Be present in all things and thankful for all things.
Growing up, November meant football. Well, I guess football started in my household around Labor Day, but in Baltimore it wasn’t what I think of as “football weather” until November. My Dad was a longtime high school coach and some of my earliest memories are of the Sunday night coaches meetings in our living room. I would fall asleep to the sounds of the click, click, click of the film projector playing the black and white reel to reel tapes of the latest Gilman game accompanied by the stopping, starting and conversations that ensued over Cokes and Snyders pretzels.
November was always the Gilman/McDonogh game — a Baltimore private school tradition that included visits a week in advance from headmasters, team captains and student body presidents from each of the two schools where together, they would address their rival’s upper school in the ultimate sign of sportsmanship. Last Saturday, the 105th playing of this game was held on a field where my father began coaching in 196o and now his ashes overlook.
Thanksgiving brought an even bigger Baltimore football tradition – the City/Poly game at Memorial Stadium. The first matchup between these two Baltimore City public high schools, City College High School (City) and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Poly) began in 1889 and is today one of the oldest high school rivalries in the country. The game was moved to Thanksgiving day in 1944 and was played on Thanksgiving for almost 50 years — many of which I attended while growing up. Poly dominated these games through the 1950’s which coincided with my parents arrival to the Baltimore area. It was then they were convinced by their good friend and my godfather, George Young that it was the perfect city to live in and raise a family. My “uncle” George took over the City football program in 1959 and brought the coveted trophy back to City College 6 times before moving on to join the Baltimore Colts (then the Miami Dolphins) alongside Don Schula and finally as the General manager of the New York Giants – a role that earned him an eventual spot in the Football Hall of Fame. (My first date with Steve was actually on the 50 yard line of a Giants game – courtesy of Uncle George).
Football and November continued as a theme even after I left Baltimore. I went on to New York City to teach and remember venturing up to Columbia University to see the then Lions host my brother, Nick and his Franklin and Marshall team. Fast forward a few years to the numerous Novembers I have spent at Johns Hopkins again cheering for my brother as the offensive line coach as he clinched one of his fourteen Centennial League titles.
Enjoy these coming days as I know I will, watching the last of the leaves change color, feeling the temperatures drop below freezing and savoring every last bit of daylight. Hold your Thanksgiving memories of friends and family close in November but for me it is also about remembering and being grateful for — football.
November is Also About Gratitude
Having lost both my parents, the holidays can be tough to navigate and what keeps me grounded is ensuring that my parents live on through my words and actions as best I can. It is never easy but it does guide me each day. My parents lived through the Great Depression and their lives were shaped by that experience. The hunger and the wanting, paired with the compassion of those who helped them when they were just kids, played out later in life through their own work and the values they instilled in my brother and me. I am forever grateful for their modeling of humility, empathy and gratitude.
I have supported Connecticut Foodshare over the years volunteering on Community Service days at Watkinson and dropping off turkeys each Thanksgiving season. However, it was the pandemic that brought me front and center into a more sustained experience. It began with working each week beginning in April with my daughter Siobhan and into the summer at Rentschler Field loading cars — sometimes up to 1500 cars a morning with food for the week. People were desperate and yet so grateful. Last year, Foodshare distributed 14 million meals to those in need.
I continue to volunteer at the Mobile Foodshare sites in Hartford where the need still continues. Today 1 out of 7 children in the Greater Hartford area struggle with hunger which equates to close to 32,000 kids right here.
As Foodshare says on its website
People are hungry not because there isn’t enough food, but because they do not have the resources to access and afford enough food. Foodshare provides that access.
With all of that in mind, 2-4-1 Sports is supporting Foodshare’s Turkey and Thirty initiative to ensure that everyone in CT has a wonderful and healthy holiday season. There are two ways you can help
- Join the 2-4-1 team and make a monetary donation and spread the word to others on social media. You can make your donation at https://p2p.onecause.com/ctfoodshare-turkeyandthirty/team/2-4-1-sports
- Drop non-perishable food goods on our porch (249 Auburn Road) starting Monday November 15th. We will have a labeled box where you can drop your donations. Campers are encouraged to ask friends and neighbors to help out as well. We will deliver the donations directly to Foodshare.
2-4-1 Sports has also partnered with our friends at Hartbeat Track Club in support of Hands On Hartford, who serve Hartford’s most economically challenged residents in the areas of food, housing, and health. We are collecting new or slightly used sneakers, cleats, and basketball shoes. See the flyer below for how the shoes will be used to raise funds — talk about win/wins!!
- You will see – alongside the bin we have at 249 Auburn Road are bins for collecting these athletic shoes. Please drop off as soon as you can, but know that the bin will be out there until November 30th.
We all have a lot to be grateful for. Happy November and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
About Kerry Boyle
Kerry is Co-Founder and Principal Owner of 2-4-1 Sports. She has more than 30 years of experience in teaching, coaching, educational administration and leadership. Originally from Baltimore, Md., Kerry was a two-sport Division I athlete (lacrosse and field hockey) at Bucknell University where she majored in English and Political Science. In her career, Kerry has worked at all levels of schools including elementary, middle, high school and university. She has administrated, taught, and coached in New York City, Baltimore, Seattle and Hartford. Throughout her career, Kerry has taught US History and Government, developed international programming, led large athletic departments, and has worked in local and state politics. Kerry now lives in West Hartford, Conn. with 2-4-1 Co-Founder, Steve Boyle and they enjoy visiting with their three grown daughters Alannah, Michaela and Siobhan.