Thursday Thoughts: The language of Belichick is lost on many, and the first number that should be retired in Worcester hockey

Welcome to another edition of Thursday Thoughts. Lots of stuff took place this past week, but as I noted last week this blog is about sports, so that’s pretty much what I’ll be focusing on here. Now of course sometimes the political and sports worlds collide, and when that happens I think it’s fair game to say something on 210Sports if I want to. So to open, I want to briefly mention Patriots head coach Bill Belichick declining the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

It seems that some folks have taken issue with the wording in his statement saying that he wouldn’t be accepting the award. More specifically, the line that says “Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award”. They’re focusing on the phrase “the decision has been made”, and indicating that it wasn’t Belichick’s decision to decline the award, that instead it was his family or the Patriots telling him he couldn’t accept it.

Now for any other person, I’d say they’d have a legitimate argument. But, without sounding like I’m making excuses for anyone, that’s not how Belichick operates. In fact, that’s not even close to how things are done in the Belichick world. Anyone that follows the Patriots closely and is familiar with the tone Belichick sets with every single word that comes out of his mouth or is released to the media knows that Belichick never shines a light on himself, usually spreading the credit to those around him. Unless a reporter specifically asks a question that requires an “I” answer from Belichick, he generally avoids using that word in answers and press releases. Of course, someone could dig through hours of footage of him speaking or releases from the team and see him using the word “I”, but look at the tone and circumstances of those situations. Belichick constantly puts his family first and the concept of teamwork as 1A.

His statement about not accepting the award was classic Belichick and nothing else.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest folks will hopefully notice a couple changes to the column. The first one is in the college results section. Not that many people were clicking the links, but now instead of saying “here’s the boxscore” or the like it will instead be linked with the score. It flows better that way. The second is a new section after the local college results where I’ve added the upcoming Bruins and Celtics schedule. Once the Revolution and Red Sox start I’ll add them, and if I’m still doing this come October, the Patriots will make an appearance.

Local Collegiate Results
It was a busy Saturday for the team of Holy Cross, but only the Women’s basketball team came away with a victory as they defeated Army 80-46 at Christl Arena on the West Point campus. It was Maureen Magarity’s first win as head coach of the team, ironically coming at the expense of her father Dave, who coached the Black Knights. For the first time since a victory over Boston College on Nov. 13, 2019, the Crusaders had five players score in double digits. In the Men’s game, the Crusaders committed 22 turnovers in a 83-68 loss to the Black Nights Hart Center. Runs of 15-3 and 14-3 by Army twice put close scores out of reach. In Women’s hockey, four straight goals by Providence College gave them a 5-2 win over Holy Cross. Crusaders’ netminder Jada Brenon made 43 saves on the night, her second-highest total of the season.

On Sunday the basketball games switched locations, but it was the same result for the Holy Cross women as they handed Army their second loss in a row in a 62-41 win by the Crusaders at the Hart Center. Holy Cross forced more than 20 Army turnovers for the second consecutive game (22) after the Black Knights turned the ball over 25 times on Saturday. The Holy Cross men earned a split of their weekend series against Army with a 70-61 win over Army at Christl Arena. Senior guard Austin Butler posted his seventh career double-double, finishing with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Those 14 rebounds are the most by a Crusader in a single game this season.

Boston Teams This Week
Bruins @ New Jersey, 7pm
Orlando @ Celtics, 7:30pm
Bruins @ New Jersey, 1pm
New York @ Celtics, 1pm
Bruins, @ NY Islanders, 5pm
Celtics @ Philadelphia, 7pm

Worcester Hockey Alumni in ECHL
Friday Willie Raskob goal

Friday Nic Pierog goal

Friday Lane Schidl goal

Saturday Brodie Reid goal

Saturday Nic Pierog assist in OT

Saturday Eamon McAdam save

Saturday Nick Saracino assist

Sunday Ross Olsson fight

Retired Numbers
There isn’t a single person who has spent any amount of time in the city that doesn’t know who the “Worcester Six” are. The “W6” logo is emblazoned on many of the city’s fire trucks and on the Franklin Street fire station, located where the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company used to stand. That logo honors the six men who fell fighting that fire, Lieutenant Thomas Spencer, Firefighter Paul Brotherton, Firefighter Timothy Jackson, Firefighter Jeremiah Lucey, Firefighter James Lyons, and Firefighter Joseph McGuirk.

After the fire, there were calls for the Worcester IceCats to retire the number 6 in honor of those firefighters. The team didn’t, and instead had Peter Smrek, the player who was wearing the number at the time of the fire, add the W6 decal to his helmet. He wore it until he left the team. The WorSharks used number 6 throughout their stay in the city, as have the current Worcester Railers.

After the recent anniversary of the fire, there was still a smattering of people on social media saying the number should be retired. The WooSox, who have yet to play a game, have already announced that they will retire the number 6. I look at it as their way to join our community, and while I applaud their efforts I can’t help but think that they, along with many others, may be looking at the wrong number to honor by retiring it from use on their team.

The number they should be retiring is the number 1.

The city of Worcester, and in fact the whole county of Worcester, has had more than our share of first responders making the ultimate sacrifice to serve our community. Since that fateful December night in 1999 four other Worcester county firefighters have perished fighting fires: Firefighter Martin H McNamara of Lancaster in 2003, Firefighter Jon D. Davies Sr. (Worcester) in 2011, Firefighter Christopher Roy (Worcester) in 2018, and Lieutenant Jason Menard (Worcester) in 2019.

Since 1990 six police officers have also died in the line of duty: Police Officer Ronald Tarentino, Jr. (Auburn), Chief Robert J. Mortell (Paxton), Detective John D. Songy (Rutland), Patrolman Lawrence Jupin (Westminster), Sergeant Michael Towner (Worcester), and Police Officer Peter Kneeland (Worcester). None of these lists includes first responders who were injured in the line of duty and were forced to retire, nor are any who suffered debilitating illnesses from longtime exposure to toxic substances they came into contact with regularly performing their jobs.

They are the first to put themselves in harm’s way to protect us, and that is why we should honor them by not only retiring the number 1, but by also making it the first number retired in Worcester hockey history.

Stuff you may have missed from 210Sports this week
2020 NFL Divisional Round Schedule, TV, Announcers
Nothing But Shenanigans Podcast: The Shenanigans of nerd rage, and we’re guilty of it

Not so big finish
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