Monday, September 29, 2014

7 Reasons Going to Homecoming Evoked Déjà Vu

When I summoned our high school mascot over and asked if he would take a picture with my son Scotty and me, do you know how the kid responded?

"Sure, Ma'am."

He called me ma'am. Well, at least his mama taught him some manners. 

Good etiquette aside, his reply basically underscored the sentiment of the entire evening: I basically felt like an old fart amid a sea of whippersnappers. Here's why attending my high school's homecoming football game -- 20 years after I had graduated -- wasn't at all what I thought it would be...

Everything looked the same...but with a twist. So, actually, nothing looked the same.
As soon as we parked the car, I heard the thrum of the marching band's big bass drum, and as soon as we made our way to the stadium entrance, our noses were welcomed by the aroma of freshly-popped popcorn. But other than that, my eyes panned the area looking for something -- anything -- familiar. Back when I was a student at Westland John Glenn High School, the concession stand was housed inside a wooden hut and a dirt path led to the football field. All that has since been replaced by an elaborate entrance complete with paved brick, a wrought iron nameplate sign, and brushed steel lamp posts:


The people I wanted to see have since moved on.
When I approached the ticket counter, I explained to the women collecting the money that I hadn't been back in long, long time, and I inquired whether the man whom I thought was coaching the varsity football team was still coaching. Their reply? "Nope." And so then I asked if my cheerleading coach was still around. Again, "Nope." I don't know why but their reply saddened me. I know times change. I know people move on. I get that. Heck, I had done a lousy job of sticking around myself. But returning to your high school and hoping to see some familiar faces is kind of like returning home for the holidays and expecting your mom to make your favorite food...but she doesn't. It's sad.

The things I had previously identified as homecoming-ish had vanished.
The intricate homecoming floats that sophomore, junior, and senior classes had spent hours toiling under the bleachers to make? They were nowhere in sight. Similarly, the traditional cheerleading uniforms that were hotter than the dickens to wear were also MIA. Instead, in the spirit of the mega-hit The Hunger Games, the classes marched into the stadium carrying signs that pronounced them as members of a particular district. And the cheerleaders wore short shorts, t-shirts, and stark white sneakers with over-the-calf socks to match. I've got to give it to them, once I realized what The Hunger Games signs meant, I thought it was rather creative. And I realize that what the cheerleaders wore may have been a special get-up for homecoming. But, still. I like my homecoming complete with wooden floats bearing streamers and my cheerleaders wearing polyester uniforms. Sorry. I know I am apparently in the minority:


The kids now sit in what I like to call The Student Section 2.0.
You know how grandmas and grandpas regale their grandchildren with the I used to walk a mile to school story? Yeah, well, here's mine: When I was a student at John Glenn, we had a marching band and cheerleaders. And the student section was simply anywhere you could find space on the right side of the bleachers. Now? The rockets have a mascot and the student section has an official name, The Launch Pad. (Shaking my head.) For the love, can't anything stay the same? Don't answer that question. And by the way, Scotty hightailed it when he saw the astronaut. He was scared. I told Scotty that he was a superhero, but he still didn't care and fled:


When I cheered, I couldn't wait to shed my sweatshirt! But now it hides my saddlebags.
No further explanation necessary:


My crew has changed.
BFFs. Fellow cheerleaders and track runners. Revered upperclassmen. Back in the day, my clique included some pretty cool people. Now I roll with the younger set...and by younger, I mean younger as in, they prefer goldfish crackers over Big Gulps and Bubble Guppies over gangsta rap. But it's all good: They make for a cheap date because kids get into homecoming for free. And another thing: The pressure is off to find a respectable gentleman who tickles my fancy: I came -- and left -- with one:


Despite all of this, my Rocket pride is stronger than ever.
Even though I feel like the John Glenn I once knew is gone forever -- and make no mistake, it is -- the pride I currently feel for having gone there is still unwavering. Our fight song, our signature G, our vibrant red, white, and blue school colors...I love it all. It reminds me of home. And always will:


Oh, and by the way. We lost the game. By one point. ONE POINT!! Canton 22, John Glenn, 21. I'm sure it was a nail-biter, but I can't even pretend to know for sure: We were outta there before the homecoming queen was even crowned. The down side to rolling with the younger set is that there's hell to pay if you stay out past their bedtime. 
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16 comments:

  1. Girl, you look exactly the same! I say you put your cheer outfit on and show them your are not a maam! Scotty saying, "Go Rockets!!" Was adorable!

    xxo

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    1. Hi, Susie! Oh, thank you for the vote of confidence, but I don't think my thighs are made for that short skirt anymore. (Sigh). I'm getting on the good foot after having THREE birthdays in this family this month, so cake has been on the menu for the past 25 days -- and I am paying the price. :-(

      Thank you for the kind words about Scotty! Between the players, the cheerleaders and the students walking by, he didn't know where to look next! lol

      xo

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  2. Looking at your pictures remind me of my old HS Drill Team days.. Love your Then and Now pics!

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    1. Hi, Renae! Thank you...and welcome! Isn't it something how we never truly forget those times! Only for me, it was a shock to see how much everything had changed...

      Have a super day!

      xo

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  3. I have the same contemplations about attending homecoming. First, my high school looks WAY different than when I was there. Also, I am now 32 not 16 so yes I am going to feel super old, especially if I show up with all three kids. I'm sure I will go one day, especially if the kids end up going ot the same school but I will wait until then! By the way, you look the same!

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    1. ...and the fact that you think I look the same is but one of several reasons why I love you, Ida. <3

      I hadn't really given much thought to how I'd feel -- before I went, actually. But, man, once I was there? I feel like I had jumped OUT of a time capsule. Not a good feeling. And the thing is, I don't mind getting older. Really, I don't. I'll shout from the rooftops that I'm 37...

      It's all just...I don't know. So very odd. :-/

      Thank you for commenting, and when you do return, Ida, I want details!

      xo

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  4. Awhhhh I guess bitter sweet is what I came away with. Hey another memory to add to the books thanks for share doll :) loved the pics

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    1. Thanks, Mari! The night was very fun -- particularly because of the company I kept. So many other cool things happened that evening, as well, but at the risk of penning a blog post that was 3,000 words, I decided against it. ;-)

      Thank you for commenting.

      xo

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  5. Awesome Courtney - how great you can share some of your memories with your family. Even if that's all they are.

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    1. Thanks so much! I love your perspective -- you're absolutely right: It was such an awesome experience to bring Scott and the kids along for the ride. Although, how much you wanna be t-- dollars to donuts -- that they were sick and tired of me saying, "Back when I went here, x, y, z was different" by kick-off? lol

      Thank you visiting and commenting.

      xo

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  6. Wow you sure do look exactly the same Courtney! It has been over 10 years since I've been back to my old high school and I'm pretty sure it looks different too. Looks like you and the family had a great family outing.

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    1. Okay, Louida. I already like you, so gratuitous flattery isn't necessary.

      That said, it will get you everywhere. ;-)

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, despite feeling like an old fart, we had a wonderful, wonderful time...

      xo

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  7. Hi Courtney - You haven't changed a bit and are still flashing that million dollar smile. I can't remember the last time I attended a Homecoming game. But this summer, Hubby and I went to my (cough cough) 25th class reunion. It's always interesting to go back isn't it? Hugs, Holly

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    1. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Flattery will get you everywhere.;-)

      Thank you so very much, Holly! And, yes, you could say that the entire experience was, ahem, "interesting."

      xo

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  8. Saddlebags? Puh-leese.

    It's good to know someone else experiences the same sort of nostalgia I do. I haven't gone back to my high school in ... oh... 10 years? Didn't attend the reunion, and actually, my entire home town is on a black list. But... I went back to my school on winter break for a couple years in a row and checked in with old teachers before it all started to fall apart. And my HS marching band comes down here for the college homecoming parade... and I always cheer and feel a sense of pride. It's so odd... so very very odd.

    And while I think you were a cute cheerleader - I daresay you are a much cuter Mom. :)

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    1. Dakota, I shall use the last sentence of your comment as a much-needed affirmation when I look in the mirror and think I know longer "have it." Thank you so much...

      On a much more serious note, I am now intrigued by what you've written about your high school? What happened? Wait. Don't answer. I've got two words for you: blog post.

      Thank you for visiting. And commenting. I don't want to keep you -- you *may* have another blog post to write. ;-)

      xo

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