There’s record cold bearing down on the Northeast, with temperatures in the Boston area expected to peak around just 20 degrees, with the wind chill in many areas near zero. That was enough to inspire nearly 30 of the state’s oldest rivalries to move their contests up to Wednesday to avoid the bone chilling cold.
As reported by Boston Fox affiliate WFXT, 26 of the state’s traditional Turkey Day rivalry games were shifted to Wednesday to avoid the temperatures that will feel more like mid-February across the area.
The moves have left a number of Massachusetts fans somewhere between disappointed and angry that one of the most traditional Thanksgiving Day activities will be taking an enforced one-year hiatus.
“That’s what Thanksgiving is, man,” Worcester native Arthur Debres told WFXT. “It’s about football. I’s part of the game. Rain, shine, doesn’t matter. You play football.”
That’s not to say that all who count themselves among the state’s fans can’t rationalize the re-scheduled contests. More than one fan told WFXT they recognized, “it’s way too cold,” and, “it’s dangerous at that point.”
Of course, for every game that has already been moved, there are two or more than will go on as scheduled. And there’s at least one contest that was briefly rescheduled to compete Wednesday only for fan backlash to inspire the two schools to move the game back to Turkey Day.
Braintree and Milton, who have competed on Thanksgiving for decades, announced Monday evening that they would instead play on Wednesday this year. By mid-day Tuesday, the game was back to a Thanksgiving morning kickoff.
“As of this morning, our (Athletic Director) Mike Denise has informed me that they were back to playing Thursday at 10 a.m.,” Braintree football coach Brian Chamberlain said in a statement to the media. “It was a very delicate situation. I fully understood the administration and town’s concerns with the weather, but I also understood my players wanting to keep the tradition of playing on Thanksgiving,”
“It was not an easy decision to be made, and I have confidence in our administration they are always looking to do what was best for the players and fans, but being a traditionalist and having played on Thanksgiving I know how special that day is.”
Perhaps the more sanguine response came from the chairman of Milton’s board of selectmen, Richard Wells, who offered a rationale that was true both of the Braintree-Milton contest and other Thanksgiving games:
“It’s the biggest game of the year, and it’s a tradition for the players,” Wells told the Quincy Patriot Ledger. “One thing we’re used to as football fans in Massachusetts is cold weather.”