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Come on, who's better than us?

By Mike DiMauro

Publication: The Day

Published October 24. 2013 4:00AM
Paul J. Bereswill/AP photo
Mystic's Matt Harvey of the Mets was one of the top pitchers in baseball this season and started the All-Star Game for the National League at Citi Field in New York.

And they call Boston the Hub of the Universe? Please. Has anybody seen what's going on around here lately?

Yeah. Here. As in our corner of the world. Not to wave the flag or anything, but we rock. Sports-wise, anyway. And so today we need to applaud ourselves. Maybe take the day off to celebrate. Because how many other areas of the world with similarly modest populations can trumpet the following:

We have a guy from East Lyme (John McDonald) in the World Series.

We have a guy from Mystic (Matt Harvey) who was the best pitcher in baseball for much of the summer.

We have graduate of New London High (Jordan Reed) who caught nine passes last Sunday for the Washington Redskins.

We have a guy from Montville (Jeremiah Crowley) who just set the state record for most rushing yards in a high school football game.

We have a guy in Ledyard (Bill Mignault) whose name resurfaced again last weekend when another high school football coach tied him for most wins in state history, further underscoring the significance of the achievement.

We have others, too.

But that's a pretty terrific fab five, no?

Again: context. Other outposts might yawn at this. But we are not a metropolis. And this isn't Texas, although we can claim a Houston (former East Lyme lacrosse player Lexi) and a Dallas (former New London football player Frankie). We are little old us. In the cosmic scheme, we are a Class S precinct. But with all these noteworthy people. We're a happening, per capita.

We should enjoy this. All of us. Think of the tentacles. Maybe you played with or against Johnny Mac, Harvey or Reed. Maybe Johnny Mac threw you out from the hole. Maybe Harvey struck you out. Reed ran past you. Maybe you coached them. Or your kid played with them. Maybe you are Facebook friends with them. Maybe you know their parents.

Maybe you coached against Mignault and knew "36 pitch" was coming and still couldn't stop it. Maybe you played for him. Maybe you have tried to tackle Crowley.

Maybe you are friendly with them. Or taught them, waited on them, fixed their cars, mowed their lawns, seen them around town.

They are us.

They come home and do regular people things. McDonald has been on high school football sidelines rooting on the kids. Matt Harvey comes to Mystic and goes fishing. Jordan Reed has a second family in New London, Tommie and Barbara Major, who opened their home to him. Crowley is still running at Montville, tougher than Ajax. Mignault's still coaching, now at Coast Guard, making sure to get home in time after Saturday games to take his wife, Pat, to church.

They are regular people who have done extraordinary things.

Regular people who do extraordinary things deserve the loudest cheers.

Regular people are the backbone of our communities. They're the best stories. Always will be.

I'm sure, however, that members of the Cold Water Committee will find fault with all this. That's what they do. You know: McDonald's not on the active roster. Harvey's hurt. Reed is from New Britain, not New London, which inevitably cues a Jack Cochran rant. Crowley broke the record against Stonington, not the San Diego Chargers, so it doesn't count. Mignault ran the same six plays and anybody could have won with those players.

Did I miss any?

But while you all go on being miserable, the rest of us should understand we're lucky to be living here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a sporting landscape that belies its population.

Congrats to everybody who has ever contributed to their success.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.

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