The Island’s oldest and youngest high school football teams met, not for a match but for a meal last Friday night at the school cafeteria. Nineteen members of the 1960 team met the 2010 team before the big Saturday game with Nantucket. Add to that six members of the 1960 cheerleaders, who also shared stories with the current squad.
The steak dinner was hosted by the Vineyard’s Touchdown Club. Club president Jack Law said there was a regular pre-game meal for the Island Cup, but he acknowledged this was special. The 50th anniversary gathering of the Island’s first high school football team was an idea from Mark McCarthy, the school’s new athletic director, who had not yet arrived on the planet when that football team had their first game. But his father, Dan McCarthy, was for two years the team’s coach along with Sancy Pachico.
Before the dinner, the gray-haired players met in the high school lobby and shared handshakes, backslaps and some shoulder nudging. Most had not met since they were all aspiring young students.
Cocaptains Gary Simmons and Roy Meekins addressed the players and thanked them for coming, some from as far as Florida.
Kristen Parker spoke about the Island Cup game being honored by the Great American Rivalry Series, sponsored by the United States Marine Corps; the winning team would take home a special trophy which she held high.
Mr. McCarthy told the crowd that this was an opportunity for him, as a younger brother, to pay a tribute to his older brother: He then presented his brother with a jersey emblazoned “Water Boy.”
After the dinner, the seasoned players put on other jerseys marked for the occasion and posed for photographs.