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Moose (Antler) On the Loose

That’s myself, your humble blogger, pictured above with what I’d guess to be a 15-pound moose antler. It was loaned to me for a few hours by the Dartmouth College football team, and specifically head coach Buddy Teevens, who said he found it a few years back while hiking.

Knowing Teevens, “hiking” probably means sprinting past the tree line on his lunch break, but however he discovered the antler, he’s left it in the football lounge at Floren Varsity House as a conversation piece the last few years. Recruits or visitors immediately know they’re not at a city school like Columbia or Pennsylvania when they see this baby, which has a hollow ring when tapped and is wonderfully weathered and textured.

It’s somewhat rare to find a complete antler, so when my 9-year old son chose the moose for his third-grade animal project last month, I figured this one would make a great prop. Sure enough, the kids were fascinated by the antler today and we took it on to another classroom at the request of the teacher. A surprising number of the kids, I’d guess about 60 percent, said they had seen a moose in the flesh. Heck, I’ve lived here for more than 20 years during two stints and I’ve never gotten that chance.

The point of this post isn’t so much the antler, as how it was graciously loaned. Covering Dartmouth sports is something I take seriously and part of that assignment is writing about tough-to-swallow topics, but that doesn’t mean you don’t become amicable with those who work and play for the Big Green.

I recall sitting alongside women’s lacrosse coach Amy Patton in the freezing confines of West Lebanon’s Campion Rink a couple winters back. Our kids were in a learn-to-play hockey program and it gave us a nice link besides my coverage of her team. On the men’s lacrosse side, coach Andy Towers and I always honk and wave when one of us drives past the other one out walking or running in Norwich. Andy does the running, by the way.

Grounds crew leader Gordie “Honda” Barnes and I have known each other since he used to chase my school friends and I out of Leverone Field House during the 1980s. Equestrian coach Sally Batton gave my son riding lessons a few years ago and her daughter is my children’s babysitter. Football equipment manager Steve Ward, athletic trainer Mike Derosier and director of operations Joey McIntyre make long, cold afternoons on the practice field pass more quickly with their camaraderie.

It’s not easy to detail an athlete’s missteps or a team’s struggles in text and photos, but that’s part of my job. On the flip side, you can’t help but feel good when people who treat you well experience success and you can document that memorable part of their lives.

I’m grateful every day not only for my Valley News colleagues, but for the wonderful people I get to cover at Dartmouth. Yes, there are arguments and tiffs and misunderstandings, but I love my beat and the vast majority of the folks who comprise it.