Like it or not, it’s time to focus on the fall

It began with thunder, lightning and the downpour of downpours.

It ended with silver lightning striking for the second straight year.

Let’s face it, the Summer of 2017 is over. This week’s start of the regular high school sports season with soccer, golf, and soon field hockey underway marks the end. The high school football season starts on Friday night Sept. 1. Students are back to school in some spots, and will be in a matter of days in others. Labor Day? That’s just another day on the calendar now. Summer ends around here at least a week before that.

So here we are, yours truly ranking his top five local events of the summah:

No. 1, of course, is the Nashua Silver Knights Futures Collegiate League championship. So unexpected. They took us through Portsmouth, then to Pittsfield (Mass.), then to Bristol (Conn.), a stop in Worcester and finally ending it all in glory at Holman Stadium. We’ve already gone over all the events, but the night the Silver Knights clinched will go down as one of Holman’s Top 10 of all-time events. Who would have thought such a ho-hum season – the team did not have a single walk-off win at Holman, believe it or not – would produce such an epic, memorable moment in the second week in August.

No. 2? It has to be Team USA vs. Japan. That, too will be an historic moment, such a rich cultural event on July 17. But here’s the thing that stood out to yours truly with another crowd of well over 2,000: Unlike Silver Knights games, during which fans are all over the stadium – in concession lines, walking the concourse, in the Kids Area – the fans at this game were glued to their seats. They came to see top-notch baseball, intrigued by the international flavor, and it was such a huge success that it’s likely Team USA will return to Holman someday soon. At least it’s on their list of venues now. FCBL Commissioner Chris Hall deserves a thank you.

No. 3: It has to be the CHaD Game, with all of its rescheduling, downpours and lightning on a Friday that led to a sunny, sparkling finish on a Sunday. It’s how the summer basically started, with all the graduated local high school football players starting practice in Bedford on a Friday, and then a week later wondering what would be next as the heavens opened up at Saint Anselm College, along with lightning delays. The game suspended and resumed that Sunday, July 2.

But the most memorable moment to yours truly was old friend, former Milford coach Paul Lavigne, saying that game would be his last on a sideline. He hasn’t been an active high school coach for years, but he had been a mainstay for CHaD football almost since its inception in New Hampshire. A memorable weekend.

Fourth, how about the State Am in Keene at Bretwood that saw local Mike Martel win the title? But the biggest moment for yours truly was the second day of match play. Both Phil and James Pleat, the father-son duo, lost in just about identical fashion, but showed such true sportsmanship it was something to really remember. A very good lesson for young golfers – heck young athletes – everywhere.

Finally, the fifth? The American Legion Senior Tournament at Gill Stadium in Manchester. Merrimack hung tough but lost two tough ones and Nashua had a great tourney, falling short before the finals. But it’s memorable for another obscure moment – the announcement at the end of Merrimack’s elimination by Sweeney Post tht the next game on the tourney’s second day, Exeter vs. Laconia, was going to be a forfeit win for Laconia. Exeter couldn’t get enough players.

A sad moment for Legion ball, and you can bet there will be some type of change for 2018.

So long, Summer of 2017. It’s time for high school football and the New England Patriots to take over.

You can feel the temperatures dropping already.