Yet tonight, I enjoyed a football game. It wasn't the circumstances -- in the cold, sitting on metal bleachers. And it wasn't because I thought it important that our team win. I don't think we're superior if we win, or scum if we lose. But this was a very close game, and the lead changed hands five times - three of the times because one player grabbed an opportunity and ran with it. One time, literally - the kid ran 92 yards for a touchdown. One time, the other team got a thirty yard penalty for an offside tackle, which was, according to the general consensus, virtually unheard of. It was touch and go, all the way, and at the end, with twenty nine seconds to go, the throw to a receiver far down the field was spot on, and the kid took two steps into the end zone to put us ahead by three points. At that point, they did something that I didn't know was possible -- with twenty six seconds to go, our team ahead and in possession of the ball, we ended the game. I thought that was unsporting, but then again, what do I know. I'm not a fan. The other team didn't seem too pleased, though.
We had a guest -- a girl my daughter had known in color guard until the girl graduated, two years ago. Her life has been chaotic since then - unexpectedly pregnant by a boyfriend in college, dropped out and moved back into her parent's home with the unemployed boyfriend - who, it turns out, is twice-divorced and three times a father - and her new son. The boyfriend was kicked out of the house for a while, allowed back in, and then again just a few days ago, ejected again. She’s working now at a McDonalds, and mentioned that she wants to move out but feels trapped by the child and the minimal McWage. Her father, whom she thinks does love her (in his own weird way, as she puts it), is a classic control freak. Oh, and she's also bipolar. She doesn't seem desperate for friends, but she clearly was very glad that my daughter had invited her along. I always like my daughter, but when she does things like that, I am especially proud of her.The reason that I was at the game was because it was Senior Recognition Night for team members, band members, and color guard members. Each one, bedecked in a sash covered with flowers (I haven't seen so many flowers in one place since the last Mafia funeral, I said, which got me a strange look from a passing parent) got to go out on the field with parents and be recognized -- one by one, and then en masse. Seeing my daughter high-fiving a girl she's known since preschool, whom, after next year, she'll see rarely, if at all -- that was bittersweet. I felt a little sad for her.
And for me, as I watched the sheer joy that the high school kids were having. I went to a Catholic co-institutional school, and its the main reason that I was more than willing to send my daughter to a public school. It was okay -- nothing particularly draconian about it -- but I am sure that we never had as much all out fun and delight in each other's presence as these kids were having tonight. Dancing, singing, laughing. High school is a time of angst, sure, but fun? Sure couldn't tell it from my own experiences. I was envious. My wife says the band isn't always that exuberant. She asked me if my school had cheerleaders, and I said Sedate ones. Catholic high school, remember? Ah, she replied. No miniskirts? No babes, either, I replied, looking at the incredibly limber girls there. At least, none that I recall.
An interesting evening.