Under a cloudless October sky, Saturday’s Homecoming unfolded with cheering crowds, thrilling games, food truck fun, and the dedication of the school’s new athletic complex, consisting of two state-of-the-art turf fields, new scoreboards, and a pavilion.
Standing in front of that new pavilion, Head of School Ned Parsons addressed the crowd just before the start of the football game against St. Mark’s. “Each time I step foot on these new fields I am filled with an enormous sense of gratitude for all the people who worked so hard to bring this project to fruition,” said Parsons. “In sports, teamwork is everything. Teams that achieve at the highest level are teams made up of skilled people who know how to work together, how to bring out the best in one another, who share a common passion, and persevere in order to achieve a shared goal.
“I feel fortunate here at Rivers to be part of a community that is filled with people who know how to be great teammates,” Parsons continued. “And I want to offer a heartfelt thank-you to all the people who were part of the team that brought this facility into existence. This is a project that went from planning to fundraising to completion in under 10 months. It truly represents an amazing accomplishment and an impressive display of teamwork.”
Earlier, students, parents, faculty, and friends of Rivers (along with their many canine companions) had gathered alongside new Baker Field to cheer on the varsity girls’ varsity soccer team in its 2-1 win against Milton Academy. “We’re taking the hill,” one student declared as a large group made its way to the gentle rise topped by the new scoreboards—the ideal vantage point for viewing Baker Field and the adjacent new Davis Field just about simultaneously.
Over at the pavilion, spectators warmed up with bowls of chili and New England clam chowder; other spectators did the opposite with treats from an ice cream truck. A little later, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese truck pulled up, and long lines soon formed for the signature sandwiches and truffle tater tots. Business was brisk at a pop-up store selling Rivers spirit gear, meeting the demand for an array of items featuring Rivers’s new athletic logo.
At 3:00, the football team took the field. As the players ran past, they rubbed the beak of the new Rickie Red Wing sculpture, unveiled a day earlier, at the entrance. The newest campus ritual, meant to bring athletes good luck, seems to be working, as the team pulled off a come-from-behind 20-12 victory after being down 12-0 at halftime.
On the sidelines, old friends greeted one another, reconnecting in the true sense of Homecoming. And it wouldn’t be Homecoming without the presence of Bob Cleverdon ’40, who at age 97 still rarely misses a home game. Cleverdon was surrounded by well-wishers as he watched events from atop the scoreboard hill.
It was a picture-perfect Homecoming, and director of alumni engagement Marc Stroum ’98 spoke for the whole community later when he summed up the day: “Every Rivers person who was there had a blast.”