Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Four More Years


I went to my son's high school incoming freshman open house tonight at Waukesha South High School. It was my second time at such an event, because I had gone through the whole spiel with Sarah 3 years ago.  (It seems hard to believe that it was 3 years ago already.) It was the usual informational/logistical meeting followed up by 3000 people cramming into too-small of a hallway to sign up for sports, clubs and activities. It is a necessary evil, but one I don't typically look forward to very much.

Sitting there in the auditorium and walking the halls gave me flashbacks to my own high school experience. I remember being that age and all the fears, insecurities and apprehensions that came with it. I remember walking into the hallways of Cretin that first summer to sign up for freshman football. I knew no one, or so it seemed. Very few of my fellow 8th grade football teammates played freshman year, so it was me and a bunch of new kids. It seemed like they all had at least one good friend on the team too. While I felt alone, I loved the sport enough to not care.

I remember the first day of uniform issue at Cretin as well. Sargent Stewart was the staff member in charge of keeping people in line and keeping order. He did it well. He was the screamer. "Pants?!? Men don't wear pants! They're trousers, son!"

Good to know.

That whole uniform issue thing was kinda traumatic, actually. We were herded, by class, through a dark equipment storage are where, after handing our measurements to the various stations, were handed:

2 Pair of Army Green Trousers
2 Tan pocketed cotton shirts
1 Dress Coat (Blouse)

All of this was done while the military staff shouted commands to the students and each other. Talking while in line was discouraged and if you bent the rules, Sargent Stewart was right there screaming and spitting in your face. It wasn't nearly boot camp, but was close enough to scare the urge to enlist right out of me.

Overall, my high school experience was OK. It seems like kids today maybe have higher expectations put on them, but I'm not sure. My school was considered "college prep" (like what high school shouldn't be considered that?) so we were pushed as hard as anywhere else at the time. It just seems like parents today are a bit more helicoptering with what their kids need to take, the grades they need to get, etc. Because I grew up in a 6 kid single-parent household, I wasn't hawked over by my mom at all. She was happy to see me consistently get a B average, and even happier to see me stay out of trouble.

Our kids are both radically different from each other, in regards to school and sports. It will take some getting used to having two very different high schoolers haunting my house next year. At the same time, I want to relish the time we have them, because before you know it, I'll be at a College open house, waxing nostalgic about my college days.

Blogging off...


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