By Betsy Larson
“I think that it’s an awesome idea and opportunity for any Oyster River student who plays football to get the full high school experience and have scholarship opportunities,” says Justin Clothier (‘17), who has been playing football for six years.
For as long as anyone can remember, Oyster River High School hasn’t had their own football team due to lack of facilities for the team to practice on and use for games. ORHS students who want to play football have no choice but to join a club team or go to another high school. The idea of having ORHS students join Portsmouth High School’s football team was proposed and discussed during multiple school board meetings and finally the proposal was rejected on April 6th with a 1:6 vote by school board.
This would have been be a big change for not only students here at ORHS, but also PHS football players.
“As far as the adding of ‘the river’ goes, in my mind it can only help. If we get one good football player, then that’s another player we can field and wants to be there,” says PHS football player, Alex Gladu (‘17).
There was a positive energy from both teams in this proposal as it was discussed and would allow both teams to excel and be the best they can.
“My team is motivated to win, we will do whatever it takes to win. I am [was] very excited for the change and hope its beneficial,” adds another PHS football player, Ben Barber (‘17).
Since ORHS doesn’t have a set football team and joining a club team can be inconvenient. Many students have given up trying to work football into their schedule. If the two teams combined this may have opened up opportunities for students who wish to play football, but couldn’t before.
“Not having a school team can be bad and good. Bad because I think that the lack of a team gives the school less spirit and pride. Also for a player like me it simply makes it inconvenient to play. For example my schedule for my current team isn’t very ideal for a student, 4 days a week 5-8 pm including the 20 minute drive to the field,” says Hagan Corrigan (‘18). Often athletes spend a lot of time traveling for a club team and lose motivation for school work. However, it offers another social aspect for these players were they can meet new people with the same situation as them.
Since the final decision was made to deny the proposal, parents, athletes and coaches were very disappointed. Several football athletes and their families got up to speak at some of the school board meetings about how much they wanted this opportunity. On the day of the final decision, seven people got up to make a public comment in favor of the football agreement.
“Honestly I was really looking for a program change, a new perspective from a kid from another school. Maybe the kid can play, maybe not, either way if he, or she for that matter, works hard… welcome to the Clipper Nation,” says Gladu. “I was looking forward to kids finally breaking free and playing the greatest team sport in America.”