Sink the Clippers in the Red Sea

Falmouth vs. Barnstable: It's in Our Blood

Skylar Bowman, Staff Writer

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No one questions why Falmouth football or hockey games bring out more of BHS’ student population than any other game could– the reasoning is obvious: Falmouth is our rival. But there is an answer to the question that no one bothers to ask, and the deep history between Falmouth and Barnstable actually dates back to 1895. Many Barnstable students would agree that on game nights (and possibly in everyday life), Falmouth and Barnstable are true enemies, but why Falmouth? And how has this rivalry changed over time?

Rivalries are all about fun and tradition; they are true tribal face-offs. The Falmouth vs. Barnstable Thanksgiving football game is ranked as the fifth oldest Thanksgiving game in the state of Massachusetts. The rivalry most likely started out of the convenience of where our two towns are located, although it is unknown if there were any actual animosities between the towns in 1895. When our towns chose to play that first game, the tradition was planted and over the years the strong feelings that come with a rooted rivalry took effect, an effect still prevalent in the dynamics of Barnstable High School today. However, the rivalry has had its high and low levels of intensity.

Gregory Hill, former BHS Quarterback and current BHS chemistry teacher, said that the rivalry was a huge part of his family’s Thanksgiving tradition growing up, but that the rivalry was not as strong when he attended high school as it is today; there was even talk of discontinuing the Thanksgiving football game due to low enrollment (yet this was also around the time when Hill helped Barnstable achieve its most lopsided win with a score of 51-0 in 2001).  However the 1990s housed a stronger time for our school rivalry.

“I remember attending games in the mid 90’s and being awe-struck at the atmosphere. Thousands of people from each town would come out to support the teams,” said Hill.

Michelle Netto, former Falmouth student and cheerleader and now english teacher at BHS, would agree with this statement. Student fan sections would trash talk each other and have “who could be louder” contests, said Netto. From a Falmouth perspective, Netto still remembers the negative feelings her and her peers had towards Barnstable students.

“You wouldn’t like a student from Barnstable, simply because they’re from Barnstable,” said Netto, also referring to Barnstable kids back in her day as “snobby”– or at least that they appeared to be.

A similar comment was made towards Falmouth students by BHS student Carly whiteside, current junior and girls varsity basketball player.

“They’re all kind of snobby– they know they’re good,” Whiteside said about Falmouth basketball players.

However, when asked about where Netto’s loyalty lies today, Netto said that her allegiance lies more with Barnstable, although she wouldn’t comment on who she roots for in the Thanksgiving football game.

“I always hope it’s a close game,” said Netto.

Whitney Floren, a former BHS student and baseball player who graduated in 1988, said that he thought of Falmouth students as a competitive opponent and that both side’s competitive edge is what made for such a good rivalry.

In 2018, the rivalry seems to be stronger than ever as masses of Barnstable students this year have showed up for Falmouth football and hockey games, even away ones. The signature phrase “Sink the Clippers” was coined in the early 2000s, said Hill, and while its use has gone in and out of popularity, it is an extremely common chant that is today heard at Falmouth games and printed on shirts and bumper stickers.

Many real emotions stem from rivalries, and since this one formed 123 years ago, it makes sense that Barnstable and Falmouth students carry around a deep generally common dislike for the other. The phases of intensity might fade and grow, but a rivalry that has stood throughout this much time doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon– so definitely keep that “sink the clippers” t-shirt for your great-great grandchildren.