December 2, 2021 – Nashua, New Hampshire
Rivier University v Lasell University
I take this project probably too seriously. I have a long history of conceiving creative ideas, starting them, and fading down the stretch. I have an advice book 15,000 words deep and a novel I’ve started three times.
I have a feature documentary sitting 90% done that’s been sitting for five years. It’s a deep source of personal embarrassment even if it isn’t a major public thing.
And so with this project, I’ve made sure to invest fully into it. To quote one of my favorite TV characters, Mike Ehrmantraut, no half measures.
I knew it was going to take a long time to complete. As of now there’s roughly 110 or so colleges to get to in New England. I want to go full send and just run wild. Go 15, 20 a season and laser in on putting a bow on this.
But that’s not how my life has gone, and I think it would ruin the spirit of the project which, for me, is one of personal growth and learning about where I live.
And since I’ve started a lot has changed. Got married, bought a house, survived Covid, and now this:
This is Bella, our beautiful new coyote. Having her means I can’t run around New England with reckless abandon but it also means that I have a responsibility I desperately didn’t know I needed in my life.
I’m still on the grind, and I’ll still be at gyms. I’m super excited to keep growing personally and creatively through this project.
And once she’s more comfortable and better trained, you might even see Bella with me at a gym or two. She’s the people’s dog so come say hi.
The Good Eats
There’s a lot of small colleges in New England. One of my driving factors for school selection this season is to get to as many small schools as possible because who knows how many years some of these have left.
The UConns and Boston Colleges of the world will be fine, but small schools a bit off the beaten path? I don’t know. And while Rivier seems to have a solid future everything can change quick so I found myself peeling off Route 3 for my second stop in New Hampshire.
I rolled into Nashua at 6:15 for a game that started at seven. I didn’t have time to sit down and do the wine & dine. That was fine. I love a good meal, but I find most restaurants to be a bit bullshit.
I’d like to think I’m a pretty keen home cook and I can make a damn fine slab of salmon or steak in my own kitchen for far cheaper than a similar piece at a fancy eatery. If I’m going to go out I want to get something I can’t make at home. So I went to Main Street Gyro.
Main Street in Nashua is one of the most underrated food streets in New England. Restaurants everywhere in a city of 95,000 brings out the quality because only the good survive.
A small spot with the spirit of a hole in the wall, it’s exactly what you need when you’re hungry in a pinch.
I kept it simple and got their traditional pork gyro. It was pork off the rotisserie with tzatziki, onion, tomato, fries, and parsley on a fresh toasted pita. At a shade under $10, it’s cheaper than a fast food meal and far superior.
And it came in a paper bag so you know it’s legit.
Yes, it tasted as good as it looked. Down the road was a bougie tavern that brewed their own beer in house and had the dim lighting and “ambience” of a proper restaurant. I can promise, this gyro was better.
Having a new puppy in the house meant there was no time to have a big, expansive journey of the city even if it was a city I’d been familiar with almost my entire life.
I had my 11th birthday at a Nashua Pride game at Holman Stadium. The small 3,000-seat stadium was home to the first integrated team in baseball with the Don Newcombe/Roy Campaneall Nashua Dodgers of 1946.
There’s the football stadium and the high schools that I’d been covering games at for decades. There’s the bars and restaurants I’d had dinner and drinks with friends on and off over the years.
So I walked.
And walking around Main Street in Nashua gave me the opportunity to see the things I had always missed throughout the years. There were the long, wide sidewalks that were perfect for a stroll, and there was art. So much art just out there for people to see.
Every painting a chance to appreciate something new and for myself. Art is subjective. I can look at the painting of the woman in the wave and tell you that I felt that blue in bones. I don’t know what that means but it’s how the piece made me feel.
It was brief but it was lovely.
Rivier University sits at the far end of Main street, its entrance located on a rotary. A small Catholic school with a shade under 1,000 undergraduates, it’s a bit hidden despite being in a big city.
Walking around, it has all the trappings of a small New England college. Big brick buildings and a brand new science building along with some charming green spaces gives the campus a very un-urban feel despite being in such a large city.
Founded in 1933, Rivier was a women’s-only school until going co-ed in 1991.
The Muldoon Fitness Center is the hub of athletics at Rivier. Opened in 2011, Muldoon houses all the offices and training facilities for the athletic program.
The gym itself is small and cozy. Sitting just a few hundred people, every seat is on top of the action.
Once the game tipped the action immediately picked up as both teams found ways to score with ease. Buckets came easily as Lasell took a 22-21 lead after a quarter.
In the second, business stayed hot as both teams found ways to score inside and out.
The pace was blistering as it felt like neither team could miss.
Halftime came and it was Lasell 41-40 after 20 minutes and set up for a chaotic second half.
What made it even more exciting was having Lyric Grumblatt and Meg Carroll on the court. Grumblatt, a sophomore for Rivier, is currently second in all of Division III averaging 25.3 points a game. Carroll, a senior for Lasell, is currently seventh in the country with 23.2 points a game.
At halftime each had 11.
After the break, the game slowed down a bit but the energy remained. Buckets were traded early before Rivier opened a five-point lead in the third on the back of five points from Grumblatt.
But Lasell found a way to flip the script and turn the deficit into a 57-55 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Lasell kept fighting on to hold the lead but the Raiders would not go quietly into the New Hampshire night.
But the fourth was all about Carroll. The Lasers scored 16 points in the final quarter and Carroll put in 14 of them, including every field goal.
A Grumblatt layup in the final minute made it a three-point game. But with less than 20 second left Carroll showed once again why it was her night.
Lasell 72, Rivier 67. Final
Meg Carroll: 28 points, 15 rebounds.
Time of game: 1:37:24
There’s something nice about getting back to a familiar town. Nashua is a place that feels very in hand-in-glove to me. And this Rivier team looks to have a bright future ahead of it. If you’re ever passing through stop in and see a game. This team is worth it.
And, in honor of my new pup, here’s one for the road.