Monday, September 17, 2012

Flashback to High School

by Kim Van Sickler

For those of you with kids, you've probably spent plenty of time at their schools. Whether volunteering, attending open houses and parent/teacher conferences, dropping off and picking up the kids, or supporting them by watching their music concerts/sporting events, there's plenty of opportunity to hearken back to our own school days.

And I have. Plenty of times. Probably more than I should.

I still have those nightmares where I forget where my locker is, can't remember my locker combination, misplace my school schedule and don't know which class to go to next, forget to attend a class all semester and now it's finals time and I need to study and take a test in a class I know nothing about.

But this year something new has been added to the equation. High school football games.
First home game of the season had the benefit of a blue moon
Football games are different than any other type of school event. They are huge social outlets. HUGE. And this year, as I traipse from football game to football game to watch my brilliant daughter play mellophone in a competition marching band, I find myself re-living a particular high-school experience I didn't even like the first time around.

That experience of needing to hang out with other people at football games.

You see, I've discovered that at these highly social affairs I just don't feel comfortable sitting by myself watching the game.

Because no one else does. And I guess I'm too concerned about being seen as a loser.

That is a total high school reaction.

Guess who hasn't progressed as much beyond high school as she'd like to believe she has?

I fight it tooth and nail, but my high school self always wins out.

I refuse to make plans to meet with anyone ahead of time, telling myself I'll just show up to watch the band.

Then, I get to the game and resort to panic at the thought of everyone having someone to sit with/talk to and me being that annoying third wheel.

OMG. For real? Why do I care? Why can't I just go to a game and watch my daughter perform? Teenage angst. Maybe there are some experiences that we are destined to re-live over and over and over again.
Some Willoughby South marching band members
I swear, I'm going to go to her next game and not care who I see and who I sit with.

Does anyone believe me?


  1. Find another band parent to sit with. I find that when I go to events at my daughter's school, I know way more people there than I did at my own high school, since my daughter attended the middle school where I teach and I know many of the other parents that way. Hopefully, as we get older, we build coping mechanisms that help us deal with those high school experiences. Good luck. (My daughter decided against marching band, so I don't have to suffer!)

  2. I had one son who played football and one who played Sousaphone in the marching band. For years, we sat on the 50-yard line with the varsity parents. I never felt like I fit in. Then one game, when I happened to go by myself, I sat near the end zone with the band parents. It was a completely different experience. No one screamed at the refs, people chatted - with me, and it was fun.

  3. You know something? After I queued this up for posting I checked my Facebook page and a band parent had taken a photo of my daughter and her boyfriend and posted it on my page. You're right, so many of the band parents are warm and welcoming. And we're there to watch the same thing.

  4. I often sat alone & people-watched (a great activity for a writer) & eavesdropped. At my son's soccer game, I overheard a group of mothers complaining about the size of the "ringer" our team had slipped in. "He has to be 2 years older than our kids!" The kid was my son & he was younger than most of the other players, just big for his age. Once they watched him play for a while, they quit complaining. (He didn't play like someone 2 years older.) I liked getting the perspective from someone else's viewpoint.

    1. You're right about great people watching at these games: adults and kids!

  5. LOL This is why you write YA, Kim.

    High school football isn't a big deal in Canada, or at least not in the city I live in. When there's a game, only friends and family show up. Hockey is a bigger deal, but it's not played through the high schools. It's organized through the hockey association.

    1. I guess I wouldn't have this issue with hockey. Marching bands have not yet learned how to gracefully march on that ice.

  6. LOL, I can TOTALLY see that happening!!!! So tell me, are you sitting with the cool kids or the bank geeks or... :D

    1. I am equal opportunity, honest. In fact, many of the band parents grew up to be the cool kids.

  7. Oh, I have all those same nightmares!

    My kids happened to attend the same HS I did, so some of the parents were classmates of mine. They're a lot friendlier now than they were then. I even went over to a cheerleader/basketball princess's house for chili. Her son was the quarterback -- but mine was one of his favorite receivers. :) And she's SO much nicer now. She was actually nice enough then, too, but we can all talk to people besides just our group now.