Two men came to me with a dream.
It seemed reasonable enough, and attainable at that. Scott Zenke and Greg Warren wanted to shed light on Farmington High football. They wanted to give the kids a chance to play on Friday nights.
The usual naysayers that such dreams encounter in every town floated to the surface like an oil spill. I was particularly dumbfounded by the lady who bought a home adjacent to Farmington High School and had the audacity to tell the Common Council that the last thing she wanted was kids walking past her house at night.
I wrote some stories and editorials. Warren and Zenke cleared all the hurdles, even that ominously large one labeled public opinion. How hard they worked and how determined they were so that the Farmington High campus could be brought to life on Friday nights in autumn.
How saddened I was to hear this week between Christmas and New Year’s that death takes no holiday. Greg Warren – strong, tall, determined and civic-minded, a loving father, a dedicated husband – will now brighten heaven’s glow.
The town will be forever in his debt because he refused to yield to shortsighted neighbors who wished to remain in darkness. Funny how nearly a decade later, I hear no outcry how their delicate lives have been irreparably interrupted. Their silence is a deafening tribute to Greg Warren.
Warren looked on proudly as his daughter Katie became one of the finest softball pitchers in Farmington High history. His son Tim quarterbacked the best FHS football team in recent memory that qualified for the Class L state final in 1999. Greg wanted to make sure future Farmington fathers would have the chance to see their kids' steps toward adulthood nurtured by the improvements that he brought about.
When their dream became reality in 2002, Warren and Zenke gave me a panorama of the football field bathed in the luster of permanent lights. The marching band is playing. The cheerleaders are lined in a row on the track facing the modest grandstands and press box. The football team is huddled beneath the south goal post. I recalled the splendid feeling in my heart as I looked at the field, its north end zone framed by the inspiration of a New England autumn, the muffled echoes that only veteran public address announcer Dennis Person can muster, the incredible spirit of a town gathered to honor its treasured youth. Thanks to Greg Warren, many others will be able to enjoy the same sensation.
The band continues to play. The cheerleaders continue to cheer. The football players continue to relish the opportunity to play ball on Friday nights under the lights. Greg Warren’s ardent spirit will forever hover over the ground that he helped hallow so that Farmington’s children could have the very best.