Editorial: COVID, spring football and history

Posted 4/8/21

There was something refreshing, better yet, reassuring about attending the East Providence High School football game this past weekend. Dare we say it almost felt “normal” to be outside, …

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Editorial: COVID, spring football and history


There was something refreshing, better yet, reassuring about attending the East Providence High School football game this past weekend. Dare we say it almost felt “normal” to be outside, in a crowd, albeit a small one, with a brisk breeze under the sun. That it was April, though, as opposed to October quickly reminded us that we’re still in the midst of a very unusual time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed our lives now for over a year. It has changed us in many ways, some likely to remain for a while, if not forever. The outbreak certainly altered the lives of our young people. These past several months have been the first time they’ve likely faced inconvenience to such a significant extent. And that was probably readily apparent to the student athletes at Pierce Memorial Field last Saturday afternoon.

They and those of our kids who have decades-worth of living ahead of them will undoubtedly lead different lives than us older folks. The world will change for many reasons, the coronavirus pandemic of the early 2020s certainly playing a crucial role.

As we’ve all found out here recently, history has a way of repeating itself and time moves forward regardless.

The players, coaches and fans at the game may not have been completely aware of it, but it’s possible they were witnesses to a bit of East Providence history. Nothing, of course, as meaningful as a global pandemic, but still noteworthy in and of itself.

Long time Parks Department Jim Mello raised the point, and it was a poignant one. The EPHS football Townies were likely playing their last-ever game at Pierce Stadium, ending what would be an 82-year run at the city’s historic treasure. Built as part of The Depression Era Works Project Administration, Pierce was completed in the fall of 1939 and East Providence, which previously played its football at Glenlyon Field in Rumford, hosted LaSalle that year in the first of what would be numerous Thanksgiving Day games since.

With Saturday being the E.P.’s lone home game scheduled during this COVID-19 truncated season, the Townies are on track to play their next “home” game at the athletics complex of the new $189.5 million high school campus, which is slated to be ready for fall 2021 when the sport is usually played.

So maybe it was a fitting end to the legacy of the program to play its last game at Pierce on a holiday weekend. It just so happened to be Easter, not Thanksgiving. And it also proved a stark reminder that things are still not back to “normal,” though it seems like we’re hopefully heading there slowly, but surely.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.