Nicholas Dalferes has been across the John Curtis soccer program lengthy sufficient to affiliate Thanksgiving with one thing aside from turkey and mashed potatoes.
As a substitute, the senior offensive lineman appears to be like ahead to the donuts and scorching chocolate.
Most years, these might be discovered close to the sideline through the Patriots’ 8 am walkthrough and special-teams instruction on Thanksgiving morning.
Final season, there was none. Curtis failed to achieve the third week of the highschool soccer playoffs for the primary time since 1992, which made advancing to the state quarterfinal spherical this season much more significant.
This week, No. 3 Curtis (9-2) will face No. 6 CE Byrd (8-3) in a choose Division I quarterfinal set for 7 pm Friday at Yenni Stadium.
“It was bizarre,” mentioned Dalferes, whose older brother, Joseph, additionally performed soccer earlier than he graduated in 2020. “One thing felt prefer it was lacking (final 12 months), not doing something on Thanksgiving.”
He missed greater than the donuts and scorching chocolate. Additionally lacking have been the handfuls of former gamers who return to the varsity each Thanksgiving to observe observe after which comply with coach JT Curtis into the varsity health club for a devotional.
It is a custom that started in 1975, the primary time Curtis superior to the third week of the state soccer playoffs. When morning observe that Thanksgiving ended, the coach had his gamers collect within the health club so he may lead them in a brief prayer service. The Patriots went on to win the state championship.
The following 12 months, Curtis once more superior to the quarterfinal spherical of the state soccer playoffs, which meant the group would maintain one other observe on Thanksgiving morning. That 12 months, a number of seniors from the earlier group arrived so they may watch observe and take part within the prayer.
The next 12 months, it occurred once more. Solely this time attendance grew to incorporate the previous two lessons of graduated soccer gamers.
Practically 50 years have handed since.
“It is a massive a part of our Thanksgiving,” mentioned Chris Stropolo, a former quarterback who graduated in 1978 and whose youthful brother, Brian, and son, Chris Jr., additionally performed for Curtis.
Former gamers view the event as one thing greater than an opportunity to reminisce. In addition they see it as an opportunity for present gamers to raised perceive the neighborhood that has fashioned round Curtis soccer and its different athletic packages.
“The younger gamers do not understand but how vital this explicit Thursday morning is,” mentioned Stropolo, a beginning quarterback when Curtis received a second state title in 1977. “They discover out at a later time what it is all about and so they grow to be part of it.”
Curtis absolutely is not the one college to have annual traditions that encompass the successes achieved by its most distinguished sports activities group. However for this annual gathering to occur — for thus many former gamers to incorporate this amongst their common vacation actions — the varsity should obtain a sure stage of sustained success.
Curtis alumni can rely on one hand the variety of occasions the soccer group failed since 1975 to achieve the third week of the state playoffs.
“There was an empty feeling,” coach JT Curtis mentioned about how he felt not having a Thanksgiving observe final season. “Not solely since you weren’t taking part in, however since you did miss that custom. It was one thing you look ahead to and hope you have got the chance to do yearly. It was laborious not having it.”
This 12 months, the message from the longtime coach — now in his 54th season — generally is a easy one. One thing about not taking without any consideration the factor that for thus a few years has been an expectation.
That is actually a purpose to provide thanks.