Mark Hayward's City Matters: Teachable moments at 'brawl bowl'
The contest pitted Manchester's top two football teams against each other at Gill Stadium. The third-quarter brawl took place along the Trinity sidelines.
Tell the truth
That's what we hear from our moms shortly after we start talking. Even if it hurts, tell the truth and things will work out in the end. Four Central students seemed to be speaking truthfully in interviews earlier this week.
"I don't listen to what kids say," Polak said. "Kids can say anything."
It takes two to fight
"He started it."
We've all said it, and we've all heard it. It's a trap that draws you into a swirling back-and-forth that resolves nothing.
"Nobody's proud, but it was initiated by Central," he said.
Another suspended Central player said, "It wasn't just us throwing the punches. They threw the first punch."
"In any brawl, any altercation, there are no rules," Polak said. "You step in any way you can. There are no written protocols for a fight."
Football players on both teams tried to hold back their energized teammates. As for Trinity coaches? Otero's mother talks about bringing criminal charges against one who grabbed her son right after the late hit. (Police said they have received no such complaint.)
It's only a game
Football and Thanksgiving. You think of the Kennedys tossing the pigskin in a friendly family game. Then there's the NFL games on TV, always good for dozing off to with a belly full of turkey and pumpkin pie.
"The (Trinity) coaches kept saying, 'Pound them, pound them; they're weak,' " one of the suspended players said.
"They played hard. Both teams played hard within the rules of the game," said Mailloux, who directed me to Polak for further comment.
"That's football stuff," Polak said. "In my mind, the story of the game was Division II Trinity upsetting Division I Central."
The real lesson: It's only a game if we crush our opponents.
Mark Hayward's City Matters appears Thursdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader and UnionLeader.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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