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Hubs football team will be home at last

September 17, 2006|by TONY MULIERI

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the fall of 1967, and I was riding the team bus to a high school football game when all of a sudden, I was stricken with panic.

I stood up in the middle of the aisle and screamed, "I forgot my helmet!" I looked around, and some of my teammates were laughing.

"Mulieri, you fool, it's on your head," one of them said.

I sat back down and didn't say too much the rest of the trip.

I played at a high school, St. Mary's in Annapolis, that didn't have a home stadium. Heck, we had to practice on a dirt field that doubled as a parking lot. Our home games were played at Weems Whalen Field in Annapolis. It would be like taking a short bus ride to Marty Snook Park.

We rode to all of our games, home and away, dressed in full gear. I usually sat on the bus with my helmet in my lap.

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Not this time. A helmet to a football player is like his wife - it just fits. I had no idea what I would do without that helmet. Of course, I had it the whole time. It was just in a bad place, ON MY HEAD!

I recount this story as I think of what it will be like for the North Hagerstown High School football team to play its first game on their home field this fall at Mike Callas Stadium.

Stadiums are special places. I can remember playing a portion of a junior league football game at halftime of a Navy-Virginia college game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. I can recall looking up in the stands and seeing thousands of fans rooting for us. I couldn't have been more than 10, but it was special.

The Hubs will have that feeling.

At some point in time, head coach Dan Cunningham will lead the team on to the new turf, quarterback Logan Kelso will christen the air with a tight spiral to one of his receivers, the Hub Band will play that familiar fight song and all will be right with Hub Nation.

Home at last.

I had three sons play football at North High, and we played all of our home games, of course, at School Stadium at South Hagerstown High School. That would be like the Naval Academy playing all of its home games at Army. Such rivals.

But to be honest, I liked watching games at South High. School Stadium is a great place to watch a high school football game. It was almost like a social event each year as parents renewed that rite of fall by meeting in the stands at School Stadium for high school football, and to share stories about their sons.

But like the saying goes, there's no place like home.

It's good that the North High players finally will have their own field after all these years.

Friday Night Lights off Pennsylvania Avenue.

There's probably some kid who hasn't been born yet who will set all kinds of records at Callas Stadium. But that's in the future. As Washington Redskins' legendary coach George Allen once said, "The Future is Now."

And when that first home game takes place, if a North High player believes that he has forgotten his helmet, he simply can jog back to the locker room to discover that it is ON HIS HEAD!

Home at last.

Tony Mulieri is the managing editor of The Daily Mail. He may be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7647, or by e-mail at tonym@herald-mail.com.

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