When I was in high school, I was extremely anti-pep rally. I am still not sure exactly what was behind all of my white girl angst. While I liked to think of myself as that “alternative” type of person, the reality is that I was editor of our student newspaper, president of the Student Government Association, and Senior Class President. Clearly, I was the type of person who was supposed to fully-embrace the pep rally. My two best friends in high school were also cheerleaders, further confusing me as to why I was so vehement in my distaste. Anyway, I hated pep rallies, plain and simple.
I will say in my defense that I really did feel like basketball players and cheerleaders – in some cases at least – received unequal treatment because of their status as such. There is one incident in particular which I can still recall in which, to my understanding, punishment was seriously lessened because expelling the best players on the team would be very detrimental to the basketball season. Strings were pulled, etc. You know how it goes. So I feel as if my less than peppy stance was at least somewhat justified.
I now work for the school which I attended. This makes my fifth year, and in those five years there has never been a single pep rally…until this year. When the mandate went out that there was a mandatory pep rally (I’ll let you think about that one) after school last week, I immediately began telling myself, “Be an adult. Squash that inner angsty teen and be a good role model.”
All week I heard students moan and groan about it. I kept my mouth shut. They asked me why they had to go. I told them I didn’t know and that I didn’t want to talk about it. Some of those kids – the kids who I would hang with if I were a high school student now – continued to pester me about it. I finally broke down and said, “I don’t know. I am trying to have a good attitude about this. I was extremely anti-pep rally in high school and I am trying hard to fight that urge now.”
That’s probably classified as oversharing.
But I tried hard to be an adult. Until I couldn’t.
What further complicates things is that now I am not only an adult and a teacher, but I am also a coach’s wife. Again, I tried to be mature about things at home, but more often than not I found myself saying sarcastic things to Ryan like, “Can’t wait to go worship you on Tuesday afternoon. Should I go ahead and bow down now?”
I said I tried to be mature. That may be pushing it.
But when the fated day arrived, I did as I was instructed and I kept my mouth shut. I wore my school spirit t-shirt, escorted my class to their assigned seat, sat there and clapped, and even agreed to be part of a class competition in which I had to be wrapped in toilet paper. That right there is proof that I have matured, right?
But you’d better believe I was fighting my high school self every minute. I kept glancing over at the row of kids who I would be sitting with were I ten years younger. Their expressions told me that they were kindred spirits.
Except that I’m an adult, so I will never be their kindred spirit again.