The Touchdown Dynasty

Football: the most popular sport that also has a lot of history in high school, college, and the pros. It is a game that brings families together to watch and cheer for their favorite team. Ipswich High School has a rich history of football with 12 state championships- a record only a few schools can claim to have.  The tradition of playing football is passed down from father to son, which binds them. We decided to talk to a few of those Ipswich dynasties.

Glenn Foster has been teaching here at Ipswich since the early 80’s, and has been coaching football for over 2 decades. We asked Glenn about his most memorable football family in Ipswich. Almost immediately Glenn responded, “The family with the most talent I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching was the Vitale’s”. No one kid is the the same as their family, can definitely tell they are related by the way they act, and how each of these kids bring a unique talent to the game. You will have some kids who are better at running the ball, and others  who are better at blocking.”  When we asked the impact of football family lineage Foster said, “I think it really depends on the type of kid for instance if one kid has the real drive to be the best and he wants it bad enough he’ll surpass his parents definitely but if their easily discouraged you’ll  see it in their faces they just don’t want it as bad.”

We also talked to a member of one of a family with a rich history in Ipswich High School sports. Johnny Vitale, a member of the previously mentioned Vitale family, is  a third generation of Ipswich Tiger. He follows in the footsteps of his father Jay, his uncle Jeff, and his grandfather. Johnny and Glenn have similar views about whether or not it helps or hurts to have a family legacy on your back. When we asked Johnny what he thought he said, “of course not.”

As a member of this community myself I thought about these questions and how they affect me as well. I am a third generation Tiger with grandfather being a team captain for the football team in 1962. My great grandfather was even the team doctor for the football team till the late 60’s. As far as how having a family dynasty goes I’m very different from Glenn and Johnny. I feel like it is a driving factor on how hard I play. When I step out onto that field on Fridays I feel like I carry the names of the Donahers and Fields with me. As for whether or not it helps or hurts me, I definitely consider it a big help. If I didn’t have something like that to drive me, then I would have no clue where I’d be. I also feel like it gives me a sense of pride because not only am I playing for myself and my team, but I play for the generations before me.

No matter who you ask there will always be an undeniable fact. Football is king in Ipswich. It brings families and friends together. Friday nights are the best night of the week not only because it’s the beginning of the weekend, but also because it’s game night.