Today is a day to give thanks, and to continue family traditions. To a kid Santa Claus means Christmas, to many of us in my era Thanksgiving meant the Laurel-Seaford Thanksgiving football game held of course of Thanksgiving Day. There were to 2:00 dinners, you ate after the football game; first things first.
That was perhaps the greatest tradition in the state. Thousands flocked to the game; old photos show people standing on baskets dressed for Sunday services watching the game. Alumni home for the holiday reunited with many friends and classmates.
Many times the underdog came out victorious; a win was considered a successful season even if you had a losing season. Long-time rival coaches Robert Dowd and George Schollenberger would always have a new special play for the game.
Players from that era may not remember the scores of other games they played in their senior year, but they can tell you the score of their last Thanksgiving game.
A good sportsmanship award was given by the two town civic clubs to the player showing the best sportsmanship. It WAS NOT an honor to win that award; the rivalry was that intense.
Even the bands, large in numbers gave their best performance of the year.
Then came the tournaments and the traditional Laurel-Seaford game was moved before Thanksgiving, and the interest waned. Seaford’s football program went south, and Laurel brought home the annual trophy for years, although Seaford made a gallant attempt at an upset this year losing by only 3 points.
But what I remember most about those football games happened before the game even started; mom’s hot turkey sandwiches.
My uncle, an alumnus of LHS, who lived in Wilmington, would bring freshly baked Italian rolls, small in size but to die for. She would slice her turkey which was usually done by noon, put a few slices in the roll, topped with warm dressing and cranberry sauce.
Coach didn’t want us eating before a game, but he just didn’t know how tempting those sandwiches were. It was worth a belt in the stomach, getting sick than to give up those sandwiches.
If course the rolls around this area are tasteless, I still make those sandwiches every year on whatever bread I can find.
Oh for the good ole days.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!