Monday, November 2, 2009

Stand Up, Sit Down, Fight, Fight, Fight!

TODAY'S MEMORY JOGGER: "Do you have a special school memory?"

So many memories come to mind it would be a very long post if I tried to include them all so, since my time is limited today, I'm going to pick just one.

Yes.  It was very difficult to pick just one!

I will say, though, the one I've picked is an all-time favorite.

In 1971 I had just entered Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, CA., as a freshman.  Go Seahawks!!!  My BFF, Judy, and I had both tried out for the drill team.  We'd gone to weeks & weeks of after-school practice, performed the routines in front of the leaders & current members of the team, and now the day had rolled around when we'd find out whether or not we'd made the cut.

Each girl who had made it would receive notification during one of her morning classes.  A current member of the drill team would come to the class, hand the teacher a note, and then leave.  The teacher would then read out the name of the girl who'd made the team.

Sounds so nice and personal, right?  True, it was much nicer than everyone crowding around a list and then either squealing happily, or walking away dejectedly, but it did make for a very nerve-wracking morning!  In every class, every time someone walked by in the hall, or came into the room, my heart would pound and I'd wonder, is this it???  And every time it wasn't "it," I would be sure that I hadn't made the team.

Thank goodness I only had to sit on the pins-and-needles through the middle of my second period class.  Geography.  In came a girl dressed in the red-and-white drill team outfit to hand a folded piece of paper to the teacher.

"Well, Miss Hansen," he said, and gave me a smile.  "Looks like you've made the drill team.  That's quite an accomplishment."

Those were his very words, his exact words.  I remember them so well because, not only was I super-excited to have made the team, but they were the only words of praise I ever received from this particular teacher -- I didn't do at all well in his class!

I couldn't wait to see Judy at the mid-morning break which was called "Nutrition" but, based on what we all bought from the vending machines, would have been more aptly named "Junk Food."  The minute I saw her, though, I could tell by her expression that she hadn't yet gotten her own good news. I tried to reassure her; there were still two more classes before lunch.

As I remember it, Judy and I had 4th period together, the last class before lunch. I don't remember the subject of the class, I want to say History, but I'm really not sure.  At any rate, I can recall how sad Judy was in class that day, because third period had come and gone, and now it was fourth period, her last chance to get notified, and by then she had pretty much convinced herself that she hadn't made the team.

I was bummed, too, because I couldn't imagine drill team being even remotely as much fun without Judy there, too; after all, we did everything together! We'd spent hours in our yards practicing the try-out routines and encouraging each other, and it was just inconceivable that we hadn't both made it, we both knew those routines perfectly!  We'd even already learned most of the cheers that we'd be screaming from the bleachers, including this one:

Lean to the left,
Lean to the right,
Stand up,
Sit down,
Fight!  Fight!  Fight!

We'd already made our red-and-white pompoms!

The clock kept ticking relentlessly toward noon, and Judy's head got lower and lower.  I knew how bad she felt, and I felt terrible, too.  It was just unbelievable that we hadn't both been chosen, that we wouldn't be having this very important high school experience together.  If we weren't both on the team I didn't know if I wanted to be on it at all.

I was just beginning to think I'd forego drill team for my freshman year, and then Judy and I could both try out again as sophomores, when the door opened.  Ten minutes before the end of class.  It was a drill team member and in her hand she carried The Note!

If the Los Angeles Harbor Light had burned out we could've just stood Judy up on top of it to keep the ships safe, that's how much she beamed!

NEXT WEEK'S MEMORY JOGGER: "Tell about a frustrating experience you've had with a car."


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