Considering that it’s Thanksgiving and Needham Vs. Wellesley is the longest running high school football rivalry in the country I wanted to comment on and support my alma mater and I realized (when I found this post) that this is the best way to do that. Please enjoy!
You can never go home again, NHS Class of…..Warning: I didn’t want to do this blog but it’s all over the place! Circa Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I’m going to stay clear of claiming Eric as a friend, if the situation was reversed, I would be pissed if my entire hometown, high school, and probably college population all of a sudden claimed me as a “friend”. Don’t get me wrong, I will try to friend him on Facebook and I hope he reads this blog (maybe even throws me a “like”).
While he is not a “friend”, I would be quick to shake his hand because he is and was always one of the nicest, coolest, smartest, and most athletic guys I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a field, gym or stage with. I have to admit it gives me and everyone else from NHS circa the late 90’s a serious rush to see him sporting his high school jacket. The fact that no one can say a bad word about the dude is such a great benefit. He was always respectful of parents, peers, and opponents; it makes blogging about him that much easier but harder at the same time. Harder because I don’t want to infringe on his privacy (but that ship sailed a while ago) and actually respect him as a person and not as an NFL player or Jessica’s fiancé. I would attest to that if asked regardless of how his life turned out.
I can only speak to my interpretation of the situation at hand, the picture above.
Normally, a 30-year-old man sporting his high school football jacket is just sad and should be ridiculed but I overlook that because he went on to play professional ball and did it with tenacity in the face of serious adversity. Some may see this as a guy who has “gone Hollywood” wearing the ultimate throwback jacket but I prefer to believe that he is a deeper person. All of us who puff up our chests and swap stories about our playing days with “Eric” should take a harder look at what that jacket means.
It absolutely should be a point of pride for all the right reasons: local boy makes good, goes to a great school, plays pro ball and is in love. But it should serve to remind everyone who has played or will play high school football of the pure joy and sense of community that it brings to us. Superstar or benchwarmer, the feeling is the same and just as powerful. Some will go on and play for “their school” or “their team” but none will ever play for “their home” again. We only get that experience once and when it’s over, it’s gone for good!
“You can never go home again” holds true for all people but none more so than someone who has every move documented on the local newsstand. I go back to Needham and it is foreign to me but I’m able to walk around and reminisce with the memories of “my town”, “my team” and “my childhood” undisturbed in solitude. Unlike Eric, while I know I can never go home again, I know that I could have diner in Needham, not responsible for others expectations and just enjoy my memories. He does not have that luxury.
I’m just glad that he maintains found memories of his time at NHS and hope that it serves as a reminder that we should all be proud. Not so that we can drop his name at parties and build ourselves up but proud to have played a tiny party in a community that created such lasting memories for Eric and all of us!
I’m not going to’ lie, NHS Football had a heck of a run 1994-1998 and beyond. I don’t think there was a better gathering of young men over a period of time. I can only wish that type experience on every young man and all our future children!!PS- I apologize for using the CarFreeBrad forum for such personal and off-topic statements but part of this thing is putting myself out there and giving you a glimpse into who I am. Believe me, it won’t be the last time!!!!! Check Out Freight Farms to eliminate the Urban Food Desert and Eventually Global Hunger! I need your help to solve these huge problems!