Editorial: What is pride? It costs nothing. It’s free, but it’s not easy

What is pride?

It costs nothing in money. Anyone can have it. They just have to self-reflect, establish principles and live by those principles at all cost. It’s free, but isn’t easy.

Certainly for as long as there has been man, there has been pride in oneself and what one represents. Pride in a family name, pride in a culture, pride in our record, pride in our town, state and country borders.

Pride is taking stock in what belongs to us — something that we or our ancestors have fought hard for and is now bequeathed upon us to maintain.

Such is the foundation of the rivalry between New Canaan and Darien football teams.

It is easy to dismiss football as just a game. But in Darien especially — it’s not just a game — it’s a tradition steeped in loyalty, pride, family, friendship, strength and camaraderie. It’s a chance for us to bond and forget the rest, so we can remember the best.

However, this year the Turkey Bowl was marred with a rivalry gone wrong.

Again.

There are many swirls and rumors around the arrests of at least two of Darien’s biggest football stars last Wednesday evening, the night before ‘“The Big Game.”

This left the team without at least two (and three with another starter sitting out) on Thursday morning and to the Blue Wave’s first loss in more than three years.

Despite the questions raised surrounding circumstances of this incident and arrest, and the timing, the bottom line is that certain facts are documented by New Canaan Police.

There was a violent incident at a home in New Canaan that involved at least one, if not more, Darien students

There is no comment on whether the incident was Turkey Bowl-related, officially. But given the circumstances, it’s not a far leap to assume.

So instead of many families looking forward eagerly to a fun family tradition, social media was astir over what exactly happened and why, and the repeated question — “Will they play?”

Citing FERPA, school officials released a statement but did not comment on the status of the players or discipline.

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and is a federal law that was enacted in 1974. FERPA protects the privacy of student education records.

Let’s be clear, regardless of any other circumstances, the Darien students were wrong to engage in any kind of violent response if what police allege is proven in court. And it isn’t the first time that the Turkey Bowl rivalry has resulted in unfortunate headlines and an embarrassing portrayal of Darien.

Nothing is wrong with a rivalry. Nothing is wrong with approaching competition with fervor and striving for excellence. It should be celebrated, especially on a family holiday like Thanksgiving.

We as a community can’t control what our surrounding towns do.

What we can do is make sure our efforts to defend Blue Wave pride, in any form, never fall short of making our residents, families, school and community proud.