For one day every year, the Island Cup trophy sits on the sidelines of a football field, where its home for the next year will be determined. For the other 364 days, the trophy sits in a case.
It’s been in a Vineyard trophy case for the past several years, thanks to an unbroken nine-year win streak by the purple and white in the annual contest against Nantucket. The trophy, by far the largest piece of hardware on display, is in good company.
“As you can see, space is at a premium,” athletics director Mark McCarthy said on a recent Wednesday as he opened up the case for a curious onlooker. There are actually two cases, both sunk into the wall of the hallway leading to the gym, and both are full up. In the left case, there are 65 trophies — not counting the plaques, the letters of commendation, a cheerleading spirit stick from 1993, and an unmarked British flag pennant — clustered on three shelves. In the right case there are 26 trophies. There are signed footballs, soccer balls, basketballs, a softball, and a baseball. There is also a bowling pin (American Bowling Congress approved) from a 2009 boys’ basketball Bowl-A-Rama event.
“The oldest thing is this football,” Mr. McCarthy said, indicated an unassuming pigskin on the second shelf. The football is from the very first game ever played by the regional high school program, in 1960. The Vineyarders played Provincetown and won, 14-8. The score is painted onto the football, along with the message “First in our history — FIRST VICTORY.”
For all of the Vineyard glory evoked by the items in the trophy case, there are more that sit in storage, awaiting their chance to shine. In Mr. McCarthy’s office, which he shares with athletic trainer Tania Laslovich, there are dozens of trophies waiting for a home, including the most recent one, from the golf team’s south sectional championship in October. Track and field championship trophies from the Mayflower League days line two windowsills in the office; seven other track trophies sit atop the mailbox unit.
Still more trophies sit on shelves in an unused office adjacent to the rehab room, along with a near-pristine basketball in a plexiglass cube. A plaque on the cube notes that the ball is from former varsity coach Glen Fields’ 200th win.
“I don’t like having [them] where people can’t see it,” Mr. McCarthy said. A new trophy case stands empty in the gym entryway, ready to be filled. Eventually, Mr. McCarthy would like install a case directly into the wall.
“That’s the thought, the plan, the hope,” he said. There are also plans down the road to install a strip along the wall above the case for mounting plaques.
Two trophies — the state championship hardware from the boys’ tennis back-to-back victories in 2012 and 2013 — are in the front entryway of the high school, where everyone who enters the school can see them. But the trophy cases near the gym see a fair amount of traffic, too, particularly during basketball season when the gym fills with fans, many of whom are high school alums.
They can also look to the large banners that hang in the gymnasium, each from a championship season by a Vineyard team.
“When people come in they like to see the years they were a part of,” Mr. McCarthy said. “You kind of remember those teams that way, but they’re getting kind of faded.” Mr. McCarthy played on the 1978 and 1979 boys’ basketball teams; his sister Mary played on the 1979 girls’ team that won the school’s first state championship. Letters from the Massachusetts senate and house of representatives are framed inside the trophy cases. Mr. McCarthy pointed out the purple state championship banner on the wall, distinct among the white conference banners.
“I remember going to those games,” he said.