Vineyard Sports

Vineyard Sports & Recreation Blog will cover a variety of random thoughts on all things Martha’s Vineyard. From sailing, tennis, hiking, biking, disc golf to HS & youth sports, and anything in between.

Fall is a favorite time of the year for many on the island. September is summer’s last hurrah and is known for consistently good weather. In addition, the crowds have shrunk (you can actually get into your favorite restaurant), the water is still warm, the Striped Bass & Bluefish fishing derby gets underway and it’s a great time of year for sailing.

Once October arrives the high school sports season is in full swing. MVRHS Field Hockey, Cross Country, Golf and Soccer teams are striving for qualification in post season action. Coach Herman’s football team is always hoping for another super season and their Friday night games are great fun.

The islands of Nantucket and the Vineyard have been fierce sports rivals for years. No matter the season both island’s high school teams circle the date of their match when the team’s sports schedules are released.

The Vineyarder’s and Whaler’s football teams have been meeting on the gridiron for 50 years. For most high schools the annual Thanksgiving football games between arch rivals can make or break their season.  The stakes are even higher when the Whalers and Islanders meet in their annual game the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  The winner of the game earns bragging rights to the coveted “Island Cup” trophy until their next meeting.

Last year the Cup game was cancelled due to budget constraints. There was much hand wringing and finger pointing on both sides.  It was more than just a game. For former players, current players and anyone with an island connection, it was part of Thanksgiving. The resulting firestorm even drew the attention of the national media with stories in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.

Islanders are a hardy lot (as anyone that has spent time here during the winter can attest) and accustomed to fighting uphill battles. It is part of what defines them. With that makeup both sides worked together and were able to iron out the issues that had caused cancellation of the game. The Island Cup has been revived for 2010.

With the Cup back, the rivalries between all the high school teams have been renewed. Recently the island’s field hockey teams battled to a scoreless tie on Nantucket.  The tie clinched the Vineyard a spot in the state play-offs.

Over the past few years the Vineyard has held the upper hand on the gridiron. They have won nine of the last ten Island Cup’s against the Whaler’s. Nantucket still holds an edge in the overall record. With Thanksgiving just a few scant weeks away now all the talk can focus on more important issues. Do the Vineyarder’s have the right stuff to continue their winning ways against the dreaded Whaler’s from Nantucket?