Forest Hills junior guard Parker Desjardins shoots during the Class D state championship game last season in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

Right now, I should be on Parker Desjardins watch.

A senior at Forest Hills High School in Jackman, Desjardins led his basketball team to undefeated, Class D state championship seasons in each of the last two years. Desjardins and the Tigers carry a 44-game win streak into whenever we play basketball games again, and will be among the favorites in Class D whenever we put gold balls on the line again.

Along with the team goals, Desjardins is approaching rarified air for Maine high school basketball. If this was a normal season, Desjardins would be closing in on 2,000 career points. By now we know there is nothing normal about this winter season, just like there was nothing normal about this past fall’s high school sports season, or last spring’s season, which did not get played at all.

So instead of updates from Forest Hills boys basketball coach Anthony Amero on Desjardins’ numbers, every day I get updates from Dr. Shah on Maine’s COVID-19 numbers. Like the rest of the state.

That’s what I think of when I consider Maine’s 2020 year in sports. I think of the stories I didn’t get to write.

Normally at this time of the year, the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal publishes a top 10 sports stories of the year package. It’s a look back at all the great moments in sports to hit central Maine. When things happen, like the Winthrop and Forest Hills boys basketball teams repeating as state champions, we start to wonder, where will that fit on the year-end list.

In 2020, there is only one story. The pandemic seeped into everything.

The Madison softball team celebrates after defeating Dexter in the 2019 Class C championship game in Brewer. The Bulldogs won back-to-back state titles but didn’t get to go for the three-peat this past spring. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

I’m immensely proud of the work my colleagues and I did in 2020. Sports stopped, for a while, but we did not. There was regular breaking news, and we were on top of it. New features like Everyday Athletes, Catching Up With, and Remember When were fun to write, and judging from the reaction to those stories and suggestions for more I received since they began this spring, you guys found them fun to read, too. Thank you.

Still, I think of the stories that will never happen.

No pitchers got the chance to flirt with a no hitter. Track and field records were unchallenged. Tennis courts and lacrosse fields were empty. In the fall, football was played, but not really.

We didn’t get to see if two of the state’s best high school quarterbacks, Wyatt Hathaway of Leavitt and Ryan Friend of Maine Central Institute, would lead their teams to a rematch in the Class C state championship game. We didn’t get to see if either would make a run at the Fitzpatrick Trophy. We didn’t get to see if the lineman who protect them would make the list of Gaziano Award finalists.

Colby College football coach Jack Cosgrove watches a drill during a practice in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

We didn’t get to see if the Colby College football team would win the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin trophy a third straight year. We didn’t get to see spring and fall sports champions crowned. We’ll never know if Augusta native Amy Vachon would have coached the University of Maine women’s basketball team to a third consecutive America East title and the trip to the NCAA tournament that comes with it.

Longtime Winslow High School football coach Mike Siviski retired quietly this summer, ending a 35-year run as the leader of the Black Raiders without getting a chance to go after one more Gold Ball.

We’ll get through this with vigilance and patience. In 2021, there will be stories to tell.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

 


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