The top football players from the state of Vermont gathered on Saturday, August 1 in Hanover NH, but it was not to play in the 67th Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl vs the all-stars from New Hampshire. It was for a picnic. Players, parents, coaches, and Shriners gathered to honor the best of the Green Mountain State. Players were presented game jerseys with their names on the back, as well as jackets and t-shirts. Coaches were given their gameday polo and t-shirts. While the Shriners went above and beyond to make the players feel special, it will never replace what they missed.
Tom Haley, of the Rutland Herald, used Joni Mitchell’s lyrics in his article this week to remind us, “…You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” Players and coaches echoed those sentiments discussing their excitement, anticipation, and ultimately disappointment at the loss of what for many young athletes has been a long-standing goal.
As Phil Collins sings, “I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord… and I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life, Oh Lord!” Vermont football players dream of someday playing in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl. From the moment they hung up their cleats last winter, they’ve looked forward to one last chance to represent their teams, the honor of wearing VERMONT across their chests, seeing parents and friends in the stands, and the excitement in the air moments before kickoff. One last chance to celebrate all they’ve accomplished over the last four years, one last transformation to something bigger than self, and the magical experience of turning former opponents and rivals into teammates and brothers.
Despite the obvious disappointment, we took the time to reflect on all we have to be grateful for: To be thankful for teams and teammates who helped us earn selection to the Vermont team, the parents, coaches, and communities supporting these young men, and the Shriners who set such a great example of giving back to make others lives better.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and sharehttp://www.olineskills.comwith your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!
Photos from the team picnic hosted by the Shriners: