To the Editor:
Playing five years of MV football had to be one of the best parts of growing up on the Island. I initially started playing in junior high at the prompting of one of the coaches. From the first time I set foot on the field, I learned important lessons that continue to be a heavy influence in my life today. I learned the importance of true teamwork, character, responsibility, and discipline. I learned what it is like to be a part of something bigger than yourself, and how to properly represent something more important than yourself.
I enjoyed all of it: the hits that made my head spin, the extreme amount of conditioning that made my body hurt and lock up, and the love of the game. I miss the simplicity of it. Friday-night games under the lights, your team, the opposing team, and the ball. If you were offense, your goal was to score. On defense your goal was to stop the other team from scoring. In that moment nothing else mattered. That field with its fresh-cut grass, end zones, and the line of scrimmage was everything. Nothing else in the world existed to me, at those moments.
Over this past summer I returned to the island to visit family. Steve McCarthy, the same coach who got me to play in the first place, stopped in for a visit. He told me about his becoming head coach of the varsity team, and about the program he was starting to build. I was excited; I had played for him all four years, and he had some great ideas for his new program. Steve encouraged me to come and see as many of their games as I could. I admit I was hesitant; I had not been to a game since my graduation from MVRHS in 2006. Nonetheless, despite my crazy work schedule and life, I did make it to two of their travel games.
I am glad I did. It was good to see the sport again, not just football but Vineyard football. As a five-year veteran of it, there is no better version of the sport on earth. I loved seeing the kids’ pure enjoyment of the sport, and desire to play. I enjoyed the fans in purple, and I was mesmerized by the potential the new program showed. I loved how the best aspects from the program of my day had been incorporated into the new one.
I greatly look forward to watching and supporting the new program as it continues to succeed and grow in future seasons. I find myself amazed that after all these years, I can still learn more about myself from a program that already taught me so much. Most important, I want to thank the ones I owe for the positive impact the seasons I spent on the field had on me. I thank my coaches for leading and teaching me. I thank my teammates for standing beside me on and off the field. I thank the true Vineyard fans for supporting us through weather, occasional disappointments, and numerous successes. I thank you all for who I am, and who I will become, for I will carry these core lessons with me forever.
Chase Tennyson Seller
Middleboro (formerly of West Tisbury)