The Ohio High School Athletic Association began the OHSAA Foundation Service Week where one of the five allotted scrimmages for a high school basketball team can be used for a regulation game where it will not count against a team's record.
Prior to the 2009-10 season McDonald and Niles McKinley got together for a dual scrimmage for their boys and girls teams and asking those in attendance to donate a can of food or other non-perishable food items.
All of the collected items were donated to the Niles Community Services. The items were delivered to the center by several boys and girls of the Niles basketball program.
Now, just imagine if John F. Kennedy came to War Memorial Gymnasium prior to the 2012-13 season - the last season before the new Niles High School is ready.
Imagine most of those approximately 1,500 or so seats in that gym were filled to watch two teams that haven't faced each other since the mid-1980s.
JFK boys coach Shawn Pompelia approached Niles coach Rick Kover while watching their daughters play soccer at either The Niles Wellness Center or Howland Township park.
"I approached coach about the OHSAA has a Foundation Service Week, prior to the start of the season," Pompelia said. "The foundation service week allows you to play in a game setting and you get to raise money for different foundations that you choose. I thought what a great opportunity for Niles and Kennedy to play each other in a scrimmage, where it does not count against your schedule. We can do a foundation service week and use that as a vehicle to raise money for a good cause."
Then, the two talked some more and the idea of playing the last Niles home game of the 2012-13 season - closing out War Memorial with a JFK-Niles game.
However, Niles Athletic Director Marc Fritz said the 2012-13 season is almost full - aside from one game. The finale at War Memorial will be between Howland and Niles on Feb. 16, 2013.
Since the OHSAA is pushing the regular season to 22 games, athletic directors have made adjustments to fill in those two extra games.
"We're already playing back to back twice on Fridays and Saturdays," Kover said of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule.
Yet, Niles did schedule a Warren team on its schedule with the Red Dragons travelling to Harding - playing the Raiders on Dec. 29, 2012.
Kover said he has been working for almost six years trying to get the WGH-Niles game to happen.
As for Niles and JFK, it would be a step in the right direction if this JFK-Niles scrimmage would happen prior to the 2012-13 season. If nothing else, imagine the money raised for charity.
But bitter feelings haven't faded since a Dec. 18, 1982 brawl inside John F. Kennedy's gymnasium between the teams. Kennedy won, 59-47.
"That's a terrible excuse for not playing a game," said Don Andres, who coached basketball at Kennedy and at Niles. "There's no way that should be the reason.
"I think it deals with recruiting."
The girls basketball teams last played Dec. 10, 1984 with Niles winning 58-44 at Kennedy.
Incidentally, the two football teams have never played since Kennedy's founding in 1964.
The school's two tennis teams have played in recent years, but it's been hard pressed to get both schools on the same court or even football field.
Then, there's always the talk about JFK "recruiting" Niles players. Well, last time I checked it's up to the family to decide where a player goes - not the will of a public school.
"Niles is living in the past with this," Andres said. "They think Kennedy recruits Niles athletes. That's a 30, 40-year ago thing. I think they should rekindle their rivalry in all sports. It's not on Kennedy's side. I know that. It's Niles.
"When (LaBrae) coach (Bill) Bohren and I were at Niles, we tried with their Athletic Council to get them to play one another - with no avail from the Niles administration at that time. I think it should be done with some new administrators there. Maybe they can twist it around."
And, you'll have some naysayers drone on about JFK is Division VI in football and Division IV in basketball. Computer points don't matter in basketball and in football, would it better to play a Division VI team that has played Division II, III and IV teams as opposed to a Division I or II school that has trouble scrapping up a win? Which one will get more points? I say JFK.
But those arguments hold no water with this proposal of a JFK-Niles scrimmage. It's a game for charity and, really, it's hard to see a downside to this.
Let that animosity go you naysayers. It's not 1982. It's 29 years later.
I've learned it's not good to hold on to such bitterness.
Nearly two-and-a-half decades ago, a man with a horse on his helmet and a No. 7 draped on both sides of his grass-stained uniform wrecked a then-young Browns fans and others what was supposed to be a dream season.
It's been 25 years since "The Drive" embedded a wedge in the heart of Cleveland Browns fans as quarterback John Elway led his Denver Broncos 98 yards in more than 5 minutes on a game-tying drive that eventually led to Rich Karlis' field goal that sailed over the left goal post and was seemingly no good - at least that's what the replay on my VCR kept showing.
However, watching a YouTube posting of that kick and being much wiser than back then, even after numerous replays, it was good. I should listen to my wife and get over it.
It's hard, but I'm trying. Elway, you're not such a bad guy after all. There, I said it.
I hope those still holding animosity and holding this rivalry back could do the same and let JFK and Niles play, especially in a charity setting prior to the 2012-13 season or sometime in the near future.