Tag Archives: highschool

Friday night lights

High School FootballI live a few blocks away from a high school, and in the fall we can listen to football games being played from our backyard. Tonight, I have my windows open and I’m listening to a combination of the football announcer, the band playing and crickets chirping. Guy Fieri and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives flashes across my almost-muted TV.

This is a fairly typical Friday night for me these days, but back in high school Fridays made for long days.

I was in the marching band, first as a flute player then later as a member of the colorguard. Friday nights meant game time. There’s a reason why all the high school football movies are set in Texas. There’s a rabid love for the game at the high school level that I just truly don’t think anywhere else can duplicate. There’s a passion and a love for football across the country, but its definitely amped up a notch or two down there.

In my hometown, I think we lived for football season. It’s when the town came to life. It’s when there was a little extra pride to be found in everyone’s eyes.

As I said, Fridays were long days for me during football season. I lived in the country, which meant when school let out, I almost never went home between school and game-time. There just wasn’t enough time to make it a worthwhile trip. Many times I would leave home around 7:30 am, and I’d not return home until well after midnight (if it was an away game). But that didn’t matter. I ran on an adrenaline that no cup of coffee could ever recreate.

It was all about the lights and the field. It was about the war that was going to be waged goal line to goal line. It was the sound of the band and the smell of the popcorn. It was the little kids watching with glowing eyes; some day they’d play the game or be the cheerleader. It’s the socializing side of the night, when friends would get together and gossip about their week. It was the parents watching with pride (and the mothers watching with a little big of fear). It was the sound of the announcer’s voice booming over the speakers.


Eventually, though, we all graduate. We play our last game. March our last half-time show. Cheer our last cheer. Sing our school song with arms around our classmates for the last time. We close that chapter of our lives and we all move on…

…until we hear that announcer across a quiet late-summer/early-fall night. We hear the horns and the drums and the clash of helmets. And if only for three or hour hours we go back to those high school glory-days and let today’s worries and stresses get washed away.

It’s the magic of the Friday night lights, and I, for one, am glad they are back.

Has it really been 10 years? Yes… it has.

My core group from high school... all grown up.
My core group from high school... all grown up.

After counting down to my 10-year class reunion, it is only right that I write about the actual reunion.

I flew into Texas on Wednesday night prior to my reunion. I had planned to attend the Homecoming football game, but much needed rain set into Central Texas this week and… well… there’s an amazing thing about being 10 years out of high school:

Sitting in the rain at your high school’s football game isn’t as high of a priority as it once was.

I drove by the stadium to find my Yoemen winning and see that the stands were actually fairly full. Then I went to visit my brother and his family for the evening.

The next day, Saturday, was the reunion. There was a class picnic in the morning in which classmates could bring their children out the play and mingle. However, as someone who lives on a musician’s schedule (i.e. going to bed around 4 or 5, getting up at noon) making a morning picnic was… well… it didn’t happen. I got up at noon.

My core group of girl friends came over to my parent’s house prior to the reunion to have a small baby shower for one of my friends who is pregnant (and expecting in November… a good month, in my opinion. hehe) I was REALLY glad to have that time, just the five of us, to catch up before going to the full-class gathering. Even though we’ve actually successfully gotten together a hand-full of times in the last few years, it was still nice to reconnect and catch up.

The two classmates I've known the longest... I'm happy to have this picture now. I've known both close to 25 years. Crazy.
The two classmates I've known the longest... I'm happy to have this picture now. I've known both close to 25 years. Crazy.

We headed out, in the rain, to our reunion together. We all tried to guess how many of our classmates would be there. I felt the number would be fairly low, but we actually had a really good turn out! I would guess that just shy of half our class came out. (Keep in mind, my class was right around 100 people.)

Here is what is the coolest thing about the whole night: we all seemed to be on an even slate. It was rather comforting to watch how the same groups of people still hung out with one another. Like the group I was with most were the same people I ran with through high school. However, there was none of the cliche high school cliques any more. I found myself floating between groups easily…

And that in and of itself is something I found had changed about ME. I couldn’t sit still for long. I had the need and urge to meander around. People watch from other angles. Talk to various people. Dance. Join in on rounds of shots. If I could name the number one change about me from high school: I’m not as shy as I was back then. Its something I, with all honesty, credit my husband with making happen, and I am so grateful for it.

Facebook took a lot of the mystery out of the night ahead of time. Most of my classmate’s spouses I recognized from pictures they have posted online. Many of us also knew exactly what we are all doing today. Nonetheless, it didn’t make it any less amazing to listen to people speak of their spouses and/or their children. I quickly came to realize that seeing someone in a photo is nothing like seeing them in person. Nothing like getting a taste of their personality today.

Many toasts were said through the course of the night. Most humorous. Some serious. Here's to the Class of 1999. I love you guys!
Many toasts were said through the course of the night. Most humorous. Some serious. Here's to the Class of 1999. I love you guys!

Most of my classmates haven’t changed much, only getting better with time. A few I had to almost smile with how they’ve really not changed at all, as certain traits from back then shined right through the changes in looks that age brings.

Speaking of which, there was a lot of comfort in the fact that name tags were not necessary at our reunion, as classmates were easily recognized. A few people I saw I’d, in all honesty, completely forgotten about, but I was pleased to recognize.

There were classmates missing that I had wished would be there. It would have been wonderful to catch up with them. But work, finances, and miles kept many away, and that is something I understand all too well.

My only regrets of the night are that we didn’t take a class photo and that my husband couldn’t be there with me. But, there is always the next reunion… be it in 5 or 10 years. I’m already looking forward to it.