Friendship, School spirit & Me
Posted March 29, 2011on:
After my brother’s team lost a baseball game, our grandmother offered some consoling words as only a grandma can. “Don’t feel bad. You made some friends today.”
I don’t think those words would give solace to the University of Kansas basketball team that unexpectedly lost Sunday in the Elite 8 of the NCAA men’s tournament to a team that wasn’t supposed to be there. The pain on their faces and the tears of some players showed their palpable despair. That’s March Madness.
I have become a big fan of the KU Jayhawks and picked it to win in the tournament in my NCAA bracket. Of course, so did just about everyone else in the mostly Kansas-based bracket. I am a woman of great loyalties, although not so much with my own schools.
For full disclosure, I did spend six weeks at KU in the summer of 1969 when I attended a six-week intensive Spanish language program. It was called a “camp” and we were called “campers,” which meant they kept us on a short leash. But I came out speaking Spanish pretty well although I did not take Spanish after I graduated from high school in 1970. Dumb of me.
My loyalty is to my kids first and to the schools they attended, not my own. I had great pride and school spirit in Logan High School in La Crosse, where my kids went and had wonderful experiences.
So why the University of Kansas? Maggie earned her master’s degree from KU, after her bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota.
Even though I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, my loyalties go to Minnesota whenever those two schools play each other. All other times I rooted for Wisconsin, although I’m now upset with it for the chancellor trying to separate from the rest of the University of Wisconsin System campuses.
And now Michael, a Minnesota graduate, is at Emory University in a comparative literature Ph.D. program. I am now loyal to Emory as well. It has a division III athletic program, which I must add has never lost a single football game. There is a shirt that I want that says, “Emory football: still undefeated.”
Where does my dedication to school come from? I entered high school with great excitement and hope but soon discovered not all shared my enthusiasm. In my sophomore year at Ladue High School – the first after junior high – I got my undies in a bundle.
I decided our class was not showing proper school spirit and, undoubtedly with elbows akimbo, I was determined to correct it. I don’t remember the exact wording on the signs we posted around school but they were something like:
- “Where is the Sophomore Class?”
- “Whatever happened to the Class of ’70?”
- “Has anyone seen the school spirit of the class of ’70?”
Perhaps I had a 1950s vision of what high school was supposed to be like, minus the poodle skirts. Or I was a self-righteous twit. I’m picking the latter.
My campaign did not go well. Mostly, students thought it was pretty dumb, which may explain why I completely lost my school spirit, such as it was. I went to a few football games and my brother’s basketball games. By my senior year I had pretty much checked out of high school.
I apparently had shoveled down that memory of my aborted school spirit campaign. But it came back to me Monday as I was thinking about the spirit that KU graduates have for their team.
To all of you who are disappointed, I can’t speak for friendship with the state of Virginia. But you have a friend in Wisconsin and I will always put you as winning in my bracket.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk!