There once was a day when Bellows Falls and Fall Mountain was quite a rivalry. For some people, it was The Rivalry. For most people, Bellows Falls and Springfield has been the Only Rivalry Forever.
Fall Mountain Regional High School was born in the fall of 1966. For a three year period, there were students, mostly who resided in North Walpole, who were allowed to attend either school. You see since time began, if you grew up in North Walpole, you attended Bellows Falls High School. The construction of the new school changed all that. Unless you had been grandfathered, by attending BF High School before the opening of the new school, all high school students from North Walpole were now Langdon bound.
Athletes had always competed against one another in junior high, but high school students from the two sides of the river had never faced off. Charlestown, Vilas and Walpole enjoyed rivalries at the high school level with each other, but not across the river. Now they would meet and those in North Walpole didn’t know really who to cheer for years.
While BF and FM have met in rivalry games in football, cross country, basketball, baseball and softball over the years, with some games bordering on bigger than life bragging rights, in the 2016-17 school year, other than one boys basketball game and one softball game, never the two shall meet. It is disturbing and in most cases, the discontinuation of the rivalry is petty and foolish. We don’t have enough close rivals today. Let’s go play Proctor, Poultney, Interlakes and Kennett, where fans galore can’t wait for the games to start.
One of the first sports to cut the tie over those years was baseball. They have not played each other it seems since forever. If you can’t fight them, you might as well join them. Recently, that is just what has happened in the summer sport. Summer baseball for high school age kids died a couple of summers ago for Fall Mountain area kids. They have now found their way to Bellows Falls. One or two Wildcats made the trek last summer and now there are five on this years Bellows Falls Legion roster.
I think this is wonderful. It brings one back to the old days of summer. After all, in 1964, shortly after Post 37 started putting a competitive nine on the field, the BF team won the Vermont State Championship and represented the Green Mountain state in the New Englands. Like now, the majority of players attended high school and played for the Terriers, but there were fall mountain regional players also. One was from Charlestown and was named Carlton Fisk. This new development is wonderful. History does repeat itself.
So the more things change, the more they remain the same. Basically BF didn’t play across the river before 1966 because Fall Mountain wasn’t born yet. They don’t play now either. However they join forces in the summer and win a lot of games. I think I now need to pinch myself, not to confuse today with yesterday.
Fall Mountain has hired a couple of new varsity coaches recently. The two have one thing in common and one thing that separates them from each other. They both are Fall Mountain graduates, but one has more varsity head coach experience than most people around, while the other, has never been a head coach at the varsity level.
Brian Pickering replaces Boomer Aumand as the head coach of the Fall Mountain Girls basketball team. Pickering has been Head Coach at three stops. He has served as the Varsity Boys Coach at both Fall Mountain and Monadnock and also was the Head Man for the Con Val Girls. He also spent several seasons as a valued assistant with the Keene State College Mens Basketball program.
To many people, Orion Binney is not a household name, but Athletic Director Gordon Danserau has the confidence the young Keene businessman, is in the right place at the right time to help save and possibly grow Fall Mountain football. Binney played in the trenches during his time at Fall Mountain and didn’t get his name brought to the forefront much but he may be exactly the type of leader the Cats need. He has coached as an assistant at Keene High School, thus he has his feet wet. Most readers realize this is one of the most challenging jobs ever and we wish Binney well.