Tag Archives: mountain view high school

Memoirs of a (sometimes) football fan

25 Sep

I did something the other evening which I hadn’t done in years. In fact, probably not since I’d graduated from high school.

I attended a high school football game. (Go Trojans!)

The last football game I attended in person was at my alma mater, the University of Oregon. (Go Ducks!) I didn’t go to a lot of games over my four years of college but from time to time I wandered across the Willamette River with my friends and we enjoyed rooting for our (then perpetually losing) team.

That was fun enough, but it’s a whole lot more fun to watch them winning these days on television. That way I can stay dry (it rains a lot in Eugene) and I can go to the bathroom without having to stand in line.

Back when I was in high school I didn’t attend too many games, either. I actually have some pretty good reasons for this. For one, I attended three different high schools, due to my father’s job.

I do remember going to one or two football games my 9th grade year at my school on Orcas Island, Washington. Forget about Friday Night Lights, our games were always played on Saturdays because the opposing teams had to take a ferry to get there and that added a huge amount of time to their traveling schedule. (Go Vikings!)

The next year I lived in Bend, Oregon, and there at Mountain View High School I attended just one game. I didn’t know very many people, and going to football games alone is no fun. (Go Cougars!)

Then I moved to West Berlin, Germany, and I was there for my last two years of high school. There, at Berlin American High School, I attended a handful of games (Go Bears!) but my best friend was the school mascot – which meant that she got to run around in a bear suit for the entire game – so I didn’t have her to sit next to and my other friends weren’t really into football so mostly I stayed home on Saturday afternoons. Yes, the games were on Saturdays there, too, also due to travel issues. It was kinda a big deal getting to and from West Berlin.

So all in all, being at any kind of football game was an anomaly for me. I do remember, way back in third grade, briefly considering becoming a football fan simply to improve my math scores. All the boys were really good at their 7 times tables whereas I hated and despised the 7 times tables and I knew that somehow their talent was involved with football scores.

I don’t really understand the sport of football. Ok…I don’t understand it at all other than I know that a First Down is a good thing and that field goals are sometimes worth one point and sometimes worth three, depending on if they’re accompanied by touchdowns or not. And I know that to get a touchdown the guy with the ball has to cross the end line without dropping the ball and somehow Mary, the Mother of Jesus is often involved.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve never attended a game here in Worthington prior to this year, but there it is. And the truth is, I enjoyed myself.

Does that mean I’ll be going to a lot more games from here on out?

Let’s not get crazy here. I mean, I enjoy hearing my son play tuba in the pep band, but I can only take so much sitting in the cold cheering for the home team before I zone out and begin wondering why some of the players have long black socks and some of the players don’t and wouldn’t they all be more aesthetically pleasing if they all matched and do they need to hire a fashion consultant to take care of this problem?

Apparently the snappy uniforms of the Oregon Ducks have rubbed off on me.

(Incidentally, I’m a little worried about the Ducks this year, what with losing Marcus Mariota and all. And even I know, deep down, that snappy uniforms or no, it takes more than that to win a football game.)

And to that I say: Happy Homecoming, Worthington!

Reflections on the First Day of School

6 Sep

Lucy's first day of pre-school, one year ago. She was a LOT happier than I was on my first day!

As school begins for millions of Americans across the nation today, I can’t help but think of some of my first days of school. Some first days were good. Some not so much.

My first day of pre-school was, unsurprisingly, a huge stress. In my mind I picture myself wearing a blue and white gingham dress, though I’m not really certain that I was. I do know for sure that I sat on the front steps and would not go in. I wept. I probably sulked. I think I clung to my Snoopy doll that somehow got red paint on it which never came off, those being the days before washable Tempera.

I’m not sure how long I sat there before my teacher dragged me in. Well, probably not dragged literally, but for sure coaxed, cajoled, encouraged me in. I think, once I was there, that I enjoyed myself. (And yes, in case you’re wondering, I’d visited it before, but then MOMMY was with me!) I do know that when Mom picked me up on that first day I told her all about two friends I’d made – Eliza and Michelle – so it can’t all have been misery and damp gingham.

I don’t remember much about the successive first days of school after that for several years, which means, I suppose, that they all fit into the “not as stressful” category. But then, the summer after 9th grade, my parents and I (my sisters were out of the house by then) moved off of Orcas Island, Washington to Bend, Oregon. Bend was a small town of 18,000 then. Today it’s well over 100,000 and I’m sure I wouldn’t even be able to find our old house, let alone my high school.

The school, Mountain View High School, had about 1,000 students. Orcas Island High school had 120. Eliza and Michelle were still my classmates, as were the other 30ish kids we’d all grown up with. This new school, as you can imagine, was a bit overwhelming. (I remember wishing I could go to the other high school in Bend…it only had 800 students!) That first day of school fits into the misery category of first days. (Why is it that the bad and sad stuff is so much easier to remember than the good and pleasant stuff?!) I was shy. I was a bit of a nerd. I wore teal-blue corduroy. (What can I say? It was the ‘80’s.) I knew no one. No one…except one boy I’d met at church and who was a year ahead of me and completely out of my league. That didn’t stop me from having a crush on him for the entire year, but that’s another story!

That first morning, in French II, we had to do something in groups. Oy, vey! Group work: the scourge of every inhibited person. One girl, Anna, was particularly kind and that was nice. But then it was lunch time. The other scourge of the inhibited, new student. I’d never had to eat lunch alone before. I’d never had to introduce myself to people and ask if I could sit by them. I couldn’t ask a person to pass the salt without blushing. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t face it.

So I took the sack lunch Mom had made for me and ate in the bathroom, last stall on the right. I did that every day for a week. (Perhaps this is why I HATE bananas and sandwiches to this day. And those brown, paper lunch sacks give me the willies.)

And then, in a stroke of grace, Anna asked me one day in French class if I wanted to sit with her and her friends at lunch. She told me where they usually sat; she said I’d be welcome. Just writing about this makes me smile. I don’t know if she’d noticed that she never saw me during lunch, or if the idea just occurred to her, or what, all I know is that her overtures to me made my day, my week, my year.

We were only in Bend for 11 months and then we moved to West Berlin, where, I am happy to report, that first day was unremarkable. That school was easy to be a new student in because, being a Department of Defense school, filled with children of military parents, everyone there had moved at least once, everyone knew what it was like to be new, everyone understood how to make friends. I’m certain, however, that had I moved directly to Berlin from Orcas, I would have been eating in the bathroom in complete overwhelming fear. Bend, as it turns out, was a blessing. That year of transitions and experience enabled me to sit down near some Berlin girls from English class without dying of embarrassment. Never again would I let myself eat in a bathroom stall.

First day of 3rd and 5th grades, one year ago...


It’s funny, writing this – I don’t usually like to write so seriously, so sentimentally. But there it is: part of my life. Somewhere along the line – and I’m not quite sure where, it was a process, I suppose – I changed. I am not so shy any more, not so intimidated. I can talk to complete strangers! I can even initiate the conversation. That’s a plus about growing up, getting older. Yes, it was an epiphany when I discovered that turning 40 wasn’t the end of the world! It was, in fact, freeing.

Given the right context today, I can be downright obnoxiously loud! Or, at least unafraid. Unafraid of what people think of me, unafraid of offending, unafraid of new situations. When I went to graduate school, I on-purpose picked a school (Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN) where I knew no one, had no friends to fall back on. I wanted to stretch myself, to force myself to reach out. It was an excellent experience.

Even on the first day.

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