This fall, I've been taking my 16 yo son to HS football games....kicking and screeming at times in an attempt to get him more involved with school friends and downtime from the computer. He's realling enjoying himself; prowls the sidelines entire game, while I WATCH and do needlework.
We live in a middle class area of a township with upper middle class homes in the other section. 3 small towns combinine to make up our school district . It is unique because it has a multitude of racial, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds. 85% of kids attend our public schools despite many private and parochial schools nearby. We have about 1,100 students in the 4 year high school.
There is a lot of interest in playing sports and the arts. Last night, the football team played in district playoffs and soccer team is playing for state championship tonight. We have 60 boys on football team and the band has 270 participants!
We had an ugly incident 2 weeks ago at the football game in the next town were we played....a male bully teased our Panther school mascot draging them 40-60 feet....not realising it was a girl. They were arrested. Last Saturday night, vandals torched the refresment stand that supported all our sports teams and it burnt to the ground. There is talk that the two incidents are related...only time will tell. I helped out for the first time in the stands backup: the storage garage, helping wrap hot dogs and pizzas to serve 3000 guests.
As I sat at the game last night, enjoying the Band pre-game show and the activities, I reflected on my high school days 30 years ago. My alma mater was more of a power house then and also had a large band. The current HS band is different: it is PART of the football team! It continues to play through out the game from the stands; Drill team does hand routines, touch down has the a student running the School flag, 20 ft high, up and down the sidelines. The visiting teams bands have maybe 70 members and usually play only at halftime. I've watched them gawk at our bands drill routines and last nights away team silent first quarter soon turned noisy ----had their side playing away school chants and cheers like Celebration after listening to our band.
After the game, the football team immediately came off the field, took off their hats and raised them high in front of the band. Our band marches in AND marches out across the street to the school...they play for 20 min AFTER the game. The TV stations interviewed the captains and game stars as we won 35-19, 41st game win, most ever in our county AND we won the district championship, 3 wins away from a THIRD state championship game.
With the burning of the refreshment stand, our 9/11 tragedy and recent NY plane crash, we tend not to realize all that we TRULY have until you lose it. It's not about the material possessions in ones life, but about being part of a family and community, helping others and giving kids chances so they can grow and bloom and find themselves. That is what has helped us recently in the US: pulling together instead of all the individualism of the recent ME generation.
I'm getting more hugs and kisses from the boys these days for favorite meals, HOMEMADE birthday cake and being available to them. I'm glad I changed jobs two years ago even though making ~$6,000 less and struggling week to week.
Growing up with the Cold War and Vietnam, I hope all that all the hard work the kids put into their sports, support of parents and school administration especially maintenace for getting one building demolished and a make-shift one WITH festive christmas lights and the Football Field lighting working... that this weeks celebration is what they'll remember in 30 years time.
Take a good look around you today, see what you have and treasure it always. Give a hug or a kiss too.