Moving Norwich-New London game prudent, but also sad
The Norwich Free Academy-New London High School annual Thanksgiving football game has been moved from its scheduled Wednesday night kickoff at NFA to 1 p.m. that afternoon.
How dispiriting that the scheduling of the oldest high school football rivalry, dating to 1875, is being shifted not because of weather or crisis or convenience, but apparently because some misguided young males — who think the measure of a man is tied to gang loyalties, defending turf and pursuing violent redress over petty grievances or affronts — present a danger.
Norwich and New London police acted correctly in sounding a warning. They were hearing credible threats that street-gang conflicts could lead to confrontations at the game site. After discussions involving police and officials from the two schools, the decision was reached that a night game would raise the likelihood of violence and make it harder to police the NFA field. Moving to the afternoon was a reasonable response.
Anyone with information about the events surrounding this situation should contact police. Officers need all the information they can get to help keep the public safe. You can reach Norwich police at 860-886-5561 and New London police at 860-447-5269.
While prudent steps are in order, such as increased security and a different start time, it would be a mistake to succumb to fear. Despite the odd kickoff time in the middle of a weekday afternoon, we hope all those who planned to attend this game, or who have made it a tradition, will be able to do so and will not be scared away. A good turnout will be a show of school and community spirit — two communities.
Fans should keep things in perspective. This is always a big game on the schedule for both teams and their fans, regardless of the records or circumstances of a given year. The length and richness of this long rivalry are impressive. But it is, ultimately, a game — a high school game. Treat the student athletes and coaches accordingly.
Finally, can the schools consider returning the game to 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day in future years? Enjoy the game then get home for the turkey. What was so bad about that?
The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Erica Moser and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.
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