It’s that time of the year in the Pioneer Valley. The arrival of Choate Day brings wild excitement, as well as the commitment to a rivalry that has held strong for decades. In fact, the tradition of traveling down to Walling- ford has been happening for al- most a century, even if it has not always been in Green Machines.
The first football game was played in 1922, when Choate cordially invited Deerfield to Wallingford after the Big Green requested a match.
Letters between Heads of Schools were written with typewriters, Choate’s Manager of Football Mr. F. R. Kellogg writing, “Our athletic association has been carefully considering the matter of the football game which you offered us for October 7, 1922, and we would be very glad to play you in Wallingford on that date.”
An immediate competitive bond lead to the two teams competing annually, with soccer joining the fight in 1930 and cross country in 1948.
The first record of fans traveling to Choate is from 1950, with a schedule describing the entire student body taking a train down to Wallingford.
The Scroll followed the event and described the scene upon arrival: “When the train arrived in Wallingford shortly after the middle of the day, the Deerfield boys lined up behind the Band according to classes.
The seniors came first, followed by the underclassmen in descending order.
It is a number of blocks from the railway station to the Choate campus, and the Deerfield students marched 111 lines of four through town and onto the playing field.
The band drummers rolled out a steady beat to keep the cadence.”
Although there is no more marching, the commitment to the rivalry mirrors Choate week today, the article further describing that, “in preparation for the Cho- ate weekend there was march- ing practice on the previous Friday and the rally that evening.
“Both activities gave the school a greater sense of unity and intensified the school spirit,” it concluded.
In a rally in 1965, Frank Boyden spoke to the beauty of the Deerfield spirit coinciding with school’s intense rivalry with Choate, saying in an address to the student body “Well fellas, this is quite a sight…Now we’ve always been noted for our spirit and support of the teams, and this tonight is one phase of our support of the team. Tomorrow we meet a traditional rival and every fella here is representing Deerfield. I hope everybody makes sure that tomorrow we’ll carry on in the finest traditions of sportsman- ship, which everybody expects from us and from all others in the schools with which we are associated. We oughta have a great day tomorrow, the teams are ready, I think we’re ready, so let’s go!”
This tradition and spirit in every way lives on.
Echoing Mr. Boyden, this year’s Co-Captain Deerfield Bailey Cheetham ’19 says, “I’m excited for a day that we are expected to lose our voices, we are expected to get in Choate’s head, and we are expected to make Choate’s campus our house. Deerfield is ready to roll and Choate doesn’t know what’s coming to Wallingford.”