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Turkey Day game should return to menu

This weekend will have undoubtedly witnessed some glorious moments of high school football played at the yearly Section VI championships at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Incredible feats of athletic prowess were on display and memories were made for participants and fans.

Unfortunately for student athletes, student populations, school communities, and alumni within the borders of the City of Buffalo, glorious opportunities for more memories made were lost, once again, due to lack of foresight and planning.

The 2013 season witnessed great strides for most of the former Harvard Cup Football teams that were in their fourth season in Section VI play. Burgard, McKinley, Bennett, and South Park all advanced into Sectional playoffs, but as has been the case for the past four years, no City team has advanced to play in Ralph Wilson Stadium. With the groundwork that’s been set, the future looks brighter for City football players.

It’s my contention that even more opportunity should be afforded our City athletes. For 106 years, the City of Buffalo celebrated the Harvard Cup Football Championships on Thanksgiving Day, directly shining the sporting spotlight of the area on the best teams our City has to offer. Routinely, thousands and sometimes tens of thousands filled historic All High Stadium to capacity to witness what was then entrenched as a WNY tradition.

Since the inclusion of City teams into Sectional play, the hallowed grounds of All High lay fallow on Thanksgiving. Does it have to be that way?

If Buffalo teams are eliminated in the Sectional playoff system, instead of participating in the Section’s meaningless “Consolation Bowl” games, can’t there be a way to incorporate a true meaningful four-team playoff system that would culminate in a Championship Game on Thanksgiving morning? Thanks to great Sectional play, fans and teams know we have some great teams in the City. Unfortunately, we don’t have the opportunity as we had for over a century to truly know who is the “best of the best.”

For the past two decades, I have been fortunate enough to carry the torch of Harvard Cup football in the local media. Players often relate to me, even afforded a chance to play for a State Championship plaque, visions of “Turkey Day” glory still dance in their collective heads. With a November Harvard Cup playoff and a championship game on Thanksgiving, that old championship feeling can be resurrected.

Naysayers believe it would be a scheduling nightmare. I believe it is nothing more than a scheduling challenge. Would it be so bad to extend a season a few games for one month in order to provide a lifetime of memories?

The wrestler Ric Flair said, “To be the best, you have to beat the best!” Under the present configuration of football in the City, one will never find out. At any rate, that argument is best solved with a turkey and all its trimmings.

Richard W. Kozak, Jr.

Lake View

There’s no excuse for bullying tactics

The recent reports of the hazing in Miami in my opinion points out how society overlooks and excuses actions of people because of who they are. Hazing is illegal and there has been a push to stop this stupid ritual and local incidents at high schools have been widely published.

At the same time the media has openly reported on, and we have all laughed at, how the professional football teams have still continued this to extremes. So as a result we as a whole say that their actions are OK because “they are football players” so we will let that go. Although it is hard for most of us to relate to the professional players and think they should be able to handle this themselves, excusing this because “who they are” just continues this way of thinking that we are trying to stop.

Tell a kid in school that such behavior is not acceptable and then laugh about professional players hazing others is talking out of the side of your mouth. Having kids look up to the pro players and then saying “don’t do this, but it is OK for them” is downright stupid. Having the veteran players make the rookies pay thousands of dollars for meals and other things for them is nothing but taking a kid’s lunch money. Go ahead tell your kids that actions like that are OK.

Dave Valentine

Eden

Time for Sabres to reduce ticket prices

The goal of any sports organization is to field a competitive, entertaining team with the reasonable expectation of making the playoffs, and with the right team chemistry, ultimately the league championship.

The Buffalo Sabres have been in existence since 1970 and have provided Western New York fans with many exciting moments. The key to a successful team is a multifaceted offense, solid defense and a good goalie.

We are now in early November. Does anyone envision the Stanley Cup parade in Buffalo in June 2014? Making the playoffs is highly unlikely.

If the Sabres organization is intentionally providing the Buffalo fans with a substandard product, shouldn’t tickets to the games be priced accordingly?

Roman Konowka

Cheektowaga

It’s time to change those running show

I understand the theory behind tanking, trading, and rebuilding through the draft. I don’t like it, but I get it. The problem is, the guys in charge of both selecting those picks and developing them into NHL players aren’t very good and I have no faith in their ability to produce a winner.

While Darcy Regier’s made some decent picks over the years, he’s also had some incredible misses. Yes, there’s Vanek, Miller, Pominville; very good players all, but none elite. But his blotter also carries the names of Heisten, Bartovic, Kryukov, Zagrapan, and Persson. Even Myers is starting to look like another Regier-picked flameout. In total, his resume reads a couple “very goods,” some “average to belows,” and a lot of “poor to never weres” – no superstars and no Hall of Famers in 16 years. That’s a pretty mediocre record and a solid indicator of his talent-judging abilities.

As for Rolston, maybe he was a good college and junior coach, but he is completely overwhelmed in the pro ranks. His Amerks’ teams were little over .500 and were swept in the first round of his only playoff appearance. With this roster, wins and losses don’t tell much, but the team is rarely prepared to play and the young talent seems to be regressing, not learning. Maybe he developed a bunch of kids in juniors, but that was against other kids. Against the men in the NHL, his teams are sloppy, confused, and routinely outclassed.

Again, I get rebuilding, but Terry Pegula’s faith in the duo in charge is misguided and unfounded. My hope is he’ll wake up, call a guy in town named Bowman, and get some solid hockey advice as to who should really be in charge of building this into a Stanley Cup winning team.

Marc Rummenie

East Aurora

Sabres management can’t solve problems

Whenever I sit down on my couch to watch how awful the Sabres are playing this year, it doesn’t make me happy to be a Buffalonian – even though I’ve been one all my life. It makes me want to question the intelligence level of those who run the team and why it takes them an eternity to do the right things.

First off, we’ll start with Darcy Regier. Why does Terry Pegula feel the need to keep him? And he’s been here 16 years with only one Cup finals appearance. Secondly, Ron Rolston is a coach who doesn’t seem to care since his level of experience is next to none.

There’s an old saying – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. In my opinion, the Sabres are broken beyond repair.

Paul Nathan Jr.

Cheektowaga

Sabres not capitalizing on their draft picks

Does Sabre management have a breaking point? Why are the young players on other teams better than the Sabres’ young players? Years ago the Sabres had a coach who didn’t know an X from an O, but they played hard, with grit and effort.

I believe Darcy Regier is going in the right direction, but he’s a terrible judge of talent. Replace him with Don Luce.

James Furcoat

Lackawanna

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