At last December’s luncheon, Frank Lima, who has coordinated the luncheon for the past 14 years, indicated there was a good possibility that he couldn’t continue in that role and that the addition of the football programs at Kimball High and Millennium High makes it physically impossible to include all four schools.
As Frank’s letter to the editor in today’s edition indicates, Frank has definitely decided that it’s not feasible to continue the luncheon. He stepped up in 1994, after West High inaugurated its varsity football program, to coordinate expansion of what had originally been only the Peter B. Kyne luncheon for Tracy High’s team into a luncheon for what were then Tracy’s two high school football teams.
With two football teams and members of sponsoring service clubs present, the capacity of the Tracy Community Center has been tested. Adding two more football teams would easily exceed that capacity.
That’s only part of the problem. Introduction of individual players — a long tradition — would be impossible in the time allotted. A hurried program would be necessary to cover all four teams.
And, too, Frank has noted diminishing interest and support by members of the four sponsoring service clubs — Tracy Rotary, Breakfast Lions, Kiwanis and Sunrise Rotary. It’s not the big deal it once was for many members of the service clubs, and their dwindling participation has indicated this. I’ve noticed this trend, too.
When Frank first told me last December he was considering pulling the plug on the luncheon, I had hoped some new blood could be infused in the leadership and new ideas advanced, but Frank reports only limited support has been offered.
The only possible solution would be for two luncheons to be conducted, each one hosting two teams. Or perhaps individual events could be staged for each team and sponsored by single service clubs. But that would defeat the purpose of having all the teams together in one community event.
A community-sponsored football awards luncheon has been a Tracy tradition since the late 1920s. Those were the days when a group of San Francisco Bohemian Club members adopted the fledgling Tracy High football program. Over the years, the community football luncheon has been unique in this area of California, if not the entire state. Having a luncheon for two teams has been even more unusual. But some traditions often have to give way to changing circumstances, and that appears to be what’s happening here.
The Peter K. Kyne Trophy at Tracy High and the John C. Kimball Trophy at West High can still be awarded annually to the teams’ most-valuable players, but more likely at team awards nights, which traditionally have been attended by team members and their families.
Unless new ideas and new leadership can be generated, the annual community football luncheon seems ready to take its place in the history books. I can’t think of how many young members of high school teams have been impressed that they were recognized by their hometown — and that was the lasting benefit of the luncheons.
Fortunately, other forms and venues of recognition are still available, and they may be the best our ever-changing community can do.
Is it spring yet?
“Well, that’s the end of the rain.”
I bet I’ve mouthed those words so many times in the past month or so that I can no longer keep count. But this weekend, at least, it looks as though the late, late spring warmth will at long last be with us. Spring will probably last a total of two weeks before the summer heat descends.
The most obvious bright spot in all this wetness is that Tracy’s parks and sports fields have flourished. The periodic rain showers have kept the grass and shrubbery green and growing.
I played a few holes of golf Wednesday (before the rains came) at Tracy Golf & Country Club, and the course never looked better. Brown spots were hard to find, not only in the fairways but throughout the course, and the greens were in perfect shape.
If only that small white ball would go into that elusive cup!
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by e-mail at email@example.com.