Fitch Hall of Fame can’t seem to get this one right
Let's just call this what it is:
The Big Lie. Because, really, what other conclusion exists? The Fitch Athletic Hall of Fame: The Big Lie. Yep. The latest class was announced earlier this week and again — again — no representation from the state championship football teams from 1999 and 2000. And, you know, I'm about to lose my sunny disposition.
Fact: The sons of Fitch lost three games between 1997 and 2001. Record: 52-3. Five league championships, four state championship game appearances, two state titles, a busload of college players and a No. 1 ranking in the entire state (2000 season).
The lone player from the golden era in the Hall of Fame: Raheem Carter, the quarterback of the 1999 team. Carter's inclusion, however, is based more on his post-career courage, showing the chops to become a New London police officer before succumbing to cancer at 25 after an arduous fight.
So I stand by the original assertion: This is a Big Lie.
Can someone explain, for instance, how George Hall, a 2001 graduate, hasn't been inducted yet? Hall: a two-time honorable mention Big 10 linebacker at Purdue. Butkus Award nominee, the honor given to the nation's best college linebacker, as a junior. Later signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Yet no Hall for Hall. “As a friend of mine said, ‘George Hall can sign with the Vikings but can't get in the Fitch Hall of Fame?'” retired Fitch history teacher and former assistant football coach Tony Cafaro said Wednesday. Tony C shoots, Tony C scores. How about others from the era of 52 wins and the last team around here to earn a No. 1 ranking in the
final state media poll?
Mike Hall (Northeastern), Brandon Cook (Northeastern), John McCoy (New Hampshire), Andrew Berggren (Villanova), Matt Maddox (maybe the best of them all), Dante Ross (Bucknell). Or Will Deveau, Rashad Carter, coach Mike Emery … on the band plays. Apologies for all those unintentionally omitted.
And so none of them — none — is worthy? Really? Last year's excuse: Nobody nominated them.
Ah, but some (including George Hall) were nominated this year.
And the reason they're being excluded? Hello? Is this thing on? This is not to suggest others, past and present, aren't worthy. No issues whatsoever with other inductees this year. Example: Ed Harvey, the former three-time state championship baseball coach, is a Fitch legend. (And can we name the baseball field after him please?) Ben Latham, a two-time State Open champion throwing the javelin, later doing so at the University of Oklahoma: no brainer.
But, again, how am I supposed to take this seriously when former Fitch athletes who made the whole state take notice are blackballed in their own school?
I mean, you lose three games in five years, send a number of players to notable colleges, achieve a No. 1 ranking and are an afterthought because committee members are pulling a Sgt. Schultz?
They know nothing, they see nothing, they hear nothing.
Not a problem elsewhere
There are good people doing good work at 101 Groton Long Point Rd. But this does nothing for anyone's credibility. They should look around. Phil Orbe and the gang consistently get it right with the Montville Hall of Fame. So does Jim Cavalieri in Waterford. The guess here is that had the folks in those towns enjoyed back-to-back state championship football teams with a 34-game win streaks, they'd trip over themselves to assure as many of the dramatic personae get inducted as quickly as possible.
In Groton? Not so much. Personalities, as they often do amid stories of unchecked dysfunction, get in the way of what's right.
I'm pretty sure the 34-game win streak was neither a mirage nor an optical illusion. It actually happened. George Hall was one hell of a player. Just don't look for his name anywhere at his alma mater.
The Big Lie. This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.