On Friday, the North Massachusetts squad topped its South Massachusetts counterparts in the 2011 Shriners Hospital High School Football All-Star Game, 17-14. The annual charity showcase event, which is played at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, raises money for the Shriners Hospital in Boston, which specializes in care for burn victims, a worthy cause for anyone.
One of those who certainly agrees with that final statement is Vineyard Haven (Mass.) defensive back Randall Jette, a UMass signee who was a part of the 2011 South team. How strong was Jette's devotion to the cause? According to the Boston Globe's Mike Carraggi, it was strong enough to inspire the senior star to commute more than four-hours total per day on car and boat to practices for two weeks leading up to the Shriners game.
"The cause really helps you get up in the morning, get to the boat a little earlier," Jette told the Globe. "It's so much more than just a game."
To put Jette's commitment to the cause in perspective, consider this: Not only was he the only player from Martha's Vineyard to take part in the game, he also had to find his own way to Westwood (Mass.) Xaverian High every day for practices for a full two weeks leading up to the game. That meant a more than two-hour journey that includes a 45-minute daily ferry (each way) from the dock near his Vineyard Haven home to Woods Hole, Mass., a trip which -- by Prep Rally's calculation -- cost him a minimum of $362 (assuming he left his car in Woods Hole overnight and was dropped off and picked up from the Vineyard Haven ferry port).
Incredibly, that cost doesn't even include the gallons of gas he burned through driving to and from the Shriners practices. Add in fill-ups at around $4 per gallon, and it's not a stretch to say that Jette committed between $500-$700 from his own pocket to take part in a charity game.
Yet that commitment is all part of a special event, one of many all-star games put on to help different Shriners causes around the country, a drive for which everyone involved is more willing to go the extra mile … even if Jette may have taken that charge more literally than most.
"You visit the hospital and see what they can do with people who are seriously burned, and over 33 years, it keeps you going," said game director Paul Costello.