I don’t spend much time in high schools nowadays. The little time I do spend in my local school is generally limited to the auditorium, where the quarterly band concerts are.
One of my kids had his first youth basketball practice today, so I got to infiltrate the athletic wing.
I couldn’t recall having been there before. It was shinier and nicer-smelling than the high-school athletic wing of my youth.
(Most things I run into are shinier and nicer-smelling than they were in 1990. Curious, that.)
But one thing about the athletic area made it instantly familiar.
It occurred to me that every high school in the country could have the exact same trophies in its display cases, and no one would ever be the wiser.
Perhaps they all do, and these display cases are a quiet, chuckling in-joke among the athletic directors of the world.
(I bet you never thought of your local high school athletic director as puckish, playful or humorous. Maybe he’s playing a fabulous prank on the entire community, out there in plain sight.)
I also had the thought that, at some athletically challenged high school, the senior class might take the money for its senior gift and buy 10 “historic” awards to beef up the school trophy case.
C’mon. If you walked past a display case with plaques reading Runner-Up Hurricane Invitational 1982 and Regional Tournament Champions 1988 and Gus Kekula All-State Third Baseman 1973, would you have any idea they were fake and had been newly minted a month before?
Seems to me that a creatively minded senior class gift could jump-start an athletic tradition at their high school. It would be a better investment than a new sign or new granite bench in front of the school.
I kinda hope I’m not the first person who ever thought of this, and that someone’s actually done it. I’ll never know, though.
(Which is as it should be.)
I was on a couple of cross-country teams in high school that came away from meets with hardware. I wonder if those plaques and trophies are still on display.
My guess is probably not. My old school’s sports teams have gotten markedly better since I graduated. (Coincidence? No.)
I imagine the trophies of 1990 have long since been shouldered aside by garlands of more recent vintage.
That’s fine with me. High schools are no place for immortality, and I have no problem accepting that there is no trace of me left at my old school.
If I’d been All-State, like old Gus Kekula, maybe I’d feel differently.