By Eliot Schickler

Except for skiing, every winter sport is under way. Just like every year, I look forward to the winter sports season because its my favorite.

I like the winter so much because my two favorite high school sports, basketball and gymnastics, take place during this period. Another positive for the winter is that its more of a marathon and not a sprint, allowing everyone time to get into the season. This differs from all the fall sports, sans football, and the spring sports, in which those seasons are sprints and appear to end shortly after they commenced.

After a fall in which three amazing people, who made huge contributions to the world passed away at a young age, and bad breaks followed a few good breaks, the coming of the winter season is soothing and welcoming. Life isn't about who wins and who loses on an athletic field and court; it's more important for the universe to be in harmony than it is for one's team to win.

So far, the winter appears to be off to a harmonious start and things actually feel right with the world at all levels. I even feel like a different person with a new focus as well, which contributes to the new harmony of the winter sports season.

Covering athletes with heart is fun. Let's start with the Staples boys basketball team. Staples grabbed a historic win over Trinity Catholic on Friday, beating the Crusaders for the first time in at least 20 years, and won convincingly at Bridgeport Central (last year's FCIAC and Class LL champion and the top-ranked team in the state) on Tuesday. The Wrecker cagers are a fun group to cover and easy to root for, and with senior tri-captain lefty Gabe Seidman leading the way along with senior tri-captains Luke Yeager and Jake Felman, and vastly-improved junior Mike Argosh, I predict them to garner 15 regular-season victories. Speaking of Felman, he epitomizes what heart and hustle are about. As a 6-1 center, he won many battles for the rebound against opponents who are much taller. Yeager is one of the best guards in the league and Seidman can do everything and will be a worthy candidate for the Jewish Center for Community Services Scholastic All-Star game.

Another worthy candidate for the Jewish Center for Community Services All-Star game is Weston girls basketball senior tri-captain Christina Welsh. Welsh is deft in turning thievery into an art form as she had 23 steals in the last two games, 28 overall in three games. The Lady Trojans should also win 15 regular-season games with Welsh leading the way along with senior tri-captain swingman Hannah Hutchins, senior tri-captain defensive player extraordinaire Dakota Sloop and junior inside player Ellie Martin.

Covering the Staples girls and Weston boys basketball teams along with both gymnastics teams will also be worth savoring. Senior captain Nikki Brill is a tough player who is fun to watch and senior tri-captain MaryKate Van Sant brings a lot to the table for the Lady Wrecker cagers, as well as junior Remy Nolan. Providing Weston with energy are senior tri-captains Cole Rosemann and Justin Mettel and junior lefty point guard Max Molinsky. Two players who will make an impact for both basketball teams and will be fun to watch are Lady Wrecker sophomore point guard Erica Stein and Trojan junior power forward center Lyle Mitchell.

Another positive for the winter season are the cheerleading competitions, which I'm looking forward to cover.

The only drawback for the winter is the weather, which is unpredictable in this region. Four years ago, we had 70-degree days in January and here's hoping we'll have another tropical month. If we have that and all the things that have been working out continue to work out, this could be one of the best winters ever.

Last, but certainly not least, working with two coaches I hold in high regard, Staples girls basketball coach Ed Huydic and Lady Trojans gymnastics coach Salina Tavella, are two finer points of the winter sports season.

Let's hope this a positive and memorable winter season.