Mullen it over

I was just thinking?
? The best news I read this week is probably the best news I have read in a very long time. Scientists at Johns Hopkins are crediting the Ice Bucket Challenge with helping to lead to a major breakthrough in ALS research. That is just amazing. A major breakthrough in less than a year. The campaign helped the ALS Association collect $115 million last year, a 4,100 percent increase in funding over the $2.8 million collected in 2013. Pete Frates and his family should be very proud.
? High school practices start on Monday. In June, football coaches made a proposal to the Mass. Interscholastic Athletic Association board of directors recommending the elimination of double sessions and limiting contact during preseason. The board ruled against the proposal and tabled further discussion until December, citing a lack of time to notify schools of any changes. (Huh? Two months? Ever heard of phone, email, text, Twitter, Facebook, fax machines, smoke signals, carrier pigeons?) Camps begin Monday with three days of conditioning. After that, coaches can hold double sessions. Just because the MIAA failed to institute changes doesn?t mean coaches can?t do it on their own.
? So now Tony Dungy is saying Peyton Manning thought the visitors? locker room at Gillette Stadium was bugged and would only talk strategy in a corridor outside the room. Hmm, maybe it was actually the corridor that was bugged and the Pats just wanted opponents worried about the locker room to force them out to the corridor. where the covert agents of the home team could listen in on the visitors? conversations. They probably had hidden video cameras, too, in case opponents decided to use hand signals. You know, just because you?re paranoid doesn?t mean people aren?t out to get you.
? A few weeks ago, I wrote in this space about a youth basketball team that was disqualified from a tournament for having a girl on the squad. The update to that: 10-year-old Kymora Johnson and her teammates were invited to play an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden as guests of the WNBA?s New York Liberty. Kymora, her teammates, and coaches wore T-shirts stating “Girls Don?t Sit on the Bench.” Can I get an “Amen”?
? I also wrote in this space a while back that if some people in the Red Sox hierarchy don?t lose their jobs after the past few seasons, then the organization would need to take a good, hard look at the way it does business. By firing Ben Cherington (yes, he was fired regardless of how the Sox want to spin it) and hiring Dave Dombrowski, the Sox did both. Since John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino and company took over the Sox in 2002, Dombrowski is the first major hire from outside the group that came in during that time.
? I expect that change in the Sox baseball ops department will be ? should be ? the first of a busy offseason and lots of change in the department.
? You may have noticed a new series called “I?m Game!” in the Item?s Sports section on Friday. I?m having my writers try out a new sport or activity and write about their experiences with it. Have a sport you?ve always wanted to try but needed a guinea pig for? Let me know.
? Tom Brady put on a clinic earlier this week in a joint practice with the Saints. How much will he play Saturday night in the Pats? second preseason game? He played just two series in the first preseason game. But that was just to show Roger Goodell he could.
? I got through another column without mentioning the “D-word.” Yay. (Does saying I didn?t mention it count as not mentioning it, or mentioning it?)
? Kudos to all those who volunteered their time to help local kids play sports and have fun this summer. Obviously too many to name here. But you can be sure your efforts were appreciated. I?m sure the kids will be remembering their coaches, instructors, and organizers many years from now. I know I still do.
? Labor Day is as late as possible this year so that means we get an e

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