Football is an Evansville Thanksgiving tradition

Local Sports

 

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Football and Thanksgiving go together like turkey and stuffing. It’s American tradition. When you look closer at our part of America, it can be argued Evansville is one of the reasons the fourth Thursday in November is celebrated by throwing around the pigskin.

In the NFL playing football on Thanksgiving Day, is considered a major spotlight. Everyone is watching. But before TV, on Thanksgiving, football belonged to high schools.

“You always knew well in advance who was playing for the Thanksgiving game,” said Willard Library historian Stan Schmitt.

Dating back nearly 100 years, often times the best football matchups of the season were saved for Bosse Field on Thanksgiving Day.

“That was kind of the finale there for years. That was the big game you played on Thanksgiving. Whether it was a Championship type game or you know the two big rivals in the area. It was one of those well attended games then. People turned out,” added Schmitt.

More than just about the game, it was something the family did together. One of these biggest social events of the year with some attending the game, worried very little about its outcome.

“This is when you had the cheerleaders, and the cheer squads, and everybody went along with them,” said Schmitt.

The holiday for decades worked as a major homecoming event for Evansville schools.

“I remember reading an article from the 30’s that talked about getting a direct highway to Indianapolis. Of course, it took 70 years,” said Evansville high school football historian Dan Engler.

For some it’s been 6 decades, but as they recall Thanksgiving in the city, football comes to mind, and the smells fill their memories.

“People would come back home and get up that morning. That’s all you could smell was the sage and whatever that morning. People were cooking all over the community and getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner. You’d be up early going up to the school, Lincoln Field,” said Lincoln High School graduate George Flowers.

A lot of traditions come alive each year on Thanksgiving, and for many this holiday weekend, just as they always have, football may be the most important one.

“A lot of people that left home and graduated from Lincoln, they came back for that day. It was a big day. Every year Thanksgiving was a big day,” said former Lincoln High School fullback James Anderson.

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