HEADLINES AND SIDELINES BY KEVIN ADSHADE
And another thing about sports in Pictou County: we can produce stellar athletes, and not just those who play hockey, or smash boxing opponents in the face, or who are very adept at judo or golf.
The Pictou County Athletics program finished second overall at the Atlantic championships, which were held last weekend in Dartmouth. They ran, jumped and threw things on their way to achieving such an impressive result, recording numerous first- and second-place finishes along the way (I counted 50 athletes and team officials in a team photo published in Wednesday's edition of The News).
Add to that, six county athletes are set to take part at Legion national track and field championships in B.C. next week. Most years, Pictou County sends a few young athletes to Legion nationals, so this is really nothing new, but it does further illustrate the idea that Pictou County is much more than hockey pucks and soccer balls when it comes to sporting success.
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Non-Sports Thought of the Week:
Me and a buddy took a rip across the Causeway last Thursday evening, to try this little pizza joint that recently opened up Lyons Brook. Good pizza, and thankfully they have the option of offering red sauce, not solely that brown sauce mud mixture.
We passed the pulp mill in Abercrombie, it's beautiful, belching pollutants dominating against a backdrop of clear blue summer sky.
"That's a pretty smell," I remarked, noting that while it was never a particularly pleasant odour on many days, the Abercrombie stink has noticeably increased over the past while, at least since the last time I got a close-up whiff of it. And now the clamour for someone to do something about it has really picked up steam.
I get that the loss of 200-plus good jobs down there would further stagger our local economy, which has gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson over the past several years; I get that the people who work there have bills to pay and kids to raise and they want to protect what is already theirs. I understand about the loss of hundreds of other spin-off jobs that would be in jeopardy were the pulp mill to close.
But man, if the people who run the pulp mill can't keep from poisoning the air and the populace, then some hard – and perhaps unpopular decisions – are going to have to be made. This is not just embarrassing, it's dangerous to the health of people who live and breathe in the vicinity of that mill.
Other Random Sports Thoughts
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1. Don't Hurry Back
NHL training camps are set to start in about a month's time, and if you're like me, you're probably thinking something like the following: "The NHL season just ended a few weeks ago. We don't need you back anytime soon. Stay away until November, and just because the sports networks can't shut up about hockey it doesn't mean that we have to have you around 10 months out of the year. We love you, but like, you hang around too much."
2. Good Glove, Decent Bat, Small Brain
Toronto Blue Jays infielder Brett Lawrie was just back this week after missing 36 games with a broken finger, and it was announced Thursday he'll miss another month or so after he strained his oblique, a large muscle that covers the rib cage (to be honest, I had to Google "oblique")
Lawrie isn't what you'd call baseball savvy (most obviously, he's a stupid baserunner, one of the dumbest I can remember seeing) but he's extremely valuable with his glove, and can do some things with his bat – although not often enough for my liking – so the injury doesn't help the Jays, who are still within hailing distance of the Baltimore Orioles, a team that lately has begun to widen their lead atop the American League East standings.
Injuries hit everybody and you have to find a way to deal with them, but with the dog days of August heating up, the loss of Lawrie wasn't good news for the Blue Jays.
Kevin Adshade is a sports columnist for The News.