By Josh Resnek
Homecoming, for the past 25 years, the single largest, unifying community event for all ages, ended abruptly this year.
The Everett High School football game at Everett Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon
was crowded but it wasn’t packed.
In years past, for a quarter century, the Saturday afternoon football game was the culmination of a dozen events including alumni, former residents, public officials, thousands of citizens sitting in their chairs throughout the route watching the parade, the fireworks, and then the trip to the stadium for what this city is all about championship high school football.
A crush of Everett people of all ages and from all walks of life created a throng of people like a giant wave pouring into Everett Memorial Stadium for the finale – the big game.
“If the Homecoming had gone on there would have been thousands more people inside the stadium and a half dozen more events,” said School Superintendent Frederick F. Foresteire, as he surveyed the scene at Everett Memorial Stadium from his perch high above the field near the reporter’s box.
The mayor was in Aruba but provided fireworks at Glendale Park which he called Homecoming.
In year’s past, Foresteire said, nearly every public official would have been in attendance for the game following the parade and the bevy of events that preceded it.
Not this year.
“It is over and it is a shame,” said Foresteire.
Noted at the game was City Councilor Mike McLaughlin, School committeemen Lester McLaughlin and Marcony Almeida.
Also noted among the many residents in the crowd were assistant superintendents of the Everett Public Schools Charlie Obremski and Kevin Shaw, and the mayor’s assistant Omar Easy, himself a former great EHS football star who went on to glory in the NFL for a short period.
In the absence of the Homecoming mix of events entangling thousands into what has become an Everett tradition, the stadium crowd was smaller but still included many thousands participating in a scene quite unique to high school football in all of Massachusetts.
“I have been to high school sporting events all over Massachusetts all my life and nothing compares with what you see here at Everett Memorial Stadium,” said Herbie Kuppersmith, an avid sports fan who watched the game from up high in the box.
“There is nothing like Crimson Tide football,” he said.
Those who have never witnessed the extravaganza that unfolds during an EHS football game are amazed at what they find.
This begins with entering the stadium, passing by the field house – so impressive a walk into a hallowed place.
One notices instantly all the officials and those tied to EHS football dressed in E sweaters, and wearing EHS Football t-shirts and sweatshirts and EHS ball caps – Crimson red everywhere – a tidal wave of it.
The Cheerleaders are all organized and stunning in their uniforms.
The EHS National Championship Band looks brilliant in their uniforms – but the brilliance comes when they perform.
This is, after all, perhaps the greatest high school band music played in all of America.
Everywhere one turns, the place has the look of spit and polish and the feel of a college football stadium.
The huge Everett football team cannot be ignored. The team spreads out nicely over about 15 yards of football turf on the home sideline. Something like 75 young men – prouder than anyone not from this place could ever imagine to be part of legendary football program unlike any other in this state for a quarter century.
It is impressive but its play is what everyone gathered there remembers.
Also, the multi-cultural aspects of this great team, and of teams past, with its coaches – nearly all of color and ethnicity – clashed noticeably with the visitors from St. Johns Prep whose starting eleven was exclusively white.
The stands revealed the same divisions of life lived in suburban communities as compared with the urban centers like Everett.
Everett’s crowd included people speaking a dozen languages, coming from two dozen nations, a mixture of black, white, Hispanic, Asian – you name it – Everett represents it and accepts it.
The Crimson Tide beat the kids from St. John’s Prep Saturday afternoon.
The Prep kids played well – but they got beaten – by a bunch of really talented, well coached and provided for multi-culturals from Everett!
What a tough ride home to their lovely campus in Danvers.
Homecoming would have been the frosting on the cake with this great victory over such a talented team – but the mayor killed Homecoming, and for what?