I went to the wrong game.
It doesn’t get much more blunt than that.
I went against my gut feeling all week, when it said this wasn’t 2006 anymore and the two teams playing up at Monroe were nowhere near the caliber of teams playing down the road at Finn Stadium.
That Shelton-Fairfield Prep game, and God bless Emmett Spillane Jr. for getting a real good one, was probably one of the season’s best games year.
Here are the video highlights shot by Jeff Bustraan: Shelton vs. Fairfield Prep
The Bunnell-Masuk game turned out to be a major dud. I wish I kept track of penalties because that’s all this game was: Penalty, after penalty, after penalty. We were told it was a defensive struggle, but the big defensive plays only came because of offensive futility. As ugly as my game story was (and that was just awful), this game stunk it up twice as much.
Meanwhile, the sportswriters dream was going on in Shelton. Packed house–the largest crowd observers had seen at Finn Stadium in years–and an absolute classic.
Prep up 14-0, Shelton comes roaring back. Prep up 21-14, Shelton comes back. But not to tie: Ryan Nolan, who had himself a game to back up his strong words, blocked the extra point try. Then Geoff Schultz, who could barely hold back his contempt for Nolan’s comments when I showed up for practice earlier in the week, scoring the winning touchdown by outracing Nolan to the end zone.
Just incredible and a sense of poetic justice washes over the Gaels.
I missed the game of the year.
I knew–I KNEW–I was making the wrong choice. It started last week at the Law-Prep game and its aftermath. Then with the way people were look at me when I arrived in Shelton on Tuesday and when we started to put together our package for big games in Thursday’s paper. Once we had Bunnell-Masuk as the only photos and it became a dominant Bunnell-Masuk page, I got a terrible feeling that we were highlighting the wrong game. At least, I thought to myself, we should highlight both games equally.
But, photo assignments being photo assignments, there was little I could do about it by then.
Then the MSG guys who I saw at Bill Gonillo’s funeral on Thursday, were talking about how they noticed Shelton-Prep was the overwhelming choice for the game of the week on our website and, when I told them I was going to Masuk, said they were shocked.
But I decided on Masuk-Bunnell–not because I thought it was the bigger of the two games–but because MSG was going to be at Shelton-Prep and I could watch it on TV on Sunday.
That said. I should have my head examined. I will never, ever make the wrong choice again.
This upsets me, especially since my game was so bland and almost inconsequential, making for a rather bad story.
Anyway. From Sunday to Friday, I was off my game. Big time.
Here’s promising I’ll be on it for the rest of the season.