GREENFIELD — Greenfield Recorder Sports activities Editor Jeff Lajoie has been named one in every of this 12 months’s recipients of the Joao Rodrigues Distinguished Service Award, which acknowledges a person’s dedication and dedication to interscholastic athletics in Massachusetts.
“I believe it’s been a very attempting 12 months for protecting sports activities and speaking about sports activities day-after-day,” stated Lajoie, referencing the affect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on athletics. “The spring season was straight up canceled; the autumn season, there have been only some sports activities that ended up being performed. I believe attempting to maintain tabs on all that, and speaking to folks to attempt to preserve a sports activities part considerably vibrant all through a pandemic — it’s all the time good to have folks acknowledge that.”
Every year, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Affiliation (MIAA) acknowledges a person from every of the state’s eight athletic districts who has volunteered their providers to the faculties and communities of their districts, in keeping with MIAA and the Massachusetts Secondary Colleges Athletic Administrators’ Affiliation (MSSADA). This particular person isn’t a paid member of teaching employees, however slightly somebody who has had “longstanding involvement” with highschool actions on the native stage.
The award is known as for Joao Rodrigues, a longtime athletic director of Outdated Rochester Regional Excessive Faculty in Mattapoisett, who died in 2001.
Lajoie — the recipient for District F, or the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Convention, which incorporates faculties in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties — stated he was nominated by native athletic administrators.
“The (athletic administrators) are the … folks I work together with just about day-after-day and need to cope with frequently,” he stated. “So for them to even consider my identify, or have that be one thing that was even in consideration, was fairly cool.”
Talking on behalf of different space athletic administrators, Joe Gamache, athletic director for Franklin County Technical Faculty, stated the native athletics packages admire the period of time Lajoie places into protecting not simply native highschool sports activities, however youth athletics, too.
“We actually admire his dedication to creating certain the children get satisfactory media protection on this space,” Gamache stated. “I do know a whole lot of households admire it as nicely once they get to learn their children’ names within the paper for sports activities accolades and so forth.”
Gamache stated Lajoie not solely takes the time to honor the achievements of the scholars on the sphere or on the courtroom, but in addition acknowledges their accomplishes off of it.
“We positively admire all of the newspaper does — and Jeff does, particularly — to assist promote youth sports activities and highschool sports activities,” he stated.
Joan Livingston, the Recorder’s editor-in-chief, stated she is happy that Lajoie’s dedication to protecting native sports activities has been acknowledged by MSSADA with the Joao Rodrigues Distinguished Service Award.
Livingston famous Lajoie needed to adapt when the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly modified the native sports activities scene, resulting in the cancellation of highschool video games, out of doors recreation and particular occasions comparable to street races. Additionally, she stated, his workload elevated after the Recorder laid off its two sports activities reporters.
“Jeff single-handedly stored our native sports activities protection going by doing the reporting and writing himself, and on Sundays, laying out the pages,” Livingston stated. “And, typical of Jeff, he did it with out a grievance. We’re lucky to have him on the Recorder’s editorial crew.”
In response to the “evolving nature” of sports activities this 12 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant the cancellation of spring sports activities in March, Lajoie did a full-page unfold for the seniors of every college who wouldn’t get to play of their closing season. It was one thing to “assist make the children really feel appreciated,” he stated.
With the modified return of highschool sports activities, plus winter recreation, Livingston stated the Recorder introduced again sports activities reporter Tom Johnston, increasing the Recorder’s native sports activities protection underneath Lajoie’s management.
Mary Byrne might be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne