PETALUMA — In trying to understand why Petaluma and Casa Grande should be playing each other again in high school football, let's make sure we remember what didn't happen in that 2011 Egg Bowl.
There were no knife fights. No one landed in the hospital. Riot police didn't rush to the scene. A brawl didn't happen. The situation was not grave. It was, however, ugly. Nineteen penalties, some real cheap shots. Racial epithets. Cursing. Yes, it was conduct unbecoming. No one on either side of the ball should have been proud of that night.
That said, I thought then and I still think now that canceling the next two Egg Bowls was an overreaction. The punishment didn't fit the crime. Consider the environment. I live in Petaluma. I love Petaluma. I know Petaluma.
This town is not a roiling mass of tension and anger, where people are afraid to walk the streets. People don't look over their shoulder downtown. In fact, I've heard some teenagers around here claim Petaluma is boring, a nice place to raise a family but a snoozer when it comes to raising hell.
Casa kids and Petaluma kids have spent most of their lives comfortable together, having gone through Pop Warner or Little League or CYO. They know each other. For years they have known each other. In fact, you may have noticed that every other athletic competition between the two high schools has continued.
You know what gets people hot in Petaluma, spitting anger? All those cars crawling up each other's bumpers on East Washington near Target. Yes, traffic! That's it. Traffic congestion! Talk about living the good life — when the primary disturbance in your day is five more minutes getting crosstown.
Reasonable people in a reasonable town work things out. That's why I thought the two-year ban was an overreaction. The people at the two schools — administrators and coaches — are reasonable people. No knuckleheads here dedicated to expanding their power base at the sacrifice of the community.