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Potato Chips and a Beer


The Youth Football and Cheerleading program has been sponsored by the Mitchell Memorial Club of Middleboro for the past 34 years. The Mitchell Memorial Club is a private club established and named in honor of Paul and Irving Mitchell,  brothers from Middleboro, Massachusetts, who gave their lives during WWII.  Mitchell Memorial Club is dedicated to promoting sports and is active in the community of Middleboro.  The Mitchell Memorial Club Youth Football and Cheerleading Program is a beneficiary of that dedication and generosity.  But, before the Mitchell Memorial Club Cougars started more than 30 years ago, there was...

Mitchell Memorial Club... A Living Memorial
My grandfather was rough, tough, and as poor as a church mouse. His name was the Middleboro Town Team. He took on the best there was around on the football field, and measured up to any of them. Strictly a rag-tag sandlot setting with make-do uniforms, scant on the practice sessions and matters of “getting in shape.” He was born very early in the 20th century and passed on in the mid Thirties.

My father was just as rough and tough, but not quite as up against it financially. His name was the Middleboro Varsity Club, born in the year 1939. He was the terror of his time, a true titan of the gridiron, and in two years of battle, he lost but one game. His claim to the district championship was unquestioned. He was strictly in a class by himself. Uncle Sam called him to duty to take part in a deadlier contest called WW II and football, cleats, and helmets were laid aside. In remarkable fashion, although the four corners of the world were the geographical limits, somehow, someway, communications remained intact and a certain spirit de corps prevailed until the grim business was settled.

I was born in the spirit of jubilance and eternal sadness that was the aftermath of the war. It was 1946. Irving and Paul Mitchell were not elected to survive the battle and so I was chosen to pick up the football, don the cleats and helmet and carry on their perfect example of good sportsmanship, community concern, and the welfare of the adults of Middleboro’s future, the children. I was called the Mitchell Memorial Club and my uniform of maroon and gray found its home in the winner’s circle whatever the sport, be it football, baseball, basketball, hockey, track, golf, etc. In 1963, I moved into my grand quarters fit for the champion that I am, perennial conqueror of the Boston Park League teams and all others in the state. The title of Massachusetts Semi-Professional Football Champion was mine.

Times change and one must adapt to the change or perish. Professional football, television in the living room, and the staggering costs of operating independent sports effected a gradual, systematic collapse of Semi-Pro clubs and it became necessary to travel further and further to schedule games, oftentimes out of state, playing before sparse crowds and beating the teams so badly that the return home game would be cancelled. Reluctantly, after a stubborn stand that saw me standing alone in the arena, I yielded.

But here I am, still to be found, promoting the virtues of Irving and Paul. The future of the world, country, and of Middleboro lies with our youth and so today, in the sponsoring of such activities as Pee Wee and Midget Football, etc., I carry on the tradition…..

For the past six years, a local group of former high school, college, and professional athletes, along with a few who had never played organized sports, banded together as the Middleboro Cobras and participated in the Eastern Football League, establishing a winning record which surely seemed fitting to those who considered them to be following in the footsteps of the Mitchell Memorial Club. The players individually purchase their equipment and insurance. There is no pay-for-play; it is strictly “football for the love of the game.”

In a manner of speaking, a rounding out of the circle occurred when the Cobras requested the Mitchell Memorial Club support their franchise and on the 18th of January 1979, the general membership overwhelmingly voted to sponsor the team, under the banner of the Mitchell Memorial Club Cobras.

Having established a winning attitude, a reputation for clean, hard-hitting football, and gentlemanly qualities on the field and in the community, made them eligible to officially carry on the tradition of The Mitchell Memorial Club, which is primarily to always serve as worthy examples to the youth of our town.                                                                                                                        

Francis Murphy

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