Island Cup rivalry is in doubt
What! No Army-Navy game this year? Impossible! No USC versus UCLA? You must be kidding. No Harvard-Yale? Unthinkable! Amherst-Williams? Of course they will play.
Don't worry. All of those traditional rivalries are safely scheduled to occur this fall. The Martha's Vineyard-Nantucket game scheduled for Saturday, November 21, however, well that's another story the conclusion of which is by no means clear.
As one sports maven told The Times, "We're not on Nantucket's schedule, but Nantucket is still on Donald Herman's schedule." Mr. Herman is the head football coach at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
The unsolved problem is money, the cost of arranging a special Steamship Authority ferry for the Nantucket team and fans to make the trip to and from the Vineyard.
No one has given up yet. Nantucket High School Athletic Director Chris Maury is working on it, and certainly coach Herman has not resigned himself to a schedule of games minus Nantucket. Nor has Sandy Mincone, the Vineyard's new athletic director, who told The Times yesterday, "It is important to keep our kids involved in the traditional rivalry."
The two islands first met on the gridiron in 1953. The Vineyard's team was made up of all stars drawn from the Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and Edgartown high schools, which were replaced by the regional high school in 1960. The Island Cup, the trophy that goes to the winner, was first presented in 1978.
One mentioned possibility is to find a football field off both islands - in Barnstable, for instance, or Falmouth - that might be reachable from both islands and could be less costly than a rented ferry.
Wayne Lamson, SSA general manager, told The Times late yesterday that he has not been contacted about pricing out the cost to charter a game ferry. The boatline must bring on an extra vessel in order not to affect the daily operating schedule and provide a full crew, Mr. Lamson said.
Two years ago Nantucket boosters spent $11,500 on a charter. Last year, the boat cost Vineyard boosters $9,500. Mr. Lamson said that the difference in cost is due to the added time needed for the boat to travel from Woods Hole to Nantucket to pick up passengers and then back to Woods Hole after dropping them off.
The question of travel costs and logistics is also an issue for regular season competition by the boys and girls soccer teams, basketball teams, tennis teams, field hockey teams, baseball and softball teams. Both schools have discontinued air travel.
Nantucket A.D. Chris Maury expects a resolution of the question of the Island Cup game "one way or the other" within a week.