To the editor:
Tradition is a big part of American life and growing up in Newburyport, one of the biggest traditions was the Thanksgiving football game with Amesbury each year. Perhaps having lived through great encounters between the two schools as a kid and later as a teacher, I am stating positively that none of the luster has been lost on the Turkey Day classic.
For 10 years in a row, over 50 years ago, Newburyport was on the losing end of these contests. The worse defeat was the 99-6 debacle in 1951 when the Indians ran all over the Clippers and the only highlight of the game was when the extra point was dropped twice as Amesbury tried to reach 100!
Excitement of a football program being turned around by Walt Sheridan and later Jim Stehlin made NHS into a gridiron powerhouse. The yearly Color Day rally brought the school to fever pitch as classic competition soared and ignited a special hometown spirit unmatched anywhere. The football game always was a homecoming of sorts, as people came out of the woodwork to attend and cheer for their schools. It used to be that one had to be in the stadium by 8:30 a.m. or you would not be able to get a seat for the 10 a.m. kickoff.
Now that football is not the only game in town, it is still wonderful await the outcome to find out if the turkey will taste so much better with a Clipper victory. Small town as it is, this yearly tradition is a terrific symbol of our roots and pride that still embodies excitement for me and many others scattered around the country.