Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Why were high school football games moved to Wednesday due to cold?

John Rooke
November 23, 2018 - 12:59 pm

Thinking out loud…while wondering where I can pick up my ganja, Dona Juanita and my jazz cabbage these days…

  • At the risk of sounding politically incorrect – isn’t football meant to be played outdoors?  Why the fuss over the “cold” weather this week?  Honestly, have we (have you?) never been in colder weather than what we experienced this week – and still gone to a game?


  • Where do we live?  In the North.  Do you know how to dress when going out?  Of course, you do.  If you don’t want to support your town or your kids because of the cold and don’t mind skipping a year of tradition, then don’t go.  But postpone it, cancel it or move the game because it’s too cold?  The wussification of America, once again, is on full display for all to view.


  • Not for nuthin’, but next time you’re at Gillette Stadium, check out where my location on the 40-yard line, behind the visitors’ bench.  The booth is OPEN.  Always.  No matter the weather.  The clock operators and officials’ supervisors don’t like it much, but they’re used to it.  They especially don’t like it when the announcement is made to refrain from throwing snow. 


  • Now, get off my lawn, and get out there.  


  • The town of Burrillville, Rhode Island, did it right.  The coach put out an all-call on social media for heaters and got ‘em…ten-fold.  14 degrees at kickoff Thursday against Ponaganset, and a 42-6 Broncos’ win.  I’m a fan. 


  • And, Haverhill at Lowell was played on schedule.  Why, when so many others were postponed or moved? “Because it’s supposed to be played on Thanksgiving,” Haverhill AD Tom O’Brien told Bill Burt.  Amen.


  • So, I’ve heard that being thankful and gracious can help extend your life.  In that vein, thank you to the person who scratched my car door in the shopping center parking lot Friday.


  • Forgot this last week – there is simply no credible reason for playing with a “running clock” during the Hendricken-LaSalle Super Bowl game.  A running clock?  Because of a shoving match?  Get a clue, RIIL.  Football is emotional, and physical.  This too, shall pass.


  • The five-minute cool down before resuming the game was all that was necessary.  Imagine trying to pull that stunt in some place like, um, Texas?  Or Pennsylvania?  Or Florida?  I’d fear for the safety of game officials, from the fans, if a running clock were instituted in places like those.  Stupid is as stupid does.


  • Small, narrow minds = small time.  ‘Nuff said.


  • Phil Estes stepping down as head football coach at Brown was a bit of a surprise this week, even if the Bears have struggled on the field the last three seasons.


  • Yes, Brown has lost 15 straight football games in the Ivy League.  But without Estes, Brown probably wouldn’t have had it’s best two-decade stretch in program history.  I was there with him at the start of his career, and I’ll be with him in spirit wherever he heads next. 


  • No digs. No jokes.  No eye rolls.  No disrespect.  Nothing but kudos to Jim Fleming and the URI football Rams, who finished 6-5 and earned the program’s first winning season in 17 years.  They’ve come a long way, baby, from losing 84-7 to James Madison a couple of years ago.  A long way.


  • So much so, is anyone still talking about doing away with football in Kingston?  And how come Rhode Island is still the only state university in New England without varsity ice hockey?  Too soon for that?


  • I am thankful for…having my health, and for having worn headphones for most of my adult life. My eardrums have been pummeled to the point I can’t hear anymore, which is a good thing when the ‘honey do’ list comes out.


  • Not surprised former Brown coach Mark Whipple has stepped down as football coach after five seasons in his 2nd go-round at UMass.  There may not be a more difficult job in the country, considering the athletic department status as a Division I FBS independent.  The only school that can make that work – is Notre Dame, and they have a national alumni base.


  • Minuteman fans are delusional if they believe simply hiring the next ‘great thing’ in the college ranks will cure what ails their program.  Whip led the program to an FCS national title 20 years ago after building a contender at Brown, then returned to Amherst with the move to FBS.  Recruiting without a conference, or a bowl tie-in, isn’t an easy sell.


  • Would he go back to Brown?  If he still wants to coach (he’s 61), it’s at least worth having the conversation.


  • Brown basketball has it rolling with four straight wins after two opening losses.  The Bears swept three straight in the first-ever Brown Tip-Off Classic, beating UMass-Lowell, Sacred Heart and Army.  Guard Desmond Cambridge earned the Ivy League Player of the Week.  Brown hosts Bryant Sunday.


  • Reaching the finals at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic at Mohegan Sun put the Friars in an in-season tournament championship game for a sixth straight year.  Michigan, however, put the clamps on any title thoughts.  The Wolverines may be as good as they were a year ago in reaching the national championship game, with a suffocating defense.


  • The Patriots could learn a thing or two from those guys.


  • Ed Cooley’s starting three freshmen was a bold move in those two Uncasville, CT games.  You should play your best players.  But when your best players are babies, there will be an occasional diaper rash to deal with.


  • And the Friars should play more zone, period.  Their length and athleticism make their defense tough for anyone to navigate. 


  • Solid win for Rhody over Harvard, with the backcourt of Jeff Dowtin and Fatts Russell combining for 51 points – a career high 31 from Dowtin.  They’re also not turning the ball over.  Good sign.


  • Did you see where Jim Calhoun took his fledgling University of St. Joseph’s team to Franklin, MA to play Dean College?  Pete Abraham had a great piece in the Globe about coach Calhoun this week.  The Bulldogs gave the Hall of Famer his first loss at the Division III level, after winning three national championships at UConn.  Even small-school powerhouses can take a while to get started.


  • St. John’s won the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, and the Red Storm is 5-0. DePaul and Butler are still unbeaten, but it’s early.  Creighton won the Cayman Island’s Classic.  Villanova’s shocking loss to Furman (and the Paladins pocketed $90K to play the game, too) means Big East teams might want to kick the Cats while they’re down.  It won’t last long.


  • Seton Hall’s Myles Powell dropped 40 on Grand Canyon at the Wooden Legacy in Anaheim, the tournament Providence will play in next Thanksgiving.  Shamorie Ponds hung 35 on VCU.  Young talent is there, but there’s still a few upperclassmen who can play, too.


  • Tweet of the Week I, from @John_Fanta: “Man, do we live in a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ world. Seven months ago, Villanova won their second national title in three years. Tonight, Cats fans are questioning anything and everything. It's November 17. Breathe.”


  • I am thankful for…slightly salted pistachios.  All things pumpkin, including martinis.  And for the good Lord blessing us with bacon.


  • Marquette had #2 Kansas on the ropes at halftime of their game this week, then watched the Jayhawks buzz-saw their way to a 22-0 run to start the second half.  Oof.


  • I thought Duke was supposed to be the collegiate version of the Golden State Warriors?  The Blue Devil juggernaut lost in the Maui finals to Gonzaga, no slouch themselves.  The point is – don’t anoint anyone, especially this year, as the next ‘best.’  You’ll look foolish.


  • After watching the early hoop signings, there seems to be zero effect from the FBI investigations threatening to smear the sport. 


  • In's recruiting rankings, USC has the No. 1 class, Arizona No. 3, Louisville No. 4 and Auburn No. 9. USC has five-star prospects Isaiah Mobley and Onyeka Okongwu among its elite five-man class and may be recruiting better after the scandal than before it.


  • The Friars inked forward Greg Gantt, and Ed Cooley says he’d love to sign another guard.  St. John's and Seton Hall may not sign a player during the early period, just two of six power conference schools in that shape.  Both have taken the transfer route of late - Seton Hall has Florida State big man Ike Obiagu sitting out, while St. John's has two transfers, David Caraher (Houston Baptist) and Eli Wright (Mississippi State) on its’ bench.


  • The 9th ranked Friar hockey team traveled to #7 Denver to play two with the Pioneers over Thanksgiving.  Heckuva challenge for any team, especially over a holiday


  • PC’s women’s hockey team also moves into the 9th national spot in the polls this week, after a sweep of Merrimack last weekend.  The women’s team plays in the Nutmeg Classic at Yale this weekend.


  • As much as the NCAA deserves to be bashed, they finally got one right.  The New York Post reported a gay college athlete, abandoned by her parents, will be allowed to keep donations made through a GoFundMe campaign and keep her eligibility as a cross-country runner.  The NCAA initially ruled she would have to return the money, even though it was her only means of support.


  • I am thankful for…college sports.  So I can feel like I’m 21 basically anytime I want to feel like I’m 21.  Except for when I deposit my paycheck.  Definitely don’t want to feel like I’m 21 again there.  I made all of $4.25 an hour back then.  But I got rich in experience.


  • Steve Pearce?  Great idea.  Yes, good idea to re-sign the reigning World Series MVP.  There’s still room at the table for you.


  • David Price, Comeback Player of the Year.  From what?  Insolence?


  • If you were thinking about seeing the Red Sox against the Yankees in London next June, MLB says tickets go on sale December 6th.  Can’t wait for the first “Yankees suck!” chants with British accents.  God save the Queen.


  • Tweet of the Week II, from @jaysonst, after Adrian Beltre retired this week: “Here's every player in history with at least 3,166 hits, 477 HR, .819 OPS & 5 Gold Gloves: Willie Mays, Adrian Beltre. That's all, folks!”


  • I am thankful for…football on Sundays.  Fridays, Saturdays and even Thursdays are ok, too.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays, um, no.  And I’m getting a little weary of football on Mondays.  With the exception of this past week, however.


  • College football meets MNF.  That’s what we had last Monday night, basically, with the Rams’ 54-51 win over the Chiefs.  Said in my best Russell-Crowe-as-Gladiator voice, “were you not entertained?!?”


  • Entertaining?  Sure.  But that wasn’t football.  It was basketball-on-turf.  The only thing that kept the game from being an embarrassment to the sport were the defensive plays returned for scores.  Proof that defense still matters.


  • Why the fuss over the announcers?  Clearly, ESPN loves over-the-top, over-hyped, self-loving-I’m-the-man calls from its’ announcers, or they wouldn’t have employed Joe Tessitore.  Tess, just drive the bus.  Don’t need a tour guide for the show.


  • He could also do a better job of setting up his struggling counterpart, Jason Witten.  Witten is a smart guy, so hopefully he figures out we don’t need two over-the-top gasbags on the air.  Be who you are, Jason, not who you’re not.


  • And Booger McFarland?  Can he not walk the sideline like a regular reporter might walk it?


  • Tweet of the Week III, from @MikeRodak: “That’s 13 touchdowns tonight (Monday night). The Bills have scored 13 touchdowns this season.”


  • Tweet of the Week IV, from @TedyBruschi: “Welcome to the new NFL when it comes to defensive football. Offenses will move the ball and score. Make a handful of plays a game to take the ball away and get your offense a couple extra possessions. Score on defense is A+. It hurt to write that.”


  • The Patriots must be thankful the bye week came when it did.  No truth to the rumor Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty” was on the practice play-list week before last.


  • Teams beating New England seem to be having trouble after their win.  Jacksonville and Detroit come to mind, and Tennessee was whacked last week, too.  And the Eagles may miss the postseason after winning the Super Bowl. 


  • Hey Lane Johnson.  Still having fun?


  • Ty Law and Richard Seymour are on the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot for 2019.  Law should make it, shouldn’t he?


  • J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!  I tried to fire myself up to make this relevant, but I just can’t.  That’s a bad team right now, but that doesn’t mean things will be easy for the Patriots.


  • Washington QB Alex Smith’s injury was very Joe Theismann-esque.  But for my money, Lawrence Taylor’s snapping Theismann’s leg in two, then screaming in utter horror after he had done it, goes down as the all-time nastiest-looking (and sounding) injury in modern football history.  


  • I am thankful for…my health.  I said that already.  The woman who loves me, for me.  My two sons.  My grandson.  My two cats. My family, friends, readers, listeners – and even the haters.  You don’t have to agree with me. Thanks for simply taking the time to care.


  • My buddy “Big E” sez he and Mrs. E were chatting with friends at a party recently, when the subject of marriage counseling came up.  “E” told his friends that he and the wife will never need it.  “She was a communications major in college, and I majored in theater arts,” he said.  “She communicates well, and I act like I’m listening.”


  • Legal marijuana sales opened this week in Massachusetts, in case you missed it.  Ha!  Don’t know how you could have missed that, it’s been plastered all over the news.  Adults 21 years old (and older) will be able to legally possess an ounce of marijuana outside of the home, along with 5 grams of concentrate.


  • Debate that as good or bad as you will.  But to stand for hours in the cold weather just to buy it legally?  And for a likely higher price than you’ve been used to paying?  Why?  Did your “I know a guy” suddenly go out of business?


  • Ron from Warwick posted on Facebook this week, on the Friars’ loss to Michigan: “Someone needs to explain to them the goal is to put the ball in the basket.”


  • Agreed, Ron.  Shoot a ‘normal’ percentage and that game with the Wolverines is a toss-up.  Some of that was Michigan’s defense, but the Friars had plenty of open looks they simply couldn’t knock down.  The level of talent is there to compete with everyone on the schedule.  As Joe said on the postgame show – if it had been him, he’d be headed for that brand-new facility on campus (the Ruane Friar Development Center), to shoot the ball until his arm falls off.


  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, ...


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