EDITORIAL: Football Senior Justus-Tyler Reynolds Reflects on the Heated Fitchburg-Leominster Rivalry

Justus-Tyler Reynolds, Reporter

EDITORS NOTE: Justus-Tyler Reynolds is an LHS Senior and member of the Devils’ Advocate Staff. He was recently elected as one of 4 LHS players to the Mid-Wach League Football All-Stars along with Kyle Philbin, Anthony Tocci and Micha Stinson. Below he shares his feelings of the heated football rivalry between Leominster and Fitchburg.

Growing up in Leominster, I learned early the significance of the rivalry that has developed with neighboring city Fitchburg. It was obvious early on how passionate people from both cities were about being better than the other at absolutely everything.

This competitive nature spread throughout all areas of life for the cities’ inhabitants. High school students, their parents, the teachers, public officials, and what seemed like everyone else, had at least a little of that competitiveness within them. 

Most of the clashing takes place between the high school students however. Students at both LHS and FHS find pride in out-performing their rivals in fields such as academics, theatre, athletics, and more.

By far the most exaggerated of the competitions is the annual Leominster vs. Fitchburg Thanksgiving football game. Whether it takes place at Crocker Field in Fitchburg or Historical Doyle Field in Leominster, the turnout is always the same. 

Hundreds of people pack the fan sections to support their city. The sea of red and blue flows almost without end around every inch of the field as the two teams battle it out. 

As a player I can say that there’s nothing more amazing than lining up on the field to represent not only your team, but also your city. It’s a hard fought battle every year and both sides deserve credit. 

It’s important to recognize that although this rivalry has been going on for what this year will make 125 years, it has also created an issue. The focus seems at time to have shifted over the years from a healthy contest to an accumulation of hatred.

So many people let the trash talking and intensity get the best of them. It seems as though it has reached a point where the safety of the players and fans could be at risk. 

If something doesn’t change soon then so much will continue to be lost. People must remember the true heart of this rivalry as it started so long ago. 

Leominster vs. Fitchburg football should not be driven by hatred each team has built up for each other. Fans should not wish negative things to other fans and to the opposing team’s players.

At the center of this rivalry is love and passion. Love and passion for the game of football.

Each team should not play because they hate the other, but instead because they share an equal love for the game they’ve grown to adore. They should play with a respect and drive that is based off of those things. 

As a player, I hold no hate in my heart for Fitchburg. As a player I respect Fitchburg and appreciate them for bringing out the best competitor in me.