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BEST OF THE BUNCH: Grab your hat! It’s time to roll

BEST OF THE BUNCH: Grab your hat! It’s time to roll

reporter photo

MERIDEN — As the kids would say, “Give it up for ya boy, Erik Allison.”

Erik’s the Creative Director at the R-J. He’s the one who designed that logo you see at the top of the page.

That’s supposed to be me behind the podium.

Gotta say, it’s a fair caricature ...

Upon further review, it may be an improvement on the real thing. I do not possess a hat so cool and I haven’t had a haircut since March.

It’s a good bet you haven’t either.

That may the one and only upside to not staging the Record-Journal “Best of the Bunch” awards brunch this year.

It should come as no surprise to hear our event has been canceled. The coronavirus pandemic shut down the sports world in those frenzied days of mid-March and, in the weeks that followed, one athletic event after another was either postsponed for months or scrapped entirely.

March Madness, Major League Baseball, golf majors, the Triple Crown, the Olympics.

Like the CIAC, we hung on, waiting to see what could be salvaged of the spring high school season. By mid-April the lay of the land was clear, but who wanted to give up?

Not you, not us.

We crossed our fingers and, in the meantime, made a backup plan.

And now that the window has officially closed, we roll it out. There may have been no 2020 spring season and there will be no 2020 Record-Journal “Best of the Bunch” brunch but, dang it, there will be Record-Journal sports awards for the 2019-20 school year.

We’ve got a tradition to uphold.

And, most importantly — most important by a Wickham Park mile — you student-athletes, especially you seniors, have missed out on enough.

I know, you’ve heard that umpteen million times. You’ve heard it because it is so terribly true.

Yet if we are healthy and our friends and family, too, let us count our blessings.

And while we’re at it, let us add technology to the list. If we cannot gather at the Aqua Turf Club for real this June, let us do so virtually. We’ve all grown quite accomplished at that these past two months.

So write this down: On Thursday evening, June 18, we will be airing our “Best of the Bunch” awards show on our Facebook page starting at 6:30 p.m.

Cook up a nice meal, settle in, get comfortable, gather the folks around. 

We’ll name Athletes of the Year in all the fall and winter sports. There are 15 of those.

Three scholar-athletes will win scholarships courtesy of the Record-Journal and Bongiovanni Insurance and Financial, whom we are pleased to have back aboard as a sponsor along with Middlesex Community College.

There will be a Coach of the Year and a Team of the Year. One gritty individual will win the Perseverance Award.

And although the 2019-20 sports year was left incomplete, we will most definitely have an overall Male and Female Athlete of the Year.

There are at least three finalists in each category. Every day over the the next 3½ weeks we’ll unveil them sport by sport, in a story appearing online and in print. Just look for the logo.

Speaking of which, while that logo may say this year’s awards show is “Bryant Carpenter’s Best of the Bunch,” that’s not really true.

It’s yours.

It’s yours every year. Most especially this one, when some contenders realized youthful dreams and others with tremendous promise never got the chance thanks to a phenomenon not seen in a century.

History will tell the story, and so will we in our corner of the universe. 

You guys, you girls: you own that corner. Be you champion or no, you are always the stars of our show.