I relish and honor tradition and understand the value and importance it holds, even in today’s “what’s next fast-paced society.” 

Thanksgiving turkey (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

When I played football at Central Regional in the early 70’s and even for many years after that a big part of Thanksgiving Day was the annual game with Southern and later Lacey. Dinner always tasted just a bit better when the Golden Eagles prevailed.  However over time and because of travel and family the turkey day football game has faded and to be honest I haven’t been to one in many years.

Despite efforts by many Thanksgiving Day football continues although more and more schools are moving away from this long-running tradition and I believe there will be a day when it finally goes away…I just don’t know if I’ll live long enough to see it.  Less than half the Shore Conference schools will play this week with two games on Wednesday night and eight more on Thursday morning.

I’m not going to waste time to debate the issue but only in New Jersey do you find a system where teams in the middle of playoff runs now have a regular season game on Thanksgiving and then the following weekend will play for sectional championships.  There is also the part about extending the season by two weeks for some schools to play this week instead of athletes getting rest between the fall and winter seasons.

With that said there are many who love the tradition of attending a game at their alma mater in the morning while the family meal is being prepared at home.  The holiday schedule begins Wednesday night when Barnegat travels south to Pinelands with the visitors needing a win to share the Class B South title with surprising Central. Speaking of my alma mater they will host Southern on Thursday morning as they christen their new athletic complex and also induct Karin (Kane) DeMichele, Mike Morin, James Plummer, Agnes Whitfield and Carlos Hanze into their Hall of Fame.

In the longest-running continuous rivalry at the shore Toms River South will host Lakewood in the 95th meeting between the Indians and the Piners.   It will be even more nostalgic for South fans because after the game work will begin to upgrade Detwiler Stadium with new bleachers, bathrooms and press box.

Maybe the most meaningful game left on the holiday schedule finds Wall traveling to Manasquan. It’s the shore’s version of Army-Navy because records mean nothing.  Both towns turn out big time for this one which is why we broadcast it on News Talk Radio WOBM 1160 & 1310 AM with Matt Harmon and Ed Sarluca handling it….I take the day off.