I just found the blog of someone I met on Monday who has just moved here from Utah. Her most recent post is about the insane amount of school spirit my school apparently has. I read this and thought "...aren't all high schools like this?"
Kids wear school T-shirts all the time, apparently the local Rite-Aid sells a ton of school merchandise that the SCHOOL ITSELF doesn't actually sell, our speed bumps are painted school colors, and the seniors were all told to wear "senior crowns" on the first day and some decorated their cars for the occasion. Oh, and the water tower across the street reads "Class of 2012." (I feel like this water tower is a countdown to my simultaneous doom and freedom. I've watched the number rise my entire life, and soon it'll be painted with mine.)
Those were some of the things she listed, and when put like that, I guess it is a bit unusual. And yes, some kids take it to an extreme (there's a guy who wears a school-themed RUG as a cloak on the last day of spirit week. We have no idea where he got this rug.) I just never thought about it that way before--this is all I've ever known.
You read in books about kids going "Blech. School sucks. I just want to be done with it. This is boring. I have no school spirit." And the thing is, my school has plenty of those kids. We just...keep them well-hidden to outsiders or something (or maybe the spirited ones are just louder).
Some of it's all tradition, though. This school has been around for over 100 years, after all, so a lot of kids' parents (or even grandparents) went there. We have a road named after the guy who was the band director in the 70s. One of the town's two biggest events of the year centers around our marching band, and the other's a massive craft fair at which the band also plays.
You can see the depth of the tradition just by driving downtown (it's just one street):
- Train station
- Methodist church
- Baptist church
- Drug store
- Post office
- A couple restaurants with "through the decades" murals
- The building that used to be my high school up until the 60s, now a Performing Arts Center
I may have blogged a long time ago about an elderly couple I once saw on a bench outside the drug store enjoying ice cream cones together: I bet they walked down the street to go get ice cream when they were teenagers.
My parents grew up in a (different, and even tinier) small town, so even their stories make the fading vestiges of those days around here seem familiar/normal. This might be the early 21st century, but in some small respects, my town (although it's big enough now that I don't know if that word applies anymore) has yet to grow up.
I can't wait until homecoming week when this girl sees the guys running around campus with giant flags yelling "GREEN! WHITE! GREEN! WHITE!" Ha.