I got invited back to my high school this year for homecoming. At first I was a little hesitant. I didn’t want to be another Al Bundy reliving the glory years of their high school football years. But I have been helping the school re-launch a new website recently and I was really proud that I was asked to go. I was never a good student in school. I always questioned if I should be there or the public school. But as I have grown older I started to realize that Kennedy really was important to me and who I am today. It wasn’t going to coddle me. If I wanted something I had to work my butt of and go get it.
It made me think back to when I almost failed art my freshmen year. They would combine art and art history and that was always the death of me. The teacher would even give us the questions before the test, but I was so lazy I wouldn’t even take 20 minutes of my life to get prepared. Art is a funny thing. It’s very subjective. My teacher was the track coach and was absolutely crazy about track, it was her first love. I joined the track team that year as a way to maybe sway her feelings about my work, and it really helped out. I did pretty well as a shot putter and discus thrower and I ended up passing for the year. I think that was one of my first lessons in life that things aren’t always black and white and if you are creative and understand what people want, you will have a better chance of succeeding. If I was in another school that made excuses for me or if I had the type of parents that would complain enough I am sure at a different school I could have passed. But I knew at this school it was either figure something out or I was going to fail. Lord knows I wouldn’t just do the school work ☺.
So I went back to the school and brought my kids. I was really proud that they would ever ask a terrible student like me back. When I got there I really felt like I was home. The beautiful fall setting is my perfect memory of football. We were never great when I played, but the atmosphere was always terrific. I went to a game about 5 or 6 years ago and it was pretty dismal, so seeing it filled with energy and “Kennedy Pride” like the old days really felt great.
I thought back to when I used to be a water boy on this field for my brothers team almost 25 years ago. Back then Pat Ross and I would fight over who would be friends Tim Kissling. We hated each other then but when we got to Kennedy as students we would go on to be good friends for the last 20 years. I also thought back to all the games I played here myself. I couldn’t remember too many moments in particular, but I could always remember the early Saturday morning drives along beautiful orange and red tree line streets to get there. I remember always getting there as early as I could and taking my time to get ready. I remember my favorite part about football back then, and that was leaving the locker room after a game and seeing my Mom and Dad waiting for me. No matter how bad I was at school, on those Saturdays they were proud of me and know I worked hard. They never missed a game. I could think back to my Mom always wearing my jersey and a red zip up sweatshirt and standing on the opposite end of the field from the action. Before each play was called in the huddle I would look for her and she was always there. I think those are the reasons I always loved the game of football. I also think those memories coming back into my head whenever I go there or think about that place is why I do all the free work for them all these years. I don’t want those memories to fade.
So here I was a grown man, with my family at the same field and it felt like I never left. I felt part of something again. My college was more about work than spirit and my wife and I still haven’t fully integrated into our current town and aren’t sure if we will. So being back there means something a little more to me I guess than I realized. They also have been making a number of changes there to improve the field, the experience and the logo I did for them was on everything so I really felt proud to be a part of it in some small way. It felt like home.