Dating in the 1800s

Turned out it was a couple of kids from Needham High School pulling a prank.”And that’s not the first time the historic rivalry had to call a timeout.During the two World Wars, the series was halted because players from both schools had enlisted.While pro football dominates the airwaves on Thanksgiving Day, it’s the hometown high school games that genuinely capture the spirit of the day.Dating back to the beginning of football itself, some New England public school rivalries claim to be the oldest Thanksgiving Day game.It was ready for prime time, and high school, said sports broadcaster Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network, author of "The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation."“It began as kind of a curiosity because people didn’t really understand the sport and yet by the 1890s it just became this focal point of beginning the holiday season,” he said. He still remembers games against NFA like they were yesterday.“It was definitely the biggest game of the year when I was a kid,” he said.

Bill Tracey’s institutional memory doesn’t stretch back quite that far, but in his 37 years of coaching football at Wellesley, some games remain unforgettable.“2009 is a game that stands out for me.So it made sense that these two schools, that once stood right across the street from each other in the Fenway section of Boston, should eventually start playing on Thanksgiving Day.The year of that opening kickoff: 1887.“And ever since that, Boston Latin has competed against Boston English in the traditional Thanksgiving Day game,” said Johnson.And it turns out, dating as we know it isn’t that old.Weigel says that the concept emerged around 1896, when the term was first used.

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