Through this wild and crazy ride we call 2020, add another thing to the list of things I won’t take for granted anymore: rivalry games.
I wasn’t optimistic that we were going to see many, if any, showdowns between our local high schools this fall. There were times that it didn’t look promising, to say the least. Sure, we got the summer-league baseball games between Tooele and Stansbury, but even those didn’t feel quite right.
But Tooele vs. Grantsville on the gridiron under the Friday-night lights this week? You mean, a rivalry that dates clear back to 1915? That’s more like it.
It should be a barn-burner out in Grantsville on Friday night. These are two programs at different points in their progression. Grantsville is near the top of Class 3A, while Tooele is looking to climb back into contention after some down years. Grantsville’s had bragging rights the past couple seasons, and Tooele could get a big confidence boost from beating a team favored to be in the Class 3A title conversation.
But I have a gut feeling there’s going to be a little different feel to this one. At least I hope there is. Yes, there will be a winner and a loser, complete with a traveling trophy that will live in the trophy case of Tooele High or Grantsville High for the next year. Sixty previous meetings over the past 105 seasons make it easy for the two fanbases to build a sizable amount of contempt against each other, one that knows no generational bounds.
But after all we’ve been through this year — all we’ve had taken away from us — won’t it be nice to see the two largest incorporated cities in Tooele County come together for a night and experience the joys of watching our youth do what they love for a few hours? The amount of stuff going on in the world around us is enough to bring a person to his or her knees. It’s going to be great to have a tradition as simple as a high school football rivalry game give all of us a sense of normalcy.
And if you thought that Friday night was good, wait until you see what the rest of the schedule has in store. Thursday had the Grantsville-Tooele volleyball match, with Stansbury-Grantsville coming up Tuesday. Stansbury and Tooele meet on the volleyball court for the first time Sept. 1, and on the soccer pitch Sept. 8. Grantsville faced Tooele in tennis on Tuesday and faces Stansbury on Friday. Stansbury and Tooele play football Sept. 11 and tennis Sept. 15.
These games always have that little something extra to them, both on the field and in the stands.
I can’t wait.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. The only thing he hasn’t liked about having high school sports back is having to be out in the heat. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.