Loomis Day: A History


David Leung, Campus Reporter

As exam week nears, so does Loomis Day, a long rivalry between Loomis Chaffee School and Kent, and the Spoon Game, at which the football teams face off. Loomis Day returns this year after an 8-year pause caused when Loomis football left the Founders League in 2012. Mr. Marble, former athletic director and football coach, always considered it the highlight of the fall season. “Every year we would talk to the team about the history and what it meant to the school, and the tradition for both schools,” Mr. Marble commented, “and all players and coaches enjoyed the tradition and the rivalry.” With such a long pause in the tradition, only a small percentage of students now actually know about this rivalry that dates back to the 1920s. “I think that [the spoon game tradition]is great for both schools and my hope is that we will get back to being a nice part of the fall season for all teams,” Mr. Marble said.

The legend of the Spoon Game began in the early 1920s, when Father Sill was Headmaster, and Kent had a football game against Loomis at the latter’s campus. After the game, people at Loomis had found out that four silver spoons had been lost and Mrs. Batchelder, the wife of the headmaster of Loomis, asked Kent’s football team whether or not they knew anything about those missing spoons. Father Sill told the players that, if the spoons were in their possession, they had to hand it to him before that evening, with “no further questions asked and no punishment given.” Almost immediately, three of the students handed out three spoons, impressing Father Sill with their honesty, but one was still missing.

That Prize Day, a graduating senior, as he walked up to receive his diploma, approached Father Sill, pulled out the fourth and last spoon, and pressed it tightly into Father Sill’s hand without saying a single word. Disappointed and infuriated, Father Sill asked the senior prefect to hold on to it for the moment instead of publicly berating the student. In 1946, almost twenty years later, it is revealed that Father Sill had never returned the spoon, ashamed that one of his Kent boys would do something like that, too guilty to tell Mrs. Batchelder. Fortunately, the fourth spoon was finally returned to Mr. and Mrs. Batchelder several years later, and the tradition of the spoon game began. 

In the fall of 1992, Mr. Marble’s first year at Kent, he led the football team to play Loomis in the spoon game. Without such strict rules about uniform numbers and rosters, the Loomis coach had been changing the jersey number of their star player. To have a little fun, Mr. Marble did the same with Kent’s star player, changing his jersey number as well. “Right before the game started, their coach pulled me over,” Mr. Marble recounted,” and he told me ‘look, I’ll tell you the number of our player if you tell me the number of yours.’ Telling each other our player’s numbers, we both shook hands and walked away.” That same game, Mr. Marble recalled that on their way to Loomis, he would see signs every mile saying “The Pelicans will eat the Lions.” “For the most part, it was always a good natured rivalry, and we’ll see what happens over time, whether it redevelops into the rivalry that it was.”

The last time the spoon game was held 8 years ago, when Mr. Marble was still football coach. Head held high after a previous 9 wins against Loomis, Mr. Marble and his football team yet again grasped another spoon, successfully winning the last 10 spoon games. That year, Loomis were winning for most of the game, with every right to win that. However, in dramatic fashion, Kent took the lead, winning in the last several minutes of the match. Asked about the spoon game coming up, Mr. Marble said, “We’ve got a great coach, and we’ve got great players, and they’ve been so dedicated to the school and the team. I’ve been so proud to watch them play this year. Regardless of the scoreboard, I think it’s been a successful season in terms of the players learning a lot about how to play the game better and playing amongst themselves.”

With the resumption of this rivalry between Kent and Loomis, everyone is looking forward to a great Loomis Day this Saturday and hope for a long living tradition that will pass on for years to come.


Armstrong, Katy
Hill, Cynthia