For those of you who thought the Homecoming field decoration was amusing, rest assured that I did as well. The most amusing part of all was that the “hand” giving the aforementioned finger was actually the wildcat (our mascot) paw that our athletic director had painstakingly painted the day before the big game. I didn’t know this until later in the day, and when I went to the game on Friday night I had to laugh at the efforts to restore the paw to its original state–lots of borders and filler paint.
Many people, including my principal, were infuriated, but personally I think we should expect homecoming pranks. They’re teenagers, after all. When I was in high school the highlight of football season was not homecoming, but the week of the big game against our arch rivals. It was a REALLY. BIG. DEAL. Mascots were hanged in effigy, or left on school property in homemade coffins. Dead flowers were sent. School colors were spray-painted on the rival school’s shrubs. It was awesome. Nothing was destroyed or altered beyond repair, so no one ever got into trouble, and we would spend months after the game trying to think of a prank to outdo the current year’s. That’s what I call school spirit.
Kids don’t have that kind of spirit these days, at least not where I teach. The bird-flipping wildcat paw gives me a kind of hope for the future–that perhaps it wasn’t OUR juniors after all, but the juniors from the school we played on Friday night, and that maybe our kids will jump on the bandwagon next year and return the favor. I’m sure the administration and members of the community would prefer something less vulgar, so I’ll send my ideas, born from school spirit of the past, out into the universe:
The team we typically play for homecoming has as its mascot the Phoenix. The possibilities are endless: Phoenix in a pot of “boiling water”…Phoenix over a fire…Phoenix on a platter. Ah, those were the days.