Longmeadow, East Longmeadow face off for Selectmen's Cup
By Chris Mazachrism@thereminder.com
EAST LONGMEADOW A longstanding football rivalry has transformed into an opportunity to help those in need.
Longmeadow Select Board Chair Paul Santaniello, along with Longmeadow football coach Nick St. George, East Longmeadow football coach Scott Raymond and members of both teams, gathered at Romitos & Sons on Nov. 5 for the Selectmen's Cup kick-off event.
The event celebrated commencement of the third-annual food drive in which the two football teams parlay their historically hard-fought Thanksgiving Day rivalry game into a food drive with both teams competing to see who can collect the most food.
On Nov. 17, representatives from both teams will be at the Big Y in Longmeadow and the Stop & Shop in East Longmeadow looking for non-perishable food donations. Donations will also be accepted at the Thanksgiving Day game, which is slated for a 10 a.m. kickoff at East Longmeadow High School.
"The game is part of it, but more importantly, we're raising some food for people who are less privileged during Thanksgiving time," Raymond said. "In the past, the rivalry between East Longmeadow and Longmeadow was kind of a negative thing, but we have turned it into a positive thing, bringing both towns together for a common effort. Both programs have been very successful with this the last two years, so we're looking forward to continuing that."
For those keeping score, Longmeadow has earned the right to display the trophy each of the first two years.
This year's drive will specifically benefit the local food pantries for both towns, Santaniello said.
"It's a good thing and an unfortunate thing at the same time," he said. "It's good because these efforts are going directly to the local community, but it is unfortunate because we have seen a spike in the number of people in need of these services in both communities."
St. George said that the familiarity the two teams have with one another makes not only for great football, but for efforts like this to happen more smoothly.
"We run camps together during the summer, we know each other, we're friends, so it's a nice thing to bring the teams together for this," he said. "It also adds a little more to the rivalry for the game."
Rob McClure, a senior captain for Longmeadow, said he was especially excited to once again be a part Selectmen's Cup efforts because of the way it brings two sides together.
"It shows the unity between Longmeadow and East Longmeadow," he said. "I've got a couple of great friends in East Longmeadow and we're really excited to do this."
He added the drive helps keep the football game in perspective as the holiday season approaches.
"It's a good feeling and you love doing great things for people that need help," he said. "It's the holiday season. It's the season of giving, so this gets us started in the right direction."