Catch the fever for high school football on Thanksgiving Eve Day

Idle Thoughts, while waiting for the first day of school, AJ Dillon to win the Heisman and for Dr. I’s spin rate to match his exit velo:

• Dr. Idle, Dr. I to his close friends, has his epitaph all picked out:

“Here lies Dr. I. He just didn’t understand.”

Take Norwich Free Academy, for instance. The latest missive: The annual Thanksgiving Day football game between NFA and New London has been moved from Thanksgiving to the day before. Kickoff: 4 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 27.

A 4 p.m. kickoff on a Wednesday.

Catch the fever.

“Last year, when the game was at New London, we moved the game from Thanksgiving Day to the Wednesday before because we expected extremely cold weather,” NFA athletic director Roy Wentworth wrote in an email. “In doing so, many people within the NFA family thought that having the game on Wednesday provided a much improved experience and had asked if we would continue with it.

“Having coached many Thanksgiving Day games myself I would certainly agree with that sentiment. While planning for the upcoming season, I spoke with coaches, parents and fellow administrators and their response was overwhelmingly in favor of continuing with a Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day game.”

This was a unilateral decision. New London officials had no input and are not thrilled.

Note to all you moms and dads in New London who might be at work at 4 o’clock on a Wednesday — and go figure anybody might work at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday: You’ll need to leave work early that day. So clear it with your co-workers, underlings or superiors now, lest you the risk of not seeing your kid play in perhaps his last high school football game.

A more cynical fellow might throw a tantrum at NFA’s meddling with tradition, say-nothing public response and dizzying levels of institutional arrogance.

But the kinder, gentler Dr. I?

Nah.

• Lest anyone think UConn is the best Division I sports option in Connecticut, four elite level kids from the ECC are showing us a new way: The University of Hartford.

Four of our best will be heading there this year or next:

Ken Turner, The Day’s Baseball Player of the Year (and Texas Rangers draftee); James McCoy (all-state East Lyme lacrosse player); Jared Burrows (pitched a shutout for Waterford baseball in the state championship game); and Olivia Gianakos (all-state Waterford girls’ lacrosse player who broke the program’s single-season goal scoring record in the spring.)

Who needs Storrs, anyway?

• Dr. I must reiterate that Friday night was a wonderful experience at Bennie Dover.

Kareem Brown’s effort produced a full gym and a showcase for the region’s top girls’ basketball players (and we’ve got some kids who can really play right now).

Best part of the night: New London grad Shaq Folston and his narration over the public address system. Shaq’s best line: “If you reach … I teach.” Bet a few coaches around here will repeat that one a few times in practice.

• Daniel Jones: Tom Brady, only more talented.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

• How are the Red Sox doing?

• OK. Many of you know Dr. I is a big sportsmanship guy. But what he saw the other day, you know, strains even his high levels of equanimity.

A pitcher in the Little League World Series gave up a home run. As the hitter began his home run trot, the pitcher left the mound and gave the hitter a high five.

Ewww.

Now Dr. I isn’t saying the pitcher needed to drill the next kid or anything, but high fiving the kid who just took you yard?

Stop.

This is sports, not afternoon tea with the queen.

• Not to be mean or anything, but Dr. I didn't miss Michael Kay one bit.

• Finally: Dr. I wishes a lifetime of happiness to two of his favorites who were recently married.

Congrats to Pat Epps (Waterford baseball) and Emily Walker (East Lyme basketball).

Dr. I knows they’ll prove that Waterford and East Lyme can live together in harmony after all.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro

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