Paraphrasing a famous quote, “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” While that quote was an admonition, perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad to repeat some of Norwich’s football history.
Seventy-six years ago, Norwich’s 1937 football team went unbeaten and unscored on. Since that time, only one other Norwich football team has completed a full season with a perfect record, the 1952 gridiron gang. That ’52 club did give up some points, but not many, and it was one of the six honorees at the third annual Norwich High School Sports Hall of Fame banquet, held Saturday evening at Canasawacta Country Club.
These gentlemen were a little older than my father, but were, indeed, his contemporaries. My uncle Bud Sheehan was a letter winner on that club when earning a varsity letter really meant something, and my Aunt Mary Sheehan (Pires) was a classmate of the seniors on the championship squad. I have a special fondness for the ’52 club because of the family connection, but also because one of the great sports editors in our newspaper’s history, Bob Van Tine, was also enshrined in the 2013 class.
As was said at the banquet many times, they don’t make ‘em like Bob Van Tine anymore, and you would be hard-pressed to find a similar collection of athletes on par with the group of men that comprised the 1952 squad. Van Tine and those gridiron greats are inexorably linked.