By Kevin J. Stone, Contributing Writer
WESTBOROUGH – It would be an enormous understatement to say that the last few weeks have been special for Westborough football head coach Joe Beveridge.
Back in April, Beveridge was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer the night before a meeting with rival Algonquin. Recently, Beveridge announced on Twitter that he had finished up his chemotherapy treatments.
Done with chemo!!!
— Joe Beveridge (@JoeBev19) August 26, 2021
Now, in his second year with the program, Beveridge is just happy to be back out on the field with his squad.
“I was diagnosed, they got me into surgery in May and then I had three months of chemotherapy over the summer,” he explained following an Aug. 27 practice. “It was a struggle, to say the least, but it was a wonderful opportunity to see all the wonderful people in my life.”
“Friends I grew up with stepped up and helped out, my family, my coaching staff, the administration here at Westborough and where I teach over at Tantasqua, the kids, everybody,” he continued. “They could’ve used it as an excuse not to come work out, like ‘oh coach isn’t here, so I don’t have to be,’ but we had a lot of kids work their butts off all summer with the assistant coaches.”
Beveridge said he’s “a lucky man.”
“I wasn’t lucky to be diagnosed obviously, but going to Dana Farber and UMass Memorial Cancer Center, I saw a lot of people had it much worse than I do,” he said. “I feel very fortunate they caught it when they did, and I was blessed with great doctors that took care of me and a lot of people that stayed by my side.”
Beveridge’s players are now fully committed to showing their coach how much he’s inspired them.
“He came in new last year and really took charge of the program,” said senior co-captain Adam Steinberg. “He’s shown us resilience on and off the field, so it just gives us that much more drive to do the same for him and pay him the same respect and show that same resilience.”
“He’s been working through everything,” added co-captain Theo Henderson. “He’s still been here all the time and we’ve got to give back everything he’s given us.”
As for actual expectations on the field, it’s hard to know where the Rangers stand until real competition starts.
Westborough will have its hands full with a young team and the always tough Mid-Wach League to contend with.
But there’s also an element of the unknown with the statewide playoff format beginning this season.
“What we talk about is controlling the controllables,” Beveridge said. “You can’t control the opponent.”
“If we went and played the Patriots, we would lose,” he continued. “That doesn’t mean we’re a bad staff or don’t have any talent, it just means they’re better. We can’t focus on who we’re playing because we play a tough schedule. We open with Shepherd Hill, we’ve got Leominster, Grafton, Fitchburg, Nashoba, Marlborough, there’s no easy week for us.”
“Instead of focusing on the things we can’t control like the schedule and our opponent’s abilities, we’re going to focus daily on what we can do to get better,” he said.