Last Thursday night, I, along with my brother and a few of our friends, made our second-annual trip to Bingham, Maine for the weekend to go white water rafting in the Kennebec River.
I was out of state with limited phone service, so I spent much of Sunday evening and Monday morning playing catch up on what I missed over the weekend in the RI sports world. I will still hit on a couple things in this column, but am going to start by reviewing my trip considering that is what I was up to over the weekend.
For those who have never white water rafted, I would highly suggest trying it.
I’ll be up front … it is not easy, and is certainly a work out on the body. I was still sore when I woke up on Monday morning.
However, although it can be intense at times, there is nothing like being on the river, surrounded by nothing but the woods and mountainous views. We lucked out with the weather, it was sunny and in the high 70’s while the water was in the low 70’s. Perfect.
Overall, I would say this trip was more successful than last year’s. The reason? Because unlike last year, I managed to stay in the raft throughout the duration of the half-day ride.
And no, I am not joking either.
Last year was our first year trying it out. After the day was finished last summer, I had to face the reality that I had underestimated what we were up against.
I figured it’d get a little bumpy along the way and that steering would be choppy at times. About five or so minutes into the trip, we hit an eddy which sent me flying into a backflip and underwater. Although it was a bit of a shock at first, it wasn’t all that bad and gave the group a laughing point to this day.
This year though, I was ready to perform at the highest of levels. I say that a bit sarcastically as I put in absolutely no added preparation, I just knew what I was in for.
This time around, the group was a bit sharper, knew the lay of the land (sort of) and I also had a better handle on how to balance myself in the raft to prevent being catapulted. We had some ugly moments, but overall did a better job this time around.
My brother is more of a thrill seeker than I am. The portion of the Kennebec that we rafted on was mostly class 3 rapids with some class 4 mixed in, and while walking off the river afterwards, he suggested that we try the Dead River next year which is classes 4 and 5. We haven’t made a decision yet, but I am a bit weary, admittedly. But hey, I have already been tossed out once, can it really get much worse?
To backpedal, white water rafting is a heck of a time. We spent about 3-4 hours on the river each time, and only about a third of it was rough. The rest of the time was somewhere between easy and moderate, and it was blast being surrounded by nature and getting a change of scenery.
I would definitely recommend trying it out, regardless of experience or athleticism. Sure, you have to have some level of coordination, but just about anyone can give it a go. I am already excited for year 3.
Here are a few things in RI that I missed and wanted to touch on.
First, Warwick North wrapped up its Jaxon Marocco tournament on Saturday, and Continental American topped North Smithfield for the win.
The Jaxon Marocco tournament honors the life of the late Marocco, who was less two years old when he passed away from Niemann-Pick disease, Type A. Since then, his parents Mike and Toni have been involved in various community initiatives and created a foundation in his honor.
This was the fourth-annual tournament, with all proceeds going toward the foundation, which is geared toward helping families who have children battling illness.
This year’s tournament also honored Bob Brodeur, who was part of WCA and a friend of the Marocco family. Brodeur passed away unexpectedly in March, and North had his son, Zachary, throw out the ceremonial first pitch last Monday.
During the summer, the focus is usually centered around the Little League All-Star tournaments. But, I feel like these tournaments are important as well and should be celebrated. Whether it be because of the charity aspect, or giving kids one last opportunity to hit the field, there is so much good that comes from these events. Congrats to all involved on another successful tournament and congrats to WCA on the win.
I also spent last Wednesday morning at Bishop Hendricken’s Green & Gold baseball camp. This camp hosts kids from RI, Mass and Connecticut, and has become one of the top summer baseball camps in the region. The Hawks provide top-notch instruction from coaches that played professional, collegiate and high school ball.
I don’t really have a take here … but I think this is one of the reasons why Hendricken baseball just won the state championship and has arguably the top program in the state’s history. They start from a young age, and expose local athletes to some of the best players and coaches in the country. Whether you are a Hendricken family or not, I would recommend this camp to any young ball player that is trying to learn the ropes and sharpen their skills.