Editor's note: The Long Valley Raiders Football Association, an organization that runs the recreation football program for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade, has discussed potentially changing its colors and name to align with the West Morris Central Wolfpack football program. The LVRFA Board told Patch it is still doing their due diligence on the potential change and have not decided yet if they will send this proposal to their membership to vote.
My name is Jeffrey Chaplin and I am a 6th Grader at LVMS. More importantly I am a Long Valley RAIDER football player. I have been a RAIDER my whole life, even before I played RAIDERS football in Kindergarten. Both my parents were RAIDERS, my aunts and uncles were RAIDERS, and my grandfather Richard McLoughlin was one of the Founding Fathers of Long Valley Raiders Football. It felt like I was a RAIDER even before I ever put on a uniform.
I was only four years old when my grandfather died but when I am on the field, dressed in my green and gold RAIDERS uniform, I feel like he is right there on the field with me and watching over me. At home I only have one sister but in my life I feel like I have almost 30 brothers and 20 sisters because I feel like my teammates and our cheerleaders are my family too. We are a RAIDERS family.
Being a Long Valley RAIDER has taught me how to work hard, be a good teammate, and respect my teammates, coaches, referees and the players on the other teams. Even when we are tired and beat up we keep pushing ourselves to the next level for our brothers. This year our PW team was the first ever to win the title of National Conference Champions. We worked hard all season and we did it together as RAIDERS!
In a few years I will be a West Morris Wolfpack player like some of my idols who I look up to and admire like Johnny Gutowski, Tyler Amandos, Austin Roland and Michael Burton. But they were Raiders first, just like me. I work hard every year as a RAIDER and it will be special and mean a lot to me when I become a Wolfpack player in high school. Football here starts with the RAIDERS, that is the way it is.
I hope that we stay the Long Valley RAIDERS and still wear green and gold. Other towns know who we are, they give us their best effort because they know that we will be a tough team. That is what RAIDERS are known for. I am very proud to be a Long Valley RAIDER, I am proud of who we are and our long history (42 years)! I named our cat RAIDER because I love the name and it would be confusing to him if we changed his name now that he is five years old. Besides, he doesn’t look like a wolf! I would be sad if we change our team name and colors and I think it would be the wrong thing to do. Being a RAIDER is a family and town tradition and it is part of our history and I don’t think that anyone should be able to change that!