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Resumption of Paly-Gunn series not happening this year

Original post made on Sep 2, 2021

Palo Alto and Gunn were originally set to play this week in a game that would've been of significant interest to the community as well as a renewal of the series between the two Palo Alto public high schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 5:18 PM

Comments (34)

Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 2, 2021 at 8:53 pm

Samuel L is a registered user.

How classy of Gifford to call an opposing coach a coward for trying to protect his players.

In June of this year the city of Palo Alto recognized Coach Miller for his work on and off the field. In part, the recognition read, "We recognize and applaud Jason Miller for his excellence in leadership, coaching, ethics, commitment and character."

Maybe Gifford should be using Miller as a role model instead of calling him names to boost his own ego.

Paly football has not been what would be called a stellar program since Gifford took over and the athletic department, in general, is a disaster.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2021 at 8:05 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] The great Ronnie Lott once said, 'you don't live your life in fear of getting hurt.' Gunn would have matched up well v. Paly last year, and those Seniors who never lost will always wonder 'why weren't we allowed to even try'? Even now, Max Preps lists Gunn in the 500's in CA, so had they gone up like their less-fearful former conference opponent Homestead (now at 450), they would be ranked now ahead of Milpitas (621) and relatively the same as Carlmont and Santa Clara (also in the 500's). Don't we try to instill in our kids to 'dream big'/you can do anything if you work hard enough, especially with others?'

I like Coach Miller. But Gunn should have aspired to go up.


Posted by Tyler Cannon
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 6, 2021 at 9:00 am

Tyler Cannon is a registered user.

Ranked in the 500s out of how many active and participating high school football teams throughout California?

Having gone to Mater Dei in SoCal, a 500+ state ranking would have gotten the coach fired.

Now curious...if Gunn is currently at a 500+ CA state ranking, what does this amount to in terms of a national ranking?

In the 2000s+?


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2021 at 9:37 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

There is this thinking, which is very limiting to kids, that you can't do this and you can't do that because adults say so. You're on THIS side of Oregon Expressway, sorry, you can't really be a football player, you should build a robot. I dissent to this thinking. You learn to be better by playing better not worse. What motivation/lesson is Coach Miller teaching now? See how we lost our first game? I was right! My team isn't that good. Bad lesson.

Think back to you best job. Were you nervous to apply? how about that first day of work? But you did it anyway, you didn't regret 'going for it'. Playing Paly is not playing Mater Dei. However, it'much better than playing Cupertino HS or Gunderson...


Posted by Vance Johnson
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2021 at 10:12 am

Vance Johnson is a registered user.

What is the state ranking for Los Altos High School varsity football?

Cupertino is currently ranked #797 in the state so for all intents and purposes, Gunn should have beaten them.

And besides, Cupertino High School is more known for scholastic achievement than football prowess.

Paly is ranked #297 in the state and with Gunn at 500+ a football game of this nature might have been somewhat unbalanced to begin with.

Nevertheless, the two Palo Alto high school teams should have an opportunity to play against each other regardless of a potentially lopsided score.

Watching one team get clobbered can be very entertaining and besides, midpeninsula prep football (with the possible exception of teams like St. Francis and Serra) isn't exactly Friday Night Lights.

Just let the kids play and have some fun.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2021 at 10:35 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

Even in Pop Warner, strength of schedule scores points. In fact, Paly moved up 13 spots by losing to (but scoring twice on) Serra. Rankings true aren't everything, as for example, #440 Mitty just beat #225 Mountain View. These things happen if you 'let the kids play and have fun'--as Mr. Johnson said.


Posted by Patti Johnston
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2021 at 11:37 am

Patti Johnston is a registered user.

- Just let the kids play and have some fun.

Absolutely and better yet, don't keep score. Just let the kids play regardless of the outcome and then head over to Round Table for pizza.


Posted by Morgan
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 6, 2021 at 7:18 pm

Morgan is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2021 at 10:02 pm

S. Underwood is a registered user.

Oh my gosh can we stop the Weekly's obsession with football. There are dozens of other arts, competitions, and (yes) sports that don't give our kids brain damage and are equally (if not more) popular in our community that get a fraction of the press-play here.

I feel like I'm in Texas waiting for all these old white guys to join the 21st century where we want to grow brains rather than give them CTE. Sure football isn't all bad, but get some perspective!


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2021 at 5:58 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Posted by Betsy Winters
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2021 at 7:36 am

Betsy Winters is a registered user.

My son is not the brightest lightbulb but he loves playing high school football and dreams of someday playing for the Pittsburg Steelers as a defensive end.

He can barely sustain a C- average and hopefully he can get a walk-on opportunity at a football college that places minimal emphasis on academics.

His off-hours are devoted to physical training at the gym and he watches hours of game film in his spare time.

In some ways he is an idiot savant from the standpoint that he has a brilliant football mind but he is very non-academic so to speak.

Not everyone can be a rocket scientist and having the natural/inert ability to rush, intimidate, and destroy a QB is a valuable asset to have as well.

It also pays more (if one is fortunate enough to make it to the NFL) and professional football players tend to have better looking wives and girlfriends than rocket scientists or computer nerds.

Having a good-looking girlfriend is also very important to him along with her having a pleasant and non-confrontational temperament.

And as parents we back him 100% in these endeavors and aspirations.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2021 at 8:00 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

You see in the South, football is kind of like religion in that it promotes community. I wonder if Covid is bringing out the worst tendencies in Californians, that of brittle divisive isolating self-righteousness, social-warrioring from basements to criticize football and red states snd those who dare not wear their masks in the bathtub. ? Modern-day California has no community that unites you see. Why not allow football for those who like it? Will your whole foods friends become angry and belittle you about it when you see them in the non-gluten section and what not?


Posted by Buzz In Woodside
a resident of Woodside
on Sep 7, 2021 at 8:32 am

Buzz In Woodside is a registered user.

> Modern-day California has no community that unites you see. Why not allow football for those who like it?

@John B. Sails/a resident of Midtown

I suspect that the general indifference towards prep football is more of a midpeninsula mindset as there are some noteworthy football communities in and around the delta region.

In SoCal (most notably Orange and San Diego counties) high school football is very BIG and many professional players got their start playing serious high school sports whether in football or baseball.

Silicon Valley tends to be an adolescent wuss-land because of its intense high-tech focus and countless non-athletic activities and offerings.

All of which is OK but...

The parents of these children are often cut from the same cloth as too many of them tend to be focused on promoting pseudo enlightenment via a false sense of self-esteem because they themselves feel inadequate or resentful towards beautiful women and athletic individuals who have succeeded in their chosen career paths.


Posted by Luanne Harris
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 7, 2021 at 10:29 am

Luanne Harris is a registered user.

Rugby is another sport that is concussion related and fortunately this game is not played on the high school level.

Potential injuries are a part of any athletic activity and subjecting adolescents to various kinds of risky athletic outlets is both irresponsible and reckless.

Football should only be played when a minor becomes an adult as it now becomes an adult decision.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2021 at 10:52 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Tristan Rogers
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 7, 2021 at 11:47 am

Tristan Rogers is a registered user.

Sports participation should be openly discussed between parents and their children with certain veto options.

There are countless 'burn-outs' due to some parents pushing their children too far in the competitive process.

Sports participation at a young age should be fun and not drudgery or with any ulterior motives.

The vapid red state pro- mentality towards high school football is primarily due to a lack of other promising and fulfilling recreational options and opportunities.

This is to be expected or anticipated.

BTW...I am originally from Bakersfield (Kevin McCarthy-R land) where constructively thinking for oneself is not an option or consideration.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2021 at 12:13 pm

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Muriel Pettibon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Muriel Pettibon is a registered user.

Goodness...I went to college when football players on all levels still wore leather helmets with no faceguards.

It was the same with ice hockey

Men/boys were real men back in those days and a few missing front teeth was a badge of courage and sports honor.

And while concussions were an occasional by-product of these activities,
people did not live as long in those days so this medical factor was not an issue to be overly concerned with.

Kids need to get out and play sports if they want to regardless of the safety hazards.

Real women respect real men who have the courage and athletic skills to do so.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2021 at 7:42 pm

John B. Sails is a registered user.

There are so many activities that overly protective worry-warts can use the word 'dangerous' to describe, not just football and rugby and ice hockey, but skateboarding and surfing and skiing. The problem is, like when you first begin to drive on the freeway, you are not good at it until you keep practicing doing it. You learn to appreciate the potential danger and you avoid it. Right? The same is often true of football. The max-bubble wrap people who advocate mass bans on kids engaging in these activities are in effect, going to cause more injuries if successful in their odd social engineering demands and people have to wait until adulthood to even begin. and speaking of driving, should we ban people under 18 from doing that too, Ms. Harris above? Lots more people die from driving than football.


Posted by Jason Tarrick
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 8, 2021 at 9:08 am

Jason Tarrick is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

Maybe they can play/fulfill the game via a modified John Madden football app...the last I heard, there are many talented computer whizzes in Palo Alto.

And no one gets hurt!


Posted by staying home
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2021 at 2:00 pm

staying home is a registered user.

"It also pays more (if one is fortunate enough to make it to the NFL) and professional football players tend to have better looking wives and girlfriends than rocket scientists or computer nerds.

Having a good-looking girlfriend is also very important to him along with her having a pleasant and non-confrontational temperament." - Betsy Winters

This is joke right?

To help set your expectations, here are all the players that made it to the NFL from Palo Alto:
List of Palo Alto (6) and Gunn (0) HS students that made it to NFL, six in nearly 80 years.:

Player Pos Teams From To
Davante Adams WR GNB 2014 2020
KeeSean Johnson WR ARI 2019 2020
Drew Hodgdon C HOU 2005 2007
Jim Harbaugh QB CHI,IND,BAL,SDG 1987 2000
Larry Bailey DT ATL 1974 1974
Hank Norberg E SFO,CHI 1946 1948
Web Link

Average time in the NFL is 3.3 years.
Web Link
It's one thing to support a dream, its another thing bet on winning the lottery. Given your comments, I wonder if your student athlete invested the same amount of time in academics as sports what the results would be?

This story should have been about how two coaches allowed their ego's to get in the way of their teams playing each other. The problems with high school rivalries are frequently not a problem with the players, but more with the fans and coaching staffs. See Palo Alto vs Los Gatos from a couple years ago.


Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2021 at 3:28 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

@staying home

Point(s) well taken BUT playing professionally in the MLB, NFL, NBA, PGA etc. even for a short period of time seems far more appealing than being a rocket scientist or computer nerd.

And the same could be said of being a rock musician.

And yes, most have attractive (and expensive) wives and girlfriends...why not?

Tom Brady (Serra High) is a prime example + his longevity in the NFL dispels your 3.3 year NFL career average. The key is not to get seriously injured and to have a juggernaut offensive line.

That said, most kids should buckle down and get a good education or trade.

BTW...it's Keyshawn Johnson.


Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2021 at 3:36 pm

S. Underwood is a registered user.

@staying home -- I just assumed it was a joke. Together with the other comments about beautiful women and social status surrounding sports, it's either a joke or a sliver of Americana that's best just ignored as it slowly erodes away. Some folks think football teams and frats are essential forces of gold ol USA social fabric. So be it.

My point was only about level of coverage. We've got more kids per grade level in PASA (swimming) and various club soccer than football by far. As I said before, footballs not all bad... the Weekly's just got the old white guy bias for this thing. We keep hiring old white football coaches to run our district, too.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 9, 2021 at 6:25 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by staying home
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 9, 2021 at 9:53 am

staying home is a registered user.

the fact that Tom Brady has had a long career doesn't dispel the fact that NFL careers average 3.3 years. That's how statistics work, one data point doesn't prove a rule for the data set. Even with a long career, watcha going to do at age 30? 35? 40?

Its kinda offensive that the opposite of a star athlete is a "rocket scientist or computer nerd", feels like some here are still stuck in 80's.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 9, 2021 at 10:20 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Me
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 9, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Me is a registered user.

I'm a parent who graduated from Paly and with two children who graduated from Paly. All of us have played on Paly's sports teams. Back when I was at Paly, the students had normal social skills. Now? Palo Alto is too expensive, thus, the families in town are academically driven, less athletic talent. These families are not the types to watch professional sports or attend tailgates. Their children are awkward with their social skills, they don't know how to properly socialize or even know to say "Hi". Of course, technology has affected their social skills too. Joining a sports team is where one can find the students who socialize appropriately and these are good skills for the future. However, most of the students who play sports here are not the stereotypical athletes, they still have nerdier personalities. Nice kids, no doubt, we have virtually no problems will bullying (even homosexuality is accepted on campus) but on the negative side, most of the students who play sports at Paly are doing it for either noting it on their college applications or to "just have fun". Most do not work on their sport outside of the Paly campus, which doesn't help the team. This is frustrating because it affects the team competition, as weak links hurt the scoreboard. And to those who say, "Just have fun", how is it fun if you keep screwing up? What kind of work ethic are you teaching your children? They should do their best in every aspect of life.

Newsflash: Academic success doesn't necessarily lead to career success. There are plenty of elite and Ivy League graduates in town who have mediocre careers; there is always the bottom half of the class. Hiring is based upon personality too. In fact, most of the successful (financial, as a measurement) have amiable personalities.


Posted by Lucinda Jackson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 10, 2021 at 7:24 am

Lucinda Jackson is a registered user.

"Its kinda offensive that the opposite of a star athlete is a "rocket scientist or computer nerd", feels like some here are still stuck in 80's."

We have enough computer nerds in this country whether they are professional or amateur.

And as for rocket scientists, remember the old adage that it doesn't take one?

What we do need during these trying times and if only for the sake of entertainment, are more electrifying athletes (in any field) who can distract us from the harsher realities of everyday life.

A rocket scientist or computer nerd is incapable of such fetes as we are now 'stuck in' the 2020s.

And while few high school football players will ever become the next Tom Brady or Joe Montana, why not let them aspire to be for a short time in their lives?


Posted by Jake Turner
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 10, 2021 at 7:51 am

Jake Turner is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Errol Jensen
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 11, 2021 at 10:59 am

Errol Jensen is a registered user.

Extra curricular sports should always remain an option for high school students so inclined and/or interested.

And for the disinterested, a series of mandatory physical fitness requirements should be established for all non-disabled high school students in order for them to graduate.

Physical fitness is just as important as scholastic acumen and it appears that many Gen Z high school students are lacking in this area.

Both aerobic and anaerobic fitness parameters should be established by the PAUSD with basic running and strength capabilities required of all students unless they are physically disabled.

As a former Marine officer, I have witnessed the degradation of adolescent physical fitness over the past few decades and even went so far as to send both of my children to summer sports-fitness
camps where they were subjected to a rigorous regimen of running, swimming, and weight training combined with the promotion of healthier eating habits.

Today they are in top shape and ready for any physical activity or outlet they may wish to pursue.

In retrospect, I was determined not to raise a couple of weenies perpetually tied to their smartphones and constantly looking for the easy way out as many modern day parents have seemed to opt towards these days.


Posted by Lt.C. Brock Taylor (retired USMC)
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 11, 2021 at 12:12 pm

Lt.C. Brock Taylor (retired USMC) is a registered user.

@Errol Jensen/a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

Semper Fi...most of these pampered high school kids in Palo Alto would make lousy Marines from the standpoint of even defending their own city in a time of war.

Too coddled by their parents...sad.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 12, 2021 at 8:44 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jane Forrest
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2021 at 9:21 am

Jane Forrest is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


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