Monday, August 31, 2009

Thoughts from a Pep Rally

For many of them, the past four years will be the best of their life.

They still haven't had a winning season.

* * * *

Watching the crowd, you learn a bit about the general nature of the kids. Freshmen nervously turn to see if the others are having fun before they allow themselves to act. Even then they are hesitant and shy. They are too afraid of not being cool, making them inherently uncool. The sophomores seem more sure of themselves but are slow to get to their feet. Instead of twitching from side to side like songbirds looking for a cat, they lumber quietly and surely to their feet like cattle on a hot day. They act willingly, but without enthusiasm. The juniors are enthusiastic, but still a little reserved, looking to the seniors for confirmation that it is, in fact, okay to act like an idiot sometimes. Seniors, on the other hand, pretty much just say, "fuck it" and do whatever it takes to enjoy their time since they have to be here anyway.

They are also the most willing to cheat at tug of war.

* * * *

I feel sorry for his brother. For the past two years they've walked the halls in tandem, the larger always escorting the smaller to his next class before the halls fill with the bodies of their peers. His legs are metal and painted with flames. He keeps his balance with the type of crutches people who will never walk without them use. Today, after the other students have rushed out of the gym to the buses in noisy clusters of friends, his brother patiently shadows him, picking up dropped crutches, as he struggles up the bleacher stairs and out of the building. I've never seen either of them smile.

* * * *

I was a bit shocked to see the school's two goth girls dressed in the sparkly, sequin-encrusted dresses of the marching band flag corps. Their hair was still died unnaturally dark, but gone was the black makeup, its place taken by peppier tones. They seemed as genuinely comfortable in the flashy attire of stereotypical adolescence as they do in their black and gray and skulls during the day. They have a lot in common with the head cheerleader and homecoming queen who spends her weekends in the fall showing her prize hog at agricultural fairs.


courtney said...

Nicely written.

Sid said...

I loved reading this. I love how you notice the way people behave. I love how detailed your description was. It really gave me an insight into the type of life you live.

A Free Man said...

Wonderfully written, Jacob. Takes me back to high school. Makes me glad that they weren't the best years of my life.

Julie said...

I think we only had about one pep rally per year and I was OK with that. I think my freshman insecurities lasted at least through junior year...