduate of Norwich Free Academy, a product of unconditional love from a Norwich family, is the newest Pittsburgh Steeler.

Dr. I longs for a time before all these inane stats were used

Idle Thoughts, while waiting for more exit velo, Gio Urshela for MVP and for calmer days in New London:

Here's why high school baseball offenses have hit the wall

Parents, most of whom know less than they think, are more psycho than ever.

Actions, not words, are the only thing that matters

Recently, a friend of mine posed the following question: What do you really give a hoot about now in this part of your life ... and have other things fallen off the list?

Through karate, Szczesny has become a beacon for others with adaptive needs

We are all, indeed, good at something. It's just that finding it isn't always easy. Which is why it really does take a village.

How can Conn justify not hiring Tyson Wheeler as its basketball coach?

How fitting, indeed, that Connecticut College's perch, looking down on the rest of the city, continues to offer such geographical symmetry for an institution that continues to act above it all.

Our kids are caught in the middle again ... this time in East Lyme

Maybe adults just can't help themselves. Maybe we're somehow hard wired to use children as pawns. Maybe using children is easier and more convenient than having hard conversations and making hard decisions.

Players get to decide if Sun go from good to great in 2019

This is where we begin with the Connecticut Sun in 2019: at last season's ending.

Never hate the regret of not trying more than the failure

Seldom am I rendered speechless. Honestly, I nearly cried. It was among the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

Our favorite indoor village green won't be the same without Frankewicz

Bailey Frankewicz represents an unintended consequence of my career choice: the number of kids I've met who have become friends. I never saw this coming.

Lawsuit against Miller comes at a precarious time for Ollie

Kevin Ollie's latest swing at grandstanding — suing Glen and Yvonne Miller for slander — came one day after published reports said Raphael Chillious, the man Ollie hired to replace Miller, was "in the room" for the secretly-taped, July, 2017 meeting in a Las Vegas hotel room that led...

Whalers discover that patience and positivity really work

All these years later, Missy Parker's words, echoing the Law of Attraction, still resonate with her New London softball team, the one that has risen from consecutive 0-20 seasons not long ago to a state tourney bid this spring.

WNBA players act more as independent contractors than teammates

The developments of this past weekend suggest that WNBA players don't know how lucky they are.

Mt. Holyoke picked the wrong time and the wrong place to make a statement

News item: Several members of the Mt. Holyoke College women’s lacrosse team chose to kneel during the national anthem before last Saturday’s game at Coast Guard Academy.

At East Lyme, James has become the real McCoy

One look at him suggests East Lyme's James McCoy would have few problems commanding attention. Kind of a big kid. Looks like he could bench press a Subaru.

Let games be decided by humans ... it's the earthy thing to do

Technology has a burgeoning place in sports. Instant replays and stat casts are all the rage now. They're supposed to be more informative and improve accuracy, but I'm not sure if it's what is best for our games.

Stewart's injury creates unrealistic salary comparision

We as a society must be mindful that inequity exists and vigilant to protect against it. But inane rhetoric that's a byproduct of a knee-jerk reaction to an unfortunate injury gets us nowhere.

We could learn a thing or two from these Rhode Island folks

And now for Rhode Island’s latest bout with efficiency: Its governing body for high school athletics recently passed a rule change allowing coaches to work with their players out of season.

Successful night at Sun will benefit all future ECC games our kids play

News item: After all the bills were paid, the Eastern Connecticut Conference said it made $31,240 from its boys' basketball tournament at Mohegan Sun. That's roughly $18,000 more than it generated in 2018.

Virginia's greatest adversity fueled its greatest triumph

Virginia's national championship Monday night, the year-long rebound from humiliation to jubilation, is one of the greatest sports stories ever told. Because it had everything — and nothing — to do with sports.

Everybody else is finally catching up to the Huskies

The evolution of women’s basketball has become a counterintuitive illustration for the UConn Huskies, whose history is of legend, but whose present has become more delicate.

McGraw's words have people talking ... and that's a good thing

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw's words here at the Final Four this week have made people uncomfortable. She has people talking. She has already affected change.

We've heard the good ... and bad ... from Muffet in same week

And so once again, sports offer us a window into humanity, this time in that "men are from Mars; women are from Venus" sort of way.

This was the day UConn flew on Katie Lou's aching back

When it was over, Crystal Dangerfield leaped into Katie Lou Samuelson's arms, the kind of bounce and joy normally reserved for family members at the airport returning from overseas.

The season's turning gives us all a chance to change

We meet centrally, this time at Sliders in Middletown, about a sacrifice fly away from where I grew up.

Father-son chats have become a lost art

Not everybody gets this opportunity, what with busy lives and wavering spans of attention, to just sit and chat with dad. About this and that, growing up, sports and life, whatever dads and sons talk about.

The life and times of Casey Cochran are shipshape right now

And this is the story of Casey Cochran, a young man whose age, 25, belies the wisdom he’s gained and subsequent courage summoned to conquer mental health issues.

Time, it appears, was on NFA's side

Here we are, essentially at the end now of NFA's conflict, and at least three administrators, including head of school David Klein, have taught a seminar on how to use the statue of limitations to your fullest advantage.

If you think nobody wants to play in Buffalo, you don't know Jack

We know of good wings, the Bills and baby, it’s cold outside.

Can this Huskies team give old State U the pickup it really needs?

And so they turn now to the women of Storrs for a glimmer, a reason to trumpet the present, a reason to thump a few chests again around here.

The kids I write about, unwittingly, came to my rescue over the weekend

Last week was one of the worst of my life. And a group of high school athletes unwittingly helped me through it.

For the CIAC, it was another great weekend of fun at the Sun

Turns out that Mohegan Sun is the greatest blessing ever rendered upon high school sports in Connecticut. The annual state basketball championships get better with each rendition.

Yes, they did it again ... with a huge lift from 'Oak'

They did it again, the Lancers did, adding another banner to the crowded walls of the Francis X. Sweeney Fieldhouse. Waterford High, once the basketball punchline, is the state champion again.

Sometimes, in the spotlight of a major venue, we forget they're just kids

It was easy to forget this was a high school game. The greatest blessing of the state's high school sports revolution — increasing interest, awesome venues and seemingly higher stakes — is also its greatest curse.

Kenny Hill is on the top of the mountain, but has seen the bottom too

Kenny Hill: known to the community of Waterford as the point guard of the basketball team that goes for its second straight state championship this weekend at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Whalers' all-female coaching staff is proof that empowerment is real

Introducing New London head coach Holly Misto and the rest of the gang: Arianna Dolock, Missy Parker, Sue Beil and Danielle Ferraro. They are the lone team among the eight finalists to trumpet an all-female staff.

Waterford folks team up to keep their Hoelck Tournament alive

The 40th rendition of the Neil Hoelck Memorial Tournament hit every note at the Francis X. Sweeney Fieldhouse and the auxiliary gym up the hallway. Sixty-four teams, boys and girls of all ages and from surrounding towns, back to honor tradition.

It's time for rational rationale to fix CIAC's divisional inequities

After screaming about inequity in the state high school boys' basketball tournament (and all state high school sports) for years now — and dousing the CIAC in Frank's RedHot — we come today with a sack of Domino.

Band adds some pep to the New London experience

Whalerville has another hit on its hands, aside from girls' basketball, in pursuit of its third state title in six years. The pep band punctuates the home games with, you know, a certain peppiness.

Kudos to Montville for proposing to reinstate middle school sports

All levels of education are voyages of self-discovery. This is why middle school sports bear such significance, surely belying their frequent perch on so many budgetary chopping blocks.