Wayland versus Weston rivalry in sports


Credit: Julia Raymond

Senior Timmy Goodfellow is shedding off a receiver to look and make a tackle. Wayland and Weston football are known for playing their yearly rivalry game on Thanksgiving. “This past fall we played our 85th annual Thanksgiving Day Football game,” Weston Athletic Director Michael McGrath said.

Lauren Medeiros

The Wayland community is familiar with the rivalry between Wayland and Weston, which is seen mainly through high school sports. This competitive culture has increased over the past few years, making Wayland-Weston sporting events more popular for students, faculty and parents to attend.

The rivalry can be traced back to more than 85 years ago, when the annual Thanksgiving Wayland versus Weston football game began.

“When you go back in history, both football teams have always been playing on Thanksgiving, so that’s one of the main reasons the rivalry was fueled,” Wayland Athletic Director Heath Rollins said.

Another key factor in the rivalry is the closeness between the Wayland and Weston communities, [because] the two are neighboring towns, there is lots of pressure on each to exceed the other.

“You are always comparing yourselves to your closest towns. Wayland and Weston have similar size schools, and a similar make up in the town,” Rollins said. “It’s really just your neighbors you are comparing yourself against, so you can strive to the next level.”

While the common notion is shared that Wayland Weston sports games are all about competition and no class, the annual Thanksgiving football game shows the different relationship the football community has.

“Weston has a special place in everyone’s season, because they are our traditional rivals, but a lot of those games you already know the outcome or can guess it before you start,” Rollins said. “I know with football Weston isn’t really a rival, it’s more Concord Carlisle. Those are the games when they win one year and we win the next. That’s when you see the anticipation and excitement, as fans and players mark it on their schedules.”

Over time, the Wayland Weston rivalry has grown because many athletes played sports together at a youth level, and even crew and girls hockey combine both towns together. Many of the athletes have also become familiar through playing club sports.

“There are a lot of clubs where they know each other, and you see more often after games key players on both teams go over to talk to each other,” Rollins said. “The co-op teams with the girls Warcat Hockey [as well as] crew bridge that gap. It [combines] a lot of common traits between these schools.”

While high school sports are competitive on their own, Rollins believes rivalry opponents intensify the competition on another level.

“Having a rivalry intensifies the game and makes it more exciting to watch, to see who steps up when the pressure is raised,” Rollins said. “In athletics, it’s going to happen throughout your life when you’re working under pressure and trying to do something. Athletics really show you who’s gonna step up in those big moments and that’s a skill you’re going to learn and carry throughout your life.”

The games often attract a larger crowd of people as many fans want to support their town.

“In each game involving a rivalry, everyone from players, to coaches to spectators are a little more invested in the games,” Weston athletic director Mike McGrath said.

While rivalries commonly cause drama and conflict, there are some unseen benefits from these competitive games.

“I think [rivalries] are a great thing,” McGrath said. “Almost every high school has a rival school that when you play those games, they have a little extra meaning to them; there is a little more excitement in the school as well as in the community.”

As Wayland continues to play Weston in sports year after year, it’s important to keep a healthy and friendly rivalry going.

“A rivalry is important for both schools, and I hope it continues for many years to come,” McGrath said.