The athletic director asked me to emcee a special ceremony later this month honoring the 50th anniversary of the school’s undefeated state championship football team from 1959. Coach Fern Tetreau, after whom the field was named, still lives in Fairfield, and he and several of the players from the team will return to commemorate that unforgettable season. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to it very much.
However, I was caught by surprise earlier this week when I received a phone call from the athletic director at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. He wanted to know if I would announce tomorrow’s Homecoming Day football game against Harding at Taft Field. Ludlowe? That was and still is our arch-enemy. How could I be seen at the school, much less announce the Falcons’ football game? I had to think about this.
Back in the day, the rivalry between the Andrew Warde High School Crimson Eagles and the Roger Ludlowe Flying Tigers was as heated as they get. Ludlowe was the town’s only high school until Warde opened in the Fall of 1956. The animosity between the students of both schools lasted for 30 years, until the Fairfield Board of Education decided to close Ludlowe and open Fairfield High School at the Warde site.
Then, six years ago, with a growing school-age population, the board opted to reopen Ludlowe and change the name of Fairfield High School to Fairfield Warde. The original nicknames, however, were lost, and now the Warde Mustangs and Ludlowe Falcons provide the rivalry for the current generation of high school students.
The Ludlowe athletic director, Dave Schulz, is a good friend of mine and a graduate of Andrew Warde High School. He was a star player on the Crimson Eagles’ basketball team which won the 1973 FCIAC Eastern Division title. In addition, he visits Warde often to watch the Mustangs play when his teams are on the road, and he still has a strong allegiance to his high school.
My son is a sophomore at Ludlowe. Although he is an out-of-district student, he likes the school very much and would prefer to remain with his elementary and middle school classmates rather than attend Warde, which is our neighborhood school. This week is Spirit Week at the school, and I bought a few Ludlowe shirts and sweatshirts for him to wear.
So, after careful consideration, I accepted the offer. I bought a Ludlowe sweatshirt, and I will be in the booth tomorrow announcing the Homecoming Day football game at Ludlowe High School. That’s right, a former Andrew Warde Crimson Eagle is now rooting for the arch-enemy.
Anything is possible. Although my heart will always remain with Warde, I’m looking forward to the game at Ludlowe tomorrow. My son is thrilled, and he’s told all his friends he’ll be in the booth with Dad. That makes me happy.