By Don's Early Light

By Don’s Early Light: Stars Speak Out, and Young Athletes Should Take Notice

OK, boys and girls, today we are going to deviate a bit from our usual athletic chalk talk. Instead of the gymnasium, we are heading into the classroom for a discussion on civics. Specifically, we’re going to consider the need for highly visible athletic leaders to stand up and speak out on social and cultural issues that impact all of us. Now we may have covered this subject matter in past discussions, but the current state of affairs indicates, it wouldn’t hurt to repeat the

By Don’s Early Light: Shrine Game Survives, but Questions Remain

Lebanon — Game on! The 2015 Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl football game got the OK Tuesday night at the Shrine Board of Governor s meeting in Lebanon. The game is set for Aug. 1 and will be played at Castleton State College’s Spartan Stadium, with the game time to be determined. The game has been forced to take a one-year hiatus from Dartmouth College because of renovations to the Memorial Field stands. Both parties — Dartmouth and the Shriners — expect to resume their partnership

By Don’s Early Light: Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl ‘Not Dying’

Lebanon — Reports of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl’s demise in the wake of one Shrine temple’s apparent departure seem to be greatly exaggerated. Rick Ellis, president of the game’s board of directors, on Friday shot down concerns that a recent decision by the Concord-based Bektash Shriners to abandon their support of the 61-year-old fundraising high school all-star football game would mean the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl’s end. Ellis said Bektash made its intentions known to him late last month. “The game is not dying,”

Don Mahler: Time to Put Shrine Game in 21st Century

When it comes to the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl football game, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m here to tell you, things gotta change. After yet another New Hampshire blowout victory, the event finds itself in need of new ways to keep the game competitive, as well as profitable for the charity it so ably serves. So the first thing we need to look at is picking the teams. It has become apparent that the Shrine officials are not keen

By Don’s Early Light: What Goes Around, Comes Around for Boston

The standings don’t lie ... though they may be a tad misleading. The truth is the Red Sox were good last year, but not as good as they looked. And, yes, they’re bad this year, but perhaps not as bad as they seem. In fact, they are basically the same team. The team that no one picked to fulfill Ben Cherington’s dream last season fooled everyone. Rebounding from the horrors of Bobby Valentine’s 69-93 debacle, the Sox turned it around by 28 games — winning

By Don’s Early Light: Golf Event Benefits Family of Murder Victim

You could hear the hesitation in Bob LaFlam’s voice. “We don’t like to have to accept help from other people,” he said as he choked up. “It’s very humbling. It doesn’t come easy.” Then I got choked up. Nobody should have to go through what Bob LaFlam and his wife, Ann, have gone through. That kind of pain is almost too difficult to bear. To get a phone call that their daughter, 42-year-old Natalie Perriello, had been murdered by her husband, and they were needed

By Don’s Early Light: Army of One Protests Coach’s Departure

White River Junction — Paul Keane is fed up, and he’s not going to take it any more. The former Hartford High English teacher and current member of the School Board was so upset over the news of football coach Mike Stone’s resignation earlier this week that he took to the streets Friday to publicly show his displeasure. First Friday morning and then again later in the afternoon, Keane manned his post on the corner of Hartford Avenue and Maple Street in White River Junction

By Don’s Early Light: Hartford Football Coach is Leaving Home

Mike Stone is leaving home. The face of Hartford High football for more than a quarter-century, Stone is leaving his high school alma mater to start a new path he has yet to nail down. “I’m retiring from Hartford football; I’m retiring from my Hartford teaching job,” said Stone in a short phone interview Wednesday afternoon. While many in the Hartford football community and around the region had opinions on Stone’s future, the Hartford grad would not offer any indication. “Just say I am pursuing

By Don’s Early Light: Bowling for Respect in Hartford

Mark Hamilton looked out over the group Wednesday night, his eyes searching their concerned faces. “This is probably the first time many of you have seen each other since the lanes closed,” Hamilton said in his greeting. The crowd of nearly 50 bowlers and supporters sitting in the Hartford High cafeteria murmured their assent. Hamilton, the Hartford High bowling coach, welcomed them and thanked them for their support. Then, forcefully but quietly, simply but eloquently, Hamilton leaned over the lectern and summed up the situation:

Don Mahler: Apathy Not the Answer

It is the nature of the beast that a student-athlete can sometimes be viewed as living in a bubble. If an issue doesn’t affect the athlete, his or her team or school, then it probably has the life expectancy of a newly birthed Snapchat. But for just a moment I ask student-athletes to pop that bubble and reflect on the news of the day and understand that while there is no direct local connection, there is a critical connection we all need to make as