Location puts Granite State at a disadvantage
So it looks like this year’s crop of high school seniors will have a chance to represent New Hampshire in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl after all.
The Granite State will be going for its 15th straight win in the 62nd annual game on Aug. 1, 2015.
But if no one from New Hampshire – outside of the players and their families – sees them beat up on Vermont again, will it really have happened?
Despite the Concord-based Becktash Shriners’ decision last month to end the state’s participation in the game, the game’s Board of Directors got together earlier this week and decided on the date of the game and the location for next year.
With Dartmouth College’s field under construction, the game needed a one-year home, and Vermont’s Castleton State College was chosen as the location.
Although it’s been reported by several media outlets that there was a second location under consideration, no one has confirmed that it was actually the surface of the moon. Perhaps someone thought that wouldn’t be far enough for New Hampshire to travel.
Castleton State College is located, not surprisingly, in Castleton, Vt., a town that, according to the last census, has a population of 4,717. It’s 15 miles to the west of Rutland and seven miles east of Vermont’s border with New York.
You can drive from Castleton to Albany, N.Y., in half the time it takes to get from the college to Nashua. It’s more than six hours roundtrip.
That means if you go, you’ll be in the car for a quarter of the day to watch New Hampshire win by six touchdowns – one for every hour you’re in the car.
I imagine this will end up being a road game for New Hampshire, which is about the one thing the game’s organizers haven’t tried to make it a more competitive game.
A few years ago, the people in charge made it so the New Hampshire coach had to select as many players from the state’s smallest schools as the largest. So instead of beating Vermont with a bunch of kids from Nashua, Manchester, Derry and Concord, the Granite State team has been doing it with kids from Somersworth and Winnisquam and Franklin.
Last year, the length of quarters was reduced from 15 minutes to 12 in an effort to keep things from getting out of hand; New Hampshire only won by 36 points.
What’s left to be done to make the game even? Make New Hampshire play with only 10 players on the field? Limit the number of forward passes the Granite State can throw in a game? Make them run the single wing offense?
No, the Becktash Shriners had the right answer. They claim the game hasn’t been raising enough money for the Shriners Hospitals, and in some years, even loses money.
The game doesn’t have to go away. Let Vermont have it and make it a game between its high schools, just like New Hampshire has been doing with the CHaD East-West All-Star game.
They could even keep it at Castleton State College.
Joe Marchilena can be reached at 594-6478 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow Marchilena on Twitter