COLUMN: New name, same old column

For more than two decades, I wrote an annual end of the year column known as the “Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust Awards.” I think it is about time to retire that lengthy title.

It was nearly a decade before I have decided to revive the column to end 2018.

It was meant to take a humorous look at both the best, and the worst, of the world of sports from the previous 12 months. It was meant to put a smile on your face. I hope it accomplished that. I truly hope this new version does the same, especially in a year like 2020.

So, let’s have a little drum roll and reveal the new name!

OK, so I have not come up with a better one yet. So, for now, we will just take a look back at the year of COVID-19 and see if anything pops up.

I will continue to use most of the categories from before because they seem to have gotten the job done over the years. So, with no further ado, the envelopes please…



For some reason, Sports Illustrated and I are usually not on the same page. While I applaud their effort this year, it left me wondering if they could have done better. I like it being “The Activist Athlete.” I did not like it because they had five different covers with five different people. I think SI could have narrowed it down to a single person, or at the most, two. With that being said, I will go even further and name every student-athlete who has had to endure the obstacles laid out before them this season. You have done your best to stay positive and ready. Take a bow.



Edwardsburg continues to dominate this category. Last year, it was the Eddies’ football team. Edwardsburg retains the title as its volleyball team snapped a 28-year drought between regional championships. However, the celebration was short-lived as the Michigan High School Athletic Association paused the conclusion of the fall sports seasons. Volleyball remains on pause until at least Jan. 16.



The renewal of the Black & Blue Rivalry between Dowagiac and Niles was the runner-up in this category. After a 13-year break, the Chieftains and Vikings returned to the gridiron for the 103rd meeting. Dowagiac dominated the contest 20-0 before a few wait and cold faithful fans. Hopefully, the next meeting can be played before a full house as the pandemic will be under control.



This category’s honorable mention in this category does to the Dowagiac soccer team, which won its fourth consecutive district and regional championships last fall. The Chieftains were knocked out of the regional tournament for the second consecutive year by the state runner-up, Grand Rapids South Christian. Dowagiac set a school record by having five players earn All-State honors, including first-team selection Isaac Saavedra.



If not for a pandemic, the Michigan football team under the direction of Coach Jim Harbaugh would have been the repeat winner. However, the MHSAA having start-stop, restart, stop, eventually cancel, and then start and restart multiple sports seasons takes the prize. I was worried when the state decided to go ahead with fall sports that we would not be able to finish them all. My nightmare became a reality as the state had to pause the playoffs in volleyball, football and swimming and diving at the same point it had to stop boys and girls basketball and swimming last March.



Not every sport got to crown a champion this year. But here are some of the winners from 2020 — NBA: Los Angeles Lakers; NFL: Kansas City Chiefs; NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning; MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers; MLS: Columbus Crew; WNBA: Seattle Storm; NASCAR: Chase Elliott.



Here are some of those who died during 2020: Kobe Bryant, John Thompson, Phyllis George, Don Shula, Pat Dye, Gale Sayers, Paul Hornung, George Perles, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Diego Maradona, Joe Morgan, Al Kaline, Jim Kick, Lou Brock, Tom Dempsey, Johnny Majors, Wes Unseld and Willie Davis to name a few.


So, here I am at the end of my column, and I have yet to come up with a spiffy new name for it. Perhaps those of you who read my musings on a regular basis could lend a hand and send me your thoughts on a new title. Just email me at the address below.

Have a happy and safe New Year.


Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at



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