May 24, 2020

Star runner doesn’t like the spotlight

I know it’s going to happen again Saturday at the Penobscot Valley Conference Cross Country Championships. The way the kid’s been running, it’s inevitable, really. And again it will be a schizophrenic experience of pain and pleasure.

If he runs as he has and conquers the field, I’ll approach him as always and smile – at his performance, his drive, and at what I know is coming.

He’ll smile back, then that faint, brief show of displeasure will surface and be gone.

It’s not that he doesn’t want people to know he has run well. Or that he doesn’t want the news to infiltrate the media so college coaches can learn of his recent, rapid progress. It’s not that he’s shy or soft-spoken.

Parker Pruett is just a giving kind of runner.

Pruett wants the success he has had as Sumner’s premier runner over the past year, but it’s clear he would rather be rid of the spotlight.

I noticed his subtle disdain first at the Maine Distance Festival last spring when I interviewed Pruett after he captured the high school boys mile.

After a conversation during which Pruett described in wonderful detail his training, his heart monitor, and his adventure at the Junior Nationals where he placed seventh in the steeplechase, he stood up and directed me to one of his teammates, who hadn’t even finished in the top three that day. Actually, the young man had barely trained for the meet.

Nonetheless, Pruett orchestrated an interview between me and the runner. Then he was gone.

Pruett’s desire to redirect me to his team showed again at the Pendale Invitational at Hampden last week. When I finished interviewing Pruett and asked him to point me toward his winning team’s second and third men, he was as loud and commanding as an NFL coach.

Screaming across the field, he called his teammates, waved them over, handled introductions, provided stats on each, waited for me to take over. Then he was gone.

So when the inevitable interview comes again, I’ll anticipate and agonize a little over Pruett’s subconscious cringe and desire to escape. And I’ll smile despite myself.

– Deirdre Fleming, BDN

Expanding Maine’s moose hunt from 1,500 to 2,000, as recently proposed by a sportsmen’s group, is a poor idea.

The Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine says the bigger hunt will not hurt the state’s herd, which is estimated to be about 25,000.

Expanding the hunt again, however, is a dangerous precedent and may make Maine voters wonder if sportsmen will keep pushing for a bigger and bigger hunt until the herd will actually be damaged.

From 1982 to 1993, the state issued 1,000 permits for the moose hunt. In 1994, lawmakers increased the number of permits from 1,000 to 1,500 over a three-year period.

Sportsmen seem to be getting a bit too greedy as they push for another increase. The hunt works in its present form. It is handled professionally and it was a wise move to bring it back.

The late Bud Leavitt, a former executive sports editor of the NEWS and longtime outdoors writer, was upset when the state expanded the hunt from 1,000 to 1,500.

Bud, never hesitant to express his opinion on controversial matters, was an advocate of the original hunt and felt the state was seeking to expand the hunt so it could get more funds for its wildlife department.

“We students of the babble attendant to fisheries and wildlife management, see behind the obvious – the matter of hard cash,” he wrote.

He also felt that the state was breaking a pact with the voters because there was a promise made that the state would not ask to increase the kill if the hunt received voter approval.

Bud certainly must be stirring a bit now.

– Joe McLaughlin, BDN

Readers may submit “Sounding Off” comments to the Bangor Daily News’ Sports Desk at P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402-1329. Our fax number is (207) 990-8092. All comments will be edited for accuracy, clarity, content, and taste.

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