Spaulding brothers team up in Maine Shrine Lobster BowlFormer Mustang athletes enjoy being back on field in special 'mind blowing' game
Freedom — The 25th annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl is a game the Spaulding family will never forget.
Twin brothers Chris and Clint, who graduated from Mount View High School in June, took part in the game together on Saturday, July 19 at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.
The duo are the first pair of brothers to play in the game together in the history of the Lobster Bowl.
The Shriners are known for many reasons, such as their charitable work, perhaps most notably the Shriner's Hospitals for Children, which provides medical treatment to children regardless of the patients’ ability to pay.
Chris, who was born 12 minutes before Clint, naturally, got the call first that he would play in the senior all-star game.
“I got home and my mom looks at me and she said, 'I have something to tell you,' ” said Chris.
When she told him he had been accepted to the Lobster Bowl, Chris “went nuts.”
“This was just something I've always wanted to do,” he said. “The Shriners have helped out my family a lot, so it actually meant a lot for me to go down there and play in the game.”
The duo had a cousin who was burned when she was five years old.
“Her family couldn't pay,” Chris said. “The Shriners took her down to Boston and they pretty much have her a life until she was 16, where her body could no longer sustain herself and she ended up passing away. It meant a lot to be told I could play in the game and it meant even more that my brother was allowed to go with me.”
However, Clint, originally was not selected.
“We both were nominated by our coach, but my brother got picked instead of me,” said Clint. “We were both cool with that. We knew one of us was going to go due to the fact that one kid per school due to as many kids.”
Clint was, admittedly, “a little jealous” that Chris got the initial nod over him.
“I can't deny that,” said Clint. “But I was proud of him at the same time.”
Then about a day before Chris was set to depart for the week-long camp that precedes the Lobster Bowl, their father, Clint Sr., received a phone call.
“He told me, 'They have one opening,'” said Clint. “They had a kid drop out and they need somebody. So I automatically told my boss I was going to quit to go to the Lobster Bowl, but luckily they found time enough for me to get off so we went and played. Once my brother heard that news, both of us were super psyched and ready to go. Last time we're ever going to play together.”
The two, who are offensive and defensive linemen, have played football together 10 years, starting in the peewee ranks and culminating in the state's most prestigious gridiron classic.
Players had a week-long camp at Hebron Academy prior to the Saturday game in Biddeford, which both said really bonded the team from top to bottom.
Clint said the East team bonded nearly immediately and that they “became a family” the first day.
“You get your room key and jersey and you go to your room and people are already meeting their roommates, already talking with each other, seeing where we came from [and] who we played against,” said Clint. “Talking about, 'Hey you remember that game when we played against you?' That was the opening vibe as soon as you walked through the doors.”
The two did not take the field together at the same time during the game as Clint played defense and Chris the offensive side of the ball. However, the two were mostly head-to-head against one another all week in practice.
“Coaches pitted us against each other all week in practice [and] we made each other better,” said Clint. “If I beat him on a tackle and I got to the ball, next round against each other he'd make sure he stuffed me twice as bad.”
“We were lined up across from each other pretty much all week,” said Chris. “I played offense and he played defense. The coaches I think set it up to be that way because they wanted to see two twins playing against each other.”
Clint called the experience of playing in the game “mind-blowing.”
“When we got there we were a little bit nervous, but then we remembered why we were there and the good cause that we were raising money for and everything,” said Clint. “Then come game time and we went through the introductions of the teams, we were all wrapped up and ready to play.”
“It was great,” said Chris. “I've never played in a state [championship] game, so that was probably the biggest game I'd ever played in my life. And just going down and meeting guys from Class A schools and talking to them about how they play the game of football and being coached by a Class A coach, it was really intense.”
In the end, the East squad picked up a 32-13 victory over the West squad.
“At the end when we won the game on the East side, it was emotional,” said Clint. “Not just that I was playing my last game with my brother, but I had met so many 'brothers' down there and the bond we all shared on that team. And that was the last time I'd see them all at once.”
The emotion was strong for both Chris and Clint, especially given the fact that when the final horn blared, it officially signaled the end of their high school football careers.
“Getting done with high school ball [in the fall with Mount View], that was hard to swallow,” said Chris. “That's what I've lived through [for four years]. Playing my last game was tough, I didn't want it to be over. When you devote half your summer and all your fall to one thing, it's hard to just be like, 'Oh it's over.' Even this year my little brother is playing football and I pick him up from practice and I sit there and look at everybody else practicing and I think, 'Man I really wish it wasn't over.' ”
Clint plans to attend the Maine Criminal Justice Academy next year, while Chris has already joined the work ranks as he has a job as a mechanic.
Both admit they will look back on their lobster bowl experience and smile, with no regrets.
“It was great,” said Chris. “It was just insane. I wish I could go back and do it again.”
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Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. Haskell has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School. He has won multiple Maine Press Association awards for writing and photography.
Mark loves the Boston Red Sox, iced coffee, cargo shorts and time with friends and family.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn, his sons Beckett and Austin and daughter Lila.
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