Visions are a big part of a person’s life. Regardless if you are 5, 15, 25, 35 or any something 5, you usually can foster up a mental picture when someone brings up any topic you are familiar with. What is your vision of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Game?
To start with, it is likely the biggest event on either side of the river each year in sports. It may not be your personal favorite or you might not even be a football fan at all, but I can’t think of any other local event, which attracts more fans.
For some of you, who are staring back at me and say, going to a Red Sox, Patriot game or to the Loudon event attracts more fans, you are right, but I am referring to a local event featuring local people.
The Shrine Game has always been a premier event, ever since I was introduced to it. I always caught the prestige, but it took awhile for me to have it sink in, that the Shriners cause is the important part and the game is just an attraction.
When people bring up the Shrine Game today, my vision goes automatically to a seat in the stands at Dartmouth’s Memorial Field and the Vermont and New Hampshire traditional uniforms and all the different colored helmets. The vision I have is, likely very close to the first vision I ever had of the event.
Well, the Shrine Game is now at Castleton University, not Dartmouth, but the good news is the game is doing very well financially, so a venue change isn’t likely soon, despite all the jokes from New Hampshire people that, why is the game there, Castleton is closer to New York, than New Hampshire. It is the cause that counts and that was true long before I understand that.
The other vision I get when I close my eyes and return to childhood, is a Shrine Game that is competitive. Those games were fun. I knew most years New Hampshire might be a slight favorite, but living in Vermont, my team had hope.
But the longer the vision lasts now, the more that action on the field changes. Now I see, New Hampshire running over Vermont and I think chances are, it’s just like my childhood when the Red Sox played the Yankees, I know which team is eating hot dogs at their ball park in October.
Now I don’t know what to expect. Last year I was broadcasting a baseball game in Maine when my partner said, Vermont is ahead of New Hampshire 10-0. I KNEW, that Vermont’s luck would not last long. It was still the first quarter and I wondered if they could hold on in front, at least until the half. That would be great!
But somehow Vermont kept scoring … and scoring … and scoring and in the end it was 50-0 and then 50-2. A lifetime of visions were destroyed. I didn’t know what to make of it and I still don’t.
We do know now, that New Hampshire has another game, the Chad East-West Game for another wonderful cause, The Childrens’ Hospital at Dartmouth. It seems now, either because of the distance for Granite State players to travel to Castleton or due to a lifetime of easily defeating Vermont, that the majority of athletes from N.H. choose to play in their in state game. New Hampshire had won the Shrine Game like fifteen years in a row, a lot to a little most times, and I think 25 out of 27 games, so without a favorable memorable history of the Shrine Classic, the New Hampshire standouts, went to preform in the CHAD Game in Manchester.
Will it be the same this year? My sources say quite possibly it will. It could be two in a row for Vermont.
Wait! I am starting to get excited! I had all but given up at ever catching New Hampshire. They lead the series 47-14-2. Maybe Vermont can tie things up in 2049.