Raiders Program Alum 'Dismayed, Disheartened' by Rumored Change
Former Raiders cheerleader, mother of player says football program has no good reason to change colors or uniform.
As a long-time resident of Washington Township, having moved here in 1977, I have been dismayed and disheartened to learn that the Long Valley Raiders Football Association is considering changing the mascot and colors of the long-standing program to align with those of West Morris Central High School.
The Long Valley Raiders have a long and proud tradition dating back to 1972, started by a group of local families dedicated to providing their young boys and girls with a recreational football and cheerleading program, one that continues to flourish today. I was a Long Valley Raiders Cheerleader and have fond memories of practicing and cheering for our players at the Long Valley Middle School fields and of the day I received my jacket which I still have!
For many of us, it is a part of what it means to be from Long Valley and a tradition that binds generations together here. My son played Raiders football for 9 years, his dad was his first flag coach, my daughters were cheerleaders and I coached them as well. I always feel a surge of pride and excitement driving past Rock Spring Park on Saturdays and Sundays and look at the sea of Green and Gold and the giant Raiders banner on the press box.
This does not mitigate my pride in being a West Morris Alum.
I also cheered proudly for the Wolfpack as does my sister today and I had tears in my eyes the first time I saw my son in his freshman football uniform wearing the Blue and Gray. I think we are a town that embraces both traditions, the Raiders being a rite of passage for our kids. I'd like to see it continue and so far haven't heard any compelling reason for the change and I think many agree.
Jen Burgener Deo
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