I hope by the time you read this you have sufficiently gotten over all of the holiday madness, and that you're falling back into your normal schedule. I know I probably will not have, because it takes me a few weeks, by which time my birthday rolls around (it's Jan. 14, folks, if you want to send me something). If you can guess what age I'm going to be by the clues I've given in my past columns, I'll give you a shout out in my next edition).
Last time around, I gave you my first three wishes for the 2014 sports calendar, and said I was going to continue that list. Here are some other things I'd like to see over the next 365 days.
1. The Chesapeake (upper) Division in boys basketball sees a total dogfight for the top spot: I've said this before, but besides baseball, I don't know that there's another sport that has division races as consistently close as those in Chesapeake boys basketball. If I'm not mistaken, the last four years or so have seen the division decided in the last week of the regular season, and there always seems to be three or four teams with a legitimate shot at grabbing the title. Last year's race was marred at the very end by a rules violation and subsequent forfeiture of games (more on that shortly), but it was still terribly exciting to watch unfold. Edgewood came out on top of the pile after beating out Patterson Mill, Joppatowne and Aberdeen. I want to see more of that as the 2013-14 season rolls along.
2. No more ineligible player scandals: As I just mentioned, the boys basketball race in the Chesapeake Division was somewhat sullied at the end of the 2012-13 season when Aberdeen had to fork over all of its victories after the UCBAC found out the Eagles had used an ineligible player. I feel bad for dragging Aberdeen's name through the mud a year later, because the problem was handled quickly and correctly, but I do think it's important to bring this back up. The same thing happened, nearly to the day, a year earlier when Elkton boys basketball had been caught using an ineligible player and was forced to forfeit all its previous victories. And, the same thing has happened a handful of times in football over the last few seasons. I, and I think the rest of Harford County sports fans, wouldn't mind seeing this problem, and the fallout it produces, vanish from the scene.
3. A Harford softball team wins a state title: As with boys basketball, this is one of the sports I cover in which teams have gotten very close, but have failed to bring home the hardware during my time with The Aegis. C. Milton Wright seems to have the juice needed to go all the way every single season, but the Mustangs have run into a roadblock either in the state final, or the semifinals, each year. So, I'd simply like to see a local team break that drought. Easy enough, yeah?
4. Patterson Mill field hockey gets revenge: Don't' get me wrong. I pretty much want all Harford County teams to do well, because that makes for a better story, and that makes my job easier, or at least a bit more exciting. I don't have favorites, and I'm not biased toward any one team. With that said, it's been two times now that I've seen Patterson Mill lose the 1A state field hockey title game by a single goal. The Huskies were beaten in this year's final, 3-2, by North Carroll, and suffered a 1-0 loss to Pocomoke back in 2010. With the earlier game, Pocomoke was the better, more experienced team, but I honestly thought that the Huskies would top North Carroll. That didn't happen, obviously. I'd like to see Patterson Mill pull the same act the Aberdeen girls basketball team did: regroup after a tough state championship game loss and come back the next year to win it.