This is one of my favorite posts, from Thanksgiving 2008. It covers the reach of high school football on Thanksgiving and touches upon our men and women in the military overseas. This post goes out to all of our veterans and servicemen and women. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
The most poignant message came from a US soldier in Iraq, checking on his hometown team. After “Dan in Iraq” posted a message, another fan gratefully thanked him for his service. But Dan wanted to thank the boston.com reporter for bringing high school football to him on Thanksgiving. Clearly this soldier was enjoying the same feeling of connection to his hometown and memories of friends that I was, albeit in a war zone.
I continued to keep tabs on the score of the game, while remembering the images of the Thanksgiving Day game that I played in Framingham a mere 14 years ago: a capacity crowd braving freezing temperatures to watch a high school football game; our Captain, Brett Kelly scoring on a long touchdown and the photograph of the ensuing celebration appearing in the local newspaper; Coach Mike Dubzinski calling two consecutive quarterback sneaks to ensure that I would score a touchdown in my last high school game; and Mike Alves returning a kickoff for a touchdown. But most of all, I remember walking off the field with my teammates, having won only our third game of the season but feeling as if we’d won the Super Bowl.
Yesterday Natick lost 28-9, but the final score did not dampen my spirits. Even though I wasn’t back in Natick, I was able to participate in the game. I remembered the friends and teammates that cheered for and played for the Redmen. I remembered that sports are about connecting people. I remembered that while today’s collegiate and professional sports are overrun with legal and business issues, the purity of high school football remains.