Alexandra Harte, Reporter
Despite the crisp, freezing cold air on Thanksgiving, the sound of excited screams and cheers could still be heard bouncing off the walls of the enormous Boyle Stadium. The bright white and blue colors on opposite sides of the field sharply contrasted one another, and at the shrill sound of a whistle, the Turkey Bowl has begun. Before the game, fans attend a tailgate, which is created to add to this supportive atmosphere. Fans are treated to a wonderful buffet full of munchkins, burning apple cider, and small chocolate muffins, and sport their turkey bowl shirts. Little is known about the immense amount of work and preparation that goes behind this enjoyable, pre-game event.
At the beginning of every school year, the three football team captains and their mothers have a pancake breakfast where they discuss the design plan for the t-shirt. Captain mother Annemarie Knight says that they wanted to take a fun, sportsmanlike approach. “It’s traditional for the captains to design the Turkey Bowl t-shirt. They had a bunch of different ideas and we went back and forth with some things that were a little anti-Darien. Finally everyone decided to keep it fun and nice,” she said.
Although they are focusing on supporting the New Canaan Rams rather than the tense rivalry growing with Darien, Ms. Knight sees the benefits of the rivalry. “It’s a really good thing because it brings the best out of each other. Both programs have really great coaching and you want to play teams that are really good,” she said.
But Ms. Knight claims that the mothers work on more than just the t-shirts. “There will be a big pasta lunch the day before, and then the morning before the Turkey Bowl the dads get involved and they all organize a special breakfast”.
Ms. Knight and the other moms also plan an inspirational speaker for the team, “We go to different churches in town and ask the pastor or priest if they’ll talk to the boys for 20 minutes,” she said.
According to junior mother Wendy Cunney, the captain’s mother began preparing for the Turkey Bowl about two or three weeks in advance. On the day of the Turkey Bowl the mothers decorate, set up the stadium and then the tailgate for a process that can take a few hours. It’s really about keeping family together, we try to have everybody together and excited,” she said. “It’s important for all of us, to show our support for our kids and support for the community.”
Bomb squad leader Stephen Curiale describes how the students prepare before the games. “We create signs, so everyone can see what’s going on. I don’t think they can hear us all the way in the freshmen section,” he said. “We just want to go in it like any regular game, just try to get the squad hyped.”
As a leader, Stephen plans on meeting the high expectations for bomb squad leaders, “I do the hail NC and hail no chants. The other cheers are supporting the players, chanting their names, and claps”. In order to improve this game, Stephen and Nate Aliapoulios, the other bomb squad leader, “sit in the car and think about what we can do this game to make it better than the rest. I think this is really important before the Turkey Bowl to try to think of ideas to get them to be loud.”
Ms. Knight would like to thank all of the helping hands who contributed to the tailgate this year, “It’s really a group effort, and we all work together to perform the best we can.”