Last night was another home football game. Fans and spectators filled the stands again sporting their best maroon and white sportswear. There was reason to cheer - and cheer loudly. Cowbells clanged as our team scored touchdown after touchdown. The final score was 40-6; we tromped 'em. I actually began to feel a little sorry for our opponents. After all, last week, it was us.
We've been back in school for more than two weeks now. It's my first year teaching at the local middle school - the same middle school my daughter attended a few years ago. Although I felt somewhat familiar with the building and some of the teachers when the year started, I am now feeling much more a part of the whole community.
They aren't my students (yet) out there on the football field, or in the marching band, or even in the cheerleader outfits, although I do know some of them because of my daughter. But it will only be another year or two before I will be able to look at the rosters and say, "He was the class clown the year I had him," or "She wrote the funniest stories!" Those connections will be there; they're already sprouting.
As I walked past the student section of the bleachers at half time, I heard, "Mrs. Honeycutt!!" I looked over and into the stands and there were three or four of my eighth graders, grinning from ear to ear and waving enthusiastically at me. I grinned and waved back, then found myself waving and saying hi to several more of them as I walked. Even the young girl who, I believe, is developing an enviable dry, sarcastic wit, waved discreetly at me. (She'd told me earlier in the day that if she saw me at the game and didn't wave, it was because she hadn't seen me.) I smiled at her and waved discreetly back.
We all go to those games for different reasons, remember? I went last night because my daughter performed and because it's a community thing, and - finally - I'm really feeling more and more a part of that whole. Once my daughter graduates, I'm still going to have reasons to sit in the stands and yell for the team.
I need to get a cowbell.