Remembering what was Poly vs. City

November 07, 2009 | Paul Hoke

As November has crept up on us, so has the time of year when Baltimore high school sports begins turning it’s attention to some good, old fashioned , classic rivalries.

As a product of the Baltimore City Public Schools, I can honestly say that I couldn’t care less what happens in the Calvert Hall-Loyola game. For they are not the real “Turkey Bowl”. Growing up, going to city schools, we were always told just how much better those private school kids were. So, if it were up to me, the “Turkey Bowl” would end 0-0 with both teams tucking in their collared shirts into their khaki pants, and slinking off into the night. But I digress.

I went to the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Poly) from 1990-1992, before I was, asked to leave, for reasons that I keep only to myself. But during that time, I had the opportunity to be a part off, both on and off the field, in the Poly-City rivalry. What made it more special, was that my dad was a 1966 graduate of Baltimore City College…which is one of the reasons I chose Poly as my high school of choice. As I think back on it, almost 20 years later, I can’t believe I was actually accepted into the school, let alone, strap on the helmet of the almighty Engineers. Which is why I post this blog. Why has this game become such an after thought?

Anyone who knows anything about Baltimore high school sports, knows that the Poly-City game was THE game of the football season. There was no other matchup that compared to Poly-City. Even when I was at Lake Clifton, there was no game that matched the Poly-City factor…even when we played Northern. Who stunk, by the way, I don’t care what the final score was. But what has happened over the years? Is it because our beloved Memorial Stadium is gone? I don’t know, but there is just something that is missing. Something just isn’t the same. Maybe it’s because Calvert Hall-Loyola has become the hot ticket. I don’t know. I guess, that’s where the money is.

All I can say is that I can remember when there was no greater rivalry then Poly-City. Those games meant something. I can remember my dad sitting on the City side of Memorial, even as his son was lining up for Poly. That’s what it used to mean. That’s what it used to be. It was generational, at least for those of us who grew up in the city. And we all wish, that it could be the way it used to be. We miss Memorial, and the kids she gave birth to.