Wednesday, November 18, 2020

My Dad and Sports

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Ed. Note- This story was originally published in September 20th, 2019, but Joe has republished it so that it appears at the top of the website.

My dad passed away Thursday night.

We all grieve in different ways, and I think did all the usual things, but honestly, after a few hours, I just wanted to zone out and watch a bad football game.

Luckily, the Jags and Titans obliged me, but the game also reminded of all the sports memories I had with my father.

I remembered walking two miles from our parking spot to Super Bowl XXIX in Miami, and making him buy me an Arepa from a guy in a cart along the way. I remembered walking across a bridge in Pittsburgh with him when I was in 3rd grade, after we watched the Steelers win the AFC Championship, singing with a bunch of drunk dudes that the Steelers were finally going back to the Super Bowl.

I also remembered that I had this site, and that writing, though not my profession anymore, has always been cathartic. So, here we go...

My Dad was the Best/Worst Sports Fan

Maybe it's because he grew up poor in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, but my dad never really mentioned his youth sports heroes, and never took pro sports particularly seriously.

He was 19 when Bill Mazeroski homered in the bottom of the 9th to win the Pirates the World Series against the Yankees, but he never even mentioned to me if he watched or listened to the game, though he did have memories of my grandmother screaming when Bruno Sammartino was in trouble against some evil, non-Italian, wrestler.

Still, he would always talk fondly about the 1970s Steelers teams from his 30s, most notably his favorite players, Mel Blount and Donnie Shell, the latter of which he still couldn't believe wasn't in the Hall of Fame.

He also thought the Steelers should have permanently benched Terry Bradshaw for Joe Gilliam, so he definitely had some Hot Sports Takes™ in his day.

My dad is the reason I root for the Steelers. I was born in Pittsburgh, but we moved to South Florida when I was still a baby. I remember the Steel City as a tough, gritty, smoggy place, where we would go to visit my grandparents, and my dad would occasionally take me to see the Steelers or the Pirates play in the old Three Rivers Stadium, or the Penguins skate in the old Civic Center.

The city made me think of my parents as kids, and the toughness they had to have as the son and daughter of immigrants to make it in this country the way they did. I always liked that identity, though it was never really mine, so I pasted it onto Pittsburgh's pro sports teams.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

We Need Sports Things to Talk About, So Let's Gamble on Football (if there is football)

In the middle of a contract dispute with the Cowboys, surely nobody would bet on Dak Prescott to win the MVP, would they?
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

While there are certainly more important things happening now than a lack of sports, crawling along in a sports-less desert has made many fans thirsty for ANYTHING to argue about.

Look no further than ESPN's documentary series "The Last Dance," chronicling Michael Jordan's final season (and really, entire career) with the Chicago Bulls. A documentary like this would normally be very popular anyway, but it has absolutely taken over the sports social media world, and drawn millions of viewers each week.

Similarly, the WNBA and NFL Draft both had their best years, in terms of viewership, in their history, and several notable players have mainstream news made waves by changing squads during NFL free agency (maybe you've heard of that Brady guy?).

The dust has not totally settled, but with the draft complete, and the NFL seemingly intent on playing games without interruption, now seems like a perfect time to start some more debates and look at a few NFL futures bets.

Odds for the Super Bowl, MVP and division winners have been updated, and you can find all that information here, along with other NFL related news. There will be more updates up until NFL starts so take the current odds with a grain of salt. For the sake of this blog, I'm going to take a look at my favorite, and least favorite picks to win divisions, and the MVP.

So, which bets are my Stone Cold Locks of The Quarantine? Find out below.

Friday, April 24, 2020

If MIAA Stars Entered the NFL Draft: 2020 Edition

Two-time defending Division 1 state champion St. John's Prep is well represented in our MIAA/NFL Mock Draft.

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

With the NFL Draft officially up and running, SuiteSports is back with its annual MIAA/NFL Draft.

If you need to get caught up, you can find our 2017 MIAA/NFL Draft here, our 2018 edition here, and lastly our 2019 draft here.

A reminder of the rules for players being taken in our MIAA/NFL Draft:

1. The player must be a senior. I know college juniors (and redshirt sophomores) can be taken in the real NFL Draft, but that's not how our draft works.

2. The player can be headed to prep school next year. Since we don't include ISL or other Prep School players in our draft, guys who are finishing up their MIAA careers and graduating from an MIAA school get the chance to be drafted.

3. We're keeping our mock draft to two rounds this year, although we did throw in a simulated trade for the first time. Otherwise, the order is listed as it was heading into the first night of the NFL Draft.

4. We are not pretending our 2017, 2018, and 2019 MIAA/NFL Drafts actually happened. 

5. Any complaints? We're all ears. 

Anyways, without further ado, here is our 2020 MIAA/NFL Draft.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Senior Athletes Forced To Look Ahead

State championship celebrations will not come this spring.

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Just over two months ago, March 16th was still a day spring athletes had circled on their calendars. Now April 21st is one they will forever try and erase from their memories.

On Tuesday afternoon, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that schools - both public and private - would remain closed through the end of the school year as the state continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. While the MIAA has yet to formally release a statement, school closures present an end to the spring sports season before it even begins.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Matt Feld: 10 MIAA Athletes Who Have Stood Out Amongst The Rest

BC High's Will Bowen is one of the better pure athletes to come through the MIAA in recent years. A star on the football and lacrosse fields, Bowen is currently in his sophomore year at UNC.
By Matt Feld (@MattyFeld612)

Throughout my tenure as a high school sports writer - first with ESPN Boston, then as a member of SuiteSports and now still with the Boston Herald - I have had the honor of covering some of the top players to come through Massachusetts across all sports.

I've covered Division 1 athletes, McDonald's All-American nominees, Gatorade Player of the Year Award winners, hundreds of state champions, and potential future professional athletes. There's nothing more humbling as a sports writer than turning on ESPN or FOX and seeing a player you covered back in high school facing off against some of the top college programs in the country.

One of the more unique aspects of high school sports, particularly here in Massachusetts, is that the players who rise to the top may not always be the most talented. The stories that grab your heart strings or make you fall in love with the game do not necessarily involve players headed for future stardom, but those who are stars right there in the moment. They may never be the top player to come out of Massachusetts, but they may just be the top player to come out of their school.

High school athletes become unique in their own way. What draws coverage towards them may be talent, an innate ability to fill out the stat sheet, or sheer dominance. There are other reasons, however, why an athlete may see a community rally around them. Whether it be their competitiveness, candor, personality, or leadership, high school sports in Massachusetts allows players to rise to town-fame when they otherwise may be forgotten.

Over the last half decade I have had the chance to cover players who fit both these descriptions. Some players who stood out from the moment they stepped on a field as a freshman, and others who blossomed as seniors. 

Here are 10 MIAA Athletes over the course of the last five years I have had the pleasure of covering who stood out amongst the rest.