Monthly Archives: March 2020

Thoughts on Katherine Quigley’s interview in today’s Newburyport Daily News

Losing is not easy.

Immediately after a tournament loss at Lowell High School I asked the losing coach for, “her take on what had happened.” She replied, “We lost,” and then gave me a look which suggested that my next question could well be the last question I ever asked!

The coronavirus has made “losers” out of all of us.

We’ve had 2+ weeks to settle into the new reality and many of us haven’t settled well.

We’re missing people and we’re missing things.

The hardest part about all this is that the end of it is totally uncertain. Therefore, putting dates on events like the senior prom, graduation, or a field trip to somewhere is foolish. Why make “promises” under these conditions? Yet the MIAA insists on doing just that by making post-CV scheduling plans. Shame on them IMO.

Katherine Quigley

The first question we ask those who are away from us these days is, “How are you doing?” Everyone has an answer and a story. Katherine Quigley of Triton responded to that question in today’s Newburyport Daily News.

It was good to see that Katherine can see the Big Picture despite all the interruptions she’s facing. “I do understand,” she said, “that the world is in a pandemic and losing these things to save lives and ‘flatten the curve’ is worth it.”

Filling an uncertain amount of time while being housebound is not easy. We’re used to time constraints. Things having a beginning and an end. What pressure do I have to get anything done when the next day I’m in the same setup?

But these are times when some folks separate themselves from the rest of us. They find something to do on their own. They get themselves engaged with a task of their own choosing and busy themselves doing it. They’re not bored. They’re not stagnant. And the time goes by productively. Easy for me to write!

I trust that the teenagers interviewed by the NDN will realize that though their lives are roughed up, it is even more of a troubling time for the adults in their lives. I can’t imagine how parents are coping all these days with school-aged kids at home.

When the school bus finally shows up at the end of the CV, the kids will run to get on the bus and the parents will not try to slow them down!

Nice to see that Katherine is staying positive with the underclassmen on the softball team. Older siblings can make a difference at home.

I have seen Katherine pitch a lot of games. She is very good at it and committed to it. She’s also way too polite when interviewed afterward! I trust/pray that the CV will end and that Katherine and the rest of us will get our away-from-home lives back again. I would also ask Katherine to take good care of a couple of my former students in the meantime that are also known as her parents.

 

 

 

 

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Schools will not reopen

Schools will not reopen

Churches will not reopen.

Restaurants will not reopen.

Someone has to say it. This is our future.

Unless, of course, social distancing ends. And what are the chances of that happening?

In half a month, social distancing has gone from being considered a joke to now being close to a law.

I leave my house to go for a walk and see my neighbors keeping away from me, crossing the street to avoid being close to me.

There’s something in me that wants to be cavalier and return to the way things were. To take my chances.

I was working in close quarters with kids. I was attending church several times a week. I was occasionally eating out. But now each of those activities could prove fatal. I may not be afraid myself, but would I want to be responsible for bringing a fatal disease onto someone else? Definitely not.

And so, I optimistically cooperate, but after nearly two weeks, I see no end in sight.

I try to imagine what would have to be true for parents to feel comfortable enough to send their children back into the intimacy of a public/private school. Wouldn’t the fear of getting the virus have to end? How close is that? Each day there are stories and numbers shouting that there is no control.

Nice picture today in the Newburyport Daily News of the Rail Trail. Dogs and families were out of the house, getting some exercise and fresh air. Except that the story that went with the picture was that the mayor of Newburyport was threatening to close the Rail Trail because the social distancing rules weren’t being followed.

Hampton Beach is now closed to the public for the same reason.

Things are not trending away from social distancing. Just the opposite, so it seems.

Yet we’re supposed to believe that schools/churches/restaurants will reopen on a certain date in the near future? Are you naivete enough to believe that we are now capable of putting a date on when this crisis ends?

We must get the virus under control, and so far it hasn’t happened. There appears to be treatment available for most of the afflicted but not a means to prevent folks from being afflicted.

Promising reopening dates based on where we currently are is pure folly.

My advice: Pray for a miracle but also prepare for a very long haul.

 

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Lenovo Yoga C740 – Camera trouble fixed – Skype works

Are you having trouble using Skype on your new Lenovo Yoga C740?

I’ve been there and just gotten away from “being there!”

I tried to make Skype work yesterday. I could see the other party and hear the other party. They couldn’t see me.

Lenovo provides NO manual. They seem to make the false assumption that we can figure out things on our own. Sometimes we can. Other times? Not so much. We get frustrated with them and it goes from there.

I did not have any reason to even wonder about the camera part of my computer because I hadn’t used it. However, yesterday morning I was invited to a Zoom conference meeting online. It didn’t go well. I had trouble with the audio and the video, and it wasn’t the best of experiences for me.

I knew that Skype used both audio/video via the computer. I figured that if I could get Skype to work, then my next Zoom conference online would have a better chance to work properly too.

A relative of mine did me a favor and installed Skype on their computer. I tried to Skype to them. Didn’t go well. We could hear each other, and I could see them, BUT they couldn’t see me.

Obviously, something was wrong with the part of the computer that pictures me.

I have pictured what was attached to the top of my computer. It sure looked to me as if it had something to do with the camera. But without a manual I didn’t realize that what I was seeing was NOT supposed to be permanently attached to the top of the computer. IT WAS A STICKER!

I removed the sticker and underneath it was the “eye” of the camera. Above that “eye” I found a very small lever. It can be moved, and it closes off the “eye” of the camera.

With that sticker off, I was able to connect to my relative and have the video working just fine.

Quite embarrassing that it took me so long to figure out that what I saw at the top of the Lenovo Yoga C740 was a sticker and only needed to be removed to make the camera work.

If you’re reading this, please make sure the sticker I pictured is removed from your computer. Skype works a whole lot better when it is!

 

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Are you worried about the rising coronavirus cases and deaths?

Scared yet?

How can you help but not be!

Every day another set of numbers.

And every day those numbers include more deaths and more coronavirus cases.

It’s depressing. It’s discouraging.

What will it take to get those two numbers under control?

Avoid everyone?

Stay inside?

But for how long?

The upturning numbers won’t stop upturning.

Will it be days? Weeks? Or even months?

Who knows?

Let me offer some good news. Let me offer some hope. Some encouragement.

Those numbers we’ve been seeing may mean something positive.

I will now post some data. Please, don’t quit reading. There’s a positive to be found. Here’s the data:

March 8       22 deaths                541 cases                4.06%

March 9       26 deaths                704 cases                3.69%

March 10    30 deaths                 994 cases                3.01%

March 11     38 deaths                1295 cases                2.95%

March 12    42 deaths               1695 cases                2.52%

March 13    49 deaths               2247 cases                2.27%

March 14    57 deaths               2954 cases                1.93%

March 15    68 deaths               3680 cases                1.84%

If you look at the information, you’ll see that the deaths and the cases are indeed rising. As we’ve been told and told!

BUT then there’s the third number. That number is the percentage of fatalities on each day.

Are you seeing that this number is going DOWN?

More cases BUT less fatalities.

What’s going on there?

Could it be that on the early dates those being tested were mostly there because of symptoms?

Could it also be that, as the days passed, more people were tested because of their association despite having no symptoms?

Marcus Smart of the Celtics played a game against the Utah Jazz recently. Several days later, a Jazz player had symptoms and tested positive.

Then because of association, Marcus and the other Celtics were tested. They were tested without symptoms. Marcus tested positive. He was then quarantined and as far as I’ve heard has not exhibited any symptoms.

I’m guessing that the number of those likely to be tested because of association will increase. Some like, Marcus Smart, will not only be tested but will turn up positive without symptoms.

They will be on the case list but not on the fatality list.

What do the numbers suggest? The percentage of deaths from the coronavirus is declining. We need not panic over the cases/death total as long as the death percentage continues to decline.

 

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Why have there been so many coronavirus cases in Italy?

Why Italy?

Italy is second to China in reported coronavirus cases.

Why is that so?

I have seen reports that state that Italy has the oldest population in Europe. Therefore, it is implied, Italy’s population would be more susceptible  (lesser immune systems) to COVID-19 and get the virus easier.

That thinking seems to go like this: The virus was around, took note of Italy’s aging population, and went to work there. It was a random country choice. Countries with younger populations would be less vulnerable to an outbreak of the virus.

Makes sense but then the facts get in the way.

I saw information today that reveals a significant connection between Italy to China.

The northern part of Italy has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus. How is that area connected to China?

The fashion/garment industry is huge in that region. Think Prada & Gucci. China has long presented inexpensive manufacturing options to those businesses.

Some of the work for that industry has been done by Italian companies that have used inexpensive labor found mainly in Wuhan, China.

Chinese workers have also moved from China to northern Italy to work in the fashion/garment industry. There are an estimated 100,000 Chinese citizens working in Italian factories. More than 300,000 Chinese now live in Italy.

Until recently, end of January, there were direct flights from Italy to Wuhan.

I may not have this exactly right, but this looks to me like plenty of interaction between the area in China where the virus started and the place in Europe where it is the worst.

Portraying COVID-19 as a virus that randomly infects large areas out of nowhere may not be true. Cause and effect still are in play.

Certainly, we need to be careful and certainly we need to be wise.

Should northern Italy be under virtual house arrest? No question.

Should we? No longer as certain.

 

 

 

 

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St. Mary’s downs Rockland 53-37 to gain a D3 title shot

Maiya Bergdorf (13 points) was a key part in St. Mary’s strong second half

Lady Dogs close in on Nicolette D’Itria

(Boston MA) This one took a while to sort out.

Tied at 18-18 at halftime.

Rockland had size and had won sixteen straight.

St. Mary’s had a persistent defense and was capable of scoring seventy to eighty points.

Something had to give.

It was the Spartans (24-2) who turned things their way in the second half.

They continued to defend well and found a way to stoke their lackluster first-half offense.

Those ingredients led them to a 53-37 win in the D3 state semi-finals on Wednesday afternoon at the TD Garden.

St. Mary’s will face Hoosac Valley in a title game rematch from last season.

“Hoosac Valley is like UConn,” said St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall post-game, “they are there every year.”

Jannise Avelino and Julia Elie (14 points)

The Elie sisters, senior Caroline and sophomore Julia, carried the Lady Dogs in the first half combining for fifteen points. Rockland (22-3) was able to use their size advantages inside to turn lob passes into layups.

Rockland led 18-12 with 2 ½ minutes left in the second quarter.

St. Mary’s used Rockland’s scoreless time thereafter to get a shot-clock beating three (Gabby Torres) and a Yirsy Queliz steal that the freshman turned into an old-fashioned 3-point play.

“We were tied at halftime and our offense couldn’t have been much worse,” said Coach Newhall.

After two lead changes early in the second half, a pair of Maiya Bergdorf (13 points) free throws put St. Mary’s in front, 25-24, with 2 ½ minutes. They would never trail again.

Yirsy Queliz scores and draws a foul on Hannah Wyllie

“When #14 (Hannah Wyllie) was taken out because of foul trouble, we inserted Van Nguyen and went with four guards and Maiya (Bergdorf),” recalled Coach Newhall. The Spartans took off from there.

“We did a 4-1 to space out their bigs and open up the paint for Maiya,” explained senior Olivia Matela.

Defending the inside opened up outside shots for St. Mary’s. Defending the perimeter gave Maiya a chance to operate against a single defender.

“They had a lot of weapons,” said Rockland coach Diana Newcomb, “and they could bring them from wherever they wanted to.”

St. Mary’s pushed their lead to nine (38-29) after two Maiya free throws and a drive by Olivia Matela (nine points).

Olivia Matela (9 points)

The deal was sealed for the team from Lynn a minute later when Maiya and Olivia hit three’s on consecutive possessions. These triples raised the Spartans advantage to eleven (44-33) and there was no coming back for the Lady Dogs.

“Van (Nguyen) sparked the win,” said Coach Newhall. “She’s a role player who sat on the bench for 2 ½ quarters today. To contribute as she did under those circumstances was special. We matched her up against a forward defensively and put as much pressure as we could on the ball.”

Julia Elie (14 points) and Caroline Elie (12 points) paced Rockland.

St. Mary’s two losses were to teams (D1 Franklin & D4 Cathedral) that will also play for state titles in their next game.

You have to like St. Mary’s chances against Hoosac Valley in the title game. Why? Granted HV won that game last year but in December of this season, at HV, it was St. Mary’s 62, Hoosac Valley 32!

Gabby Torres and Caroline Elie (12 points)

Caroline Elie: “Since the beginning of the season we’ve grown tremendously on and off the court.”

Hannah Wyllie: “We would have wished for a better outcome but just to be here is a great thing.”

Olivia Matela: “We used the big court to our advantage. We play fast. The majority of our points are scored in transition.”

Maiya Bergdorf: “Coach (Newhall) kept encouraging me even when my shots weren’t falling. Players need to hear that.”

Coach Newhall: “We were here a year ago and our goal has been to get back to the state championship game again.”

Rockland coach Diana Newcomb

Coach Newcomb: “This is the best group to come through Rockland in twenty years. They won the South Shore League and reached the Eastern Mass finals.”

Twenty years ago, the RHS coach played for the Lady Dogs when they won the state title. “I was here for the Eastern Mass game. We beat Chelsea by a pretty good margin, and then won against Bromfield in the state championship game.”

Rockland box

St. Mary’s box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge if you click on them.)

Referee smiles as both coaches protest the same call

Caroline and Julie Elie leave the game

End of the game

Hannah Wyllie drives on Gabby Torres

Julia Elie breaks out

Julia Elie and Maiya Bergdorf

Nicolette D’Itria

St. Mary’s team post-game

St. Mary’s pre-game

Sydney Blaney covers Yirsy Queliz

Van Nguyen surrounded by Hannah Wyllie

Yirsy Queliz guarded by Hannah Wyllie

 

 

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Cathedral advances to D4 title game after 61-37 win over Matignon

Cathedral controlled the boards and ran for transition layups

Cathedral moves on to the D4 state championship game

Ariana Vanderhoop (17 points) looks to pass

(Boston MA) Matignon coach Joe DiSarcina had seen two of Cathedral’s games.

He knew what he was getting into.

“They have size, speed, outside shooting, and depth,” he said post-game.

The Panthers (18-2) showed glimpses of all those positives and took out the Warriors, 61-37, on Tuesday afternoon at the TD Garden.

With today’s D4 state semi-finals win, Cathedral will return to the state championship game.

The Panthers have been there before winning in 2016, 2017, and last year.

Matignon (20-2) was game and got off to a good start.

The Warriors had a sixteen-game win-streak in place and hadn’t lost this year. They played with confidence.

Kiara Ansley and Olivia Found (12 points)

Sophomore Olivia Found’s 3-pointer had Matignon ahead 7-4 after 3+ minutes of the first quarter.

Then Cathedral got its act together and ran off eleven unanswered points in 2 ½ minutes and suddenly had a 15-7 lead.

The team from Cambridge struggled to keep up and couldn’t catch up the rest of the way.

The Panthers had six miscues in the early going which explain their slow start.

“We made it hard for ourselves with our turnovers,” said Cathedral coach Clinton Lassiter. “Despite the turnovers, however, we were used to being here (TD Garden) and we survived.”

It was quickly obvious that Cathedral could run and would run at every opportunity.

Cathedral coach Clinton Lassiter

“Transition offense is our bread-and-butter,” said Coach Lassiter.

During the 11-point run, Cathedral had two inside scores from senior Mackenzie Daleba (18 points), plus fast break layups by Tayla Barros (12 points) and Ariana Vanderhoop (17 points). CeCe Gibson (7 points) finished the run of points with a three from the right side.

Cathedral pushed its lead to twelve (26-14) in the second quarter.

Cathedral’s Tayla Barros ended the first half with a jump shot. That basket was the start of another major Panthers’ run of points. This time it was twelve straight.

When the 12-point run ended, three minutes into the third quarter, the team from Boston was in command, 38-16.

All five Cathedral baskets to start the second half were on fast breaks. The Warriors missed shots and couldn’t get back on defense fast enough to prevent layups down the other end.

“When you’re fresh at the beginning, you can get back,” said Coach DiSarcina. “It’s a big court and we’re not deep.”

“We like to get out and run,” said Coach Lassiter. “We make sure we secure the ball and then we break out. We try to wear the other team down.”

Mackenzie Daleba (18 points) dominated in close at both ends

Cathedral was ready to go starting the second half.

“Anything can happen in the second half,” explained senior Ariana Vanderhoop afterwards. “We knew that they would come back with more energy and we had to push ours up too.”

Matignon did not go quietly. A long-range three from senior Emma Found (12 points) had Matignon within fourteen, 42-28, entering the final quarter.

A stretch followed with three fast-break layups in a span of just over a minute and Cathedral was back up by twenty (50-30) with six minutes remaining.

Benches were cleared over the final minutes which gave everyone in uniform the chance to be on this special court.

Mackenzie Daleba

Mackenzie Daleba wouldn’t tell me the name of the college she’s committed to. “I will reveal it after the season is over.” The revelation could happen after the championship game.

What’s not to like in Mackenzie’s skills? She can rebound. She turned rebounds into well placed outlet passes. She gets back on defense and can finish.

Mackenzie had one runner in the lane but everything else was from in close. I asked her if she had an outside game: “It’s more of taking what other teams give me. My shooting and my basketball IQ will have to be better at the next level.”

Coach DiSarcina: “Not many people gave us a chance against Fenway (D4 North finals). We’re glad about what we’ve done but if you’re satisfied with where you are then you’re not ready to make the next step.”

Coach Lassiter: “Defense leading to our transition offense is the key to our success.”

Cathedral’s two losses have been to D1 state finalist Franklin and to D3 semi-finalist St. Mary’s.

St. Mary’s plays Rockland tomorrow afternoon to see if they can reach the state championship game again. Hoosac is already in that game. St. Mary’s lost to Hoosac in the title game last year but faced them early in this season and won handily.

Jordan Fergus and Olivia Domingos battle for a rebound

Both Matignon and Cathedral are in the Catholic Central League. I’m not sure how you can be in the same league and NOT play each other during the regular season.

Cathedral has now won fifteen of their last sixteen games. They were 22-2 last season with a state title.

Sophomore Olivia Found matched her sister with a team-leading twelve points.

I always enjoy covering tournament games at the Garden. So many memories!

Cathedral box

Matignon box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Cathedral team

Matignon team

Matignon seniors

Tayla Barros heads to the basket

Riley Fallon blocks Kamille Benjamin

Olivia Found moves back from Mackenzie Daleba

Olivia Found and Ariana Vanderhoop

Olivia Found (12 points) on a break

Olivia Domingos, Emma Found, Dolores Carey-Marugo

Mackenzie Daleba (18 points) shoots from in close

Loose ball

Kiara Ansley

Kamille Benjamin guarded by Emma Gillis

Erica Hutchinson tries the lane

Emma Found (12 points) gets off a shot

CeCe Gibson and Emma Found

CeCe Gibson

Ball on the floor

Ariana Vanderhoop and Erica Hutchinson battle for a rebound

 

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