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Bob Lobel: The Role of Football on Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

 

Bob Lobel, GoLocalWorcester Sports Contributor

So tell me again, why is the University of Massachusetts is playing its home football games at Gillette Stadium? Is it to make a small time program look good? To make a big time program look bad? Or all of the above?

On a week where football reaches its zenith with scores of renewed high school rivalries that just don't seem like the rivalries they used to be, we travel down the road of our forefathers and reenact the ritual of win/lose/eat/sleep, and perhaps wish our extended families would either go home or we could just leave them to their stories.

I lament the loss of high school football. I wanted to be a a high school football coach. I think it's the only thing I wanted to be. I became many other things but it was the only thing i can remember really wanting to be.  

So what happened?  

I guess I just out grew it. The reason I wanted to be a high school football coach was simple; I wanted to be just like the coach I had. The father figure that so many communities have had over all those years. The school community was the center of everything. The school athletic program was usually the engine that drove that community and the  driver of that engine was usually the high school football coach.

It's changed a whole lot hasn't it? I also want to draw the parallel to the National Hockey League which is, with apologies to Arlo Guthrie, another one of our our disappearing railroad blues. This latest stretch of this labor dispute has been especially annoying.  

Keep your money, don't buy playoff tickets. Find some other form of recreation. Go camping, take up bowling, join a fantasy league. Watch football, don't play it.  Play hockey, don't watch it. As we move into the empty, guilt driven space between Thanksgiving and the "big holiday," I would like to offer you some solace…

Hope the Patriots are in it for as long as possible. It's  way to early to worry about the Celtics and, thankfully, it's never to early to worry about the Red Sox.

Think about Tim Thomas and wish him well if you ever see him again. Hope that Dwight Evans gets his just due and enters the hall of fame with Louis Tiant. You can even wish that high school football will return to mean as much to you as it once did, or that the National Hockey League will do the same. But, I would not bet on either one of them ever being what they once were in any of our lives.

 

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