That was a familiar chant during my childhood, for I lived in the home of the mighty Seymour Owls athletic teams. My dad was a sports fanatic, and in addition to being a teacher he was the junior high boys’ basketball coach (rocker John Mellencamp was on his team once).
My mom made me a purple corduroy pantsuit which I wore with pride. I remember my dad having the boys’ team over to our house once when I was about six and I wore my purple pantsuit, although I was incredibly embarrassed being in the same room with those grown up boys!
It was only years later that I heard someone comment, an owl? Your mascot is an OWL? I had never thought about it, but I guess an owl isn’t the first animal to come to mind when you think of a feared competitor, huh?
Despite my dad’s enthusiasm, I was never a sports fan at all. I remember in junior high we would occasionally have “pep sessions” where we were all herded into the gym to cheer and scream for our boys’ teams. These sessions greatly annoyed me, and it was all I could do to even stand up and watch. I mean, come on! We were taking time out of class to cheer on these guys, the vast majority of whom were not exactly the sharpest crayons in the box? Just because they could bounce a ball down a room? Really?
I think of this attitude and see it carrying over to my adulthood (I think it’s one of the fun things about being an adult that you can connect the dots regarding your own personality) when it comes to church. I regret to say that a lot of Sunday services at our church feel a bit pep session-y to me, with the clapping, swaying, and “giving the Lord a hand clap.” I’m sure it’s because my vision of God must just differ from theirs, but it seems akin to performing on stage for a watching Queen Elizabeth, only to finish with, “I wanna give a shout out to my homegirl Lizzie the balcony!” It just seems … inappropriate? wrong? Supply your own adjective.
I also remember once during my first few years of teaching. The principal called me into his office and questioned a failing grade I had “given” to the basketball team star, thereby preventing his playing in a big game. Couldn’t I adjust the grade a little?
I was shocked … I thought you were supposed to give kids the grades they earned. His athletic status had honestly never even crossed my mind – but apparently it had crossed someone else’s. And this was an elementary school! The mind boggles when it considers many worse things that happen with older kids.
Athletic memories, anyone? Funny mascot stories? Have at it in the comments…