Middlebury The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Game is a sure sign that high school football season is not many weeks away. The annual regional bowl game was held at Windsor High over the weekend with New Hampshire defeating Vermont 45-21. The Vermont side the game followed an all too familiar theme with the boys from the Granite State pulling away for a lopsided win.
Same old, same old—even my adult Sunday school teacher indicated as much on Sunday. Now don’t get me wrong, this is in no way pointing a finger at the coaching staff or the team effort of this year’s Vermont squad.
It seems to me this year’s game indicates it’s time for a change. It might be time for Vermont and New Hampshire to part ways over this annual game.
This event has been a tremendous way to raise funds to help kids in the Shrine hospitals. “Strong legs run, so that weak legs can walk.” So, believe me, it’s a worthy cause.
I know a few years ago there was talk of New Hampshire taking on an All-Star team from Maine instead in an effort to make this a more competitive game.
Maybe this is something that needs to be revisited. I love the Shrine game as much as anyone in Vermont. I looked forward every summer to going to Hanover, N.H., to watch the two teams square off at Dartmouth College’s Memorial Field—but times have changed.
The game has moved from a college town, and being played in a college football stadium, to a small town in Vermont and a high school football field. I’m not knocking the town or people of Windsor, I’m sure they do a terrific job hosting this game, but come on.
Maybe a more competitive venue would bring the game back to a setting where a contest like this really belongs. As for Vermont fans, maybe the annual North vs. South game could be moved from dreary late November to summer? Another thought: rotate it between the three in-state colleges that have football programs. And the funds raised from this game could go towards the Shrine hospitals, too. Just my two cents.