Blogs | Eric Benevides

A last look at seven good months from 2020

When November rolled into December and I took a glance at the final week of the year on my Vegas Golden Knights calendar in my office, I wrote a reminder to myself way back when on that page that I needed to wrap up my five Year in Review stories for our Dec. 30-31 editions, at least by Christmas Eve.

Had I looked at that page in April or May, I probably would have panicked because there weren't any sporting events to cover from March through June -- no thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But when I sat down during the first weekend of December to see what I had already compiled, I received a pleasant surprise.

Normally, each year, I will try to highlight the top seven stories to come out of North Providence and Pawtucket, as well as Top 10 lists from our Observer readership and the North Smithfield/Woonsocket area and a Top 20 list from Cumberland and Lincoln. Even with zero spring events taking place in the spring -- or during the month of December -- I was still able to reach my goal in each section. Heck, I had enough ammo to put together a Top 10 list in Pawtucket this year, which I've never done in my time as our sports editor. To paraphrase Mel Allen, "How 'bout that!?"

And imagine if we never had a pandemic? Obviously there were a lot of big sports stories waiting to take place this spring, as well as during the high school football and girls' volleyball seasons that didn't happen this fall. Instead of writing about the top 57 sports stories of the year, there's no question I would have easily had about 75-80. That would have been a record!

One more thing before I shift into 2021, I did miss one sports highlight from last year -- the Central Falls pushup challenge that was orchestrated by two North Providence natives, Central Falls High athletic director Anthony Ficocelli and head football coach Jeff Lapierre. When people were looking for something to accomplish and a way to stay active and competitive during the early weeks of the pandemic, this challenge caught the attention of not only northern Rhode Island, but the entire state and beyond.

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