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Go, go, G-O, big red let’s go!

September 7, 2005

Julia and I were talking last night about high school football and things and the discussion eventually led to us talking about the people we were in high school. I got to thinking about it, and I really started thinking about the people I was in high school. I say that in the plural state because from 9th grade to May 24th, 1997, I was so many different people.

As an alumnus of Coconino High School, I must say that despite everything I ever told my ex, I loved high school. I was so full of spirit and I really did enjoy high school, looking back on it. It was such a great time in my life.

I must confess, I was a band geek for three years. I was first chair and section leader of the clarinets for two years, and yes, I did attend band camp, many times. Our band was awesome. We were first in our division in both marching and concert bands, and we took pride in being the best. Our director was a hard ass, and anything short of perfection wasn’t good enough. He didn’t tolerate laziness or procrastination, and his band was all that mattered at the end of the day. And thanks to him, I almost missed one of the most important opportunities of my life. More on that later.

I was a nerd too, while I’m on the subject. Being gifted has its disadvantages, like everyone in Biology class hating you because you’re the freshman that’s throwing the curve. Or having to tutor seniors that struggle with transitional math. Or having Mrs. Weller for 9th grade english. Or Mrs. Madden for AP History. On the flip side, it’s also how I managed to ace Spanish I-V and still can’t speak more than “hola, como esta? Me llamo Eunice, y tu?”; how I wrote an entire essay on The Odyssey, using only notes from class (got an A); and how we collectively got to keep our 11th grade english teacher, Ms. Cox, for AP our senior year.

So far we have Band. Nerd. Two things collectively and seperately. On the totem pole of the high school world, I was most definitely at the bottom. At Morp (backwards prom, like Sadie Hawkins, the girls ask the guys, you wear matching t-shirts, the works), I got asked to dance by the schizophrenic girl in our class that would flip out and bang stuff if she hear the words “okay” or “all right.” I went to the sophomore homecoming dance with my geography teacher’s son, because his mom used to babysit me. I was rejected by every guy I had a crush on, but that didn’t stop me from trying. And for the record, it was a shamrock shaped loaf of bread, not a cake…I swear, I will never live that one down. The only reason anyone knew who I was my 10th grade year is because I started dating the tallest guy in school. My pick up line, at the welcome freshman dance, was irresistable…”hey tall guy. wanna dance?” The rest is a quite sordid history.

Since I had so much going for me at the end of my sophomore year, I tried out for Peers, something I wanted to do more than anything. Peers was a group of peer counselors, and at the time, wanting to be a psych major, I figured was right up my alley. One of the girls in the interview made a joke about “band fags” and I didn’t take it so well, so I didn’t get in. I was devastated. So I went out for the cheer squad instead.

When I came home and told my parents, the look on their faces said it all. “You want to do what?” Seeing that I was a totally geeky band nerd who had straight A’s in honors classes, they just couldn’t see why a girl like me would want to have anything to do with the cheer squad. So they decided to humor me and let me try out.

I remember showing up for tryouts on the first day and everyone looking at me like I was nuts. But I busted tail and I got the routines and the dances and the stunts and I practiced every night and at the end of the week: I not only made the varsity squad, I bumped one of the girls that was already on it off the team. And boy did she hate me for it.

My friends think that I changed drastically when this happened, but they don’t have the picture of me at our first car wash…the whole squad in their daisy dukes and tube tops, and me in my “history day state finalist” t-shirt. I did change, but I didn’t turn into this stuck up snob or anything. I didn’t forget my roots. I didn’t quit band, I showed up to practice and led my section as always, and performed in my cheer uniform, running all over the field like a maniac. My dad showed me the tape once, in an effort to get me to quit, but I was like, “wow! look at me go!” Until 3rd quarter, I kept my 4.0. Then I got my first C ever in AP history, and while bawling my head off, my mom, in effort to console me, said, “But it’s AP honey, it only counts as a B!” That didn’t help. I hated the girls on my squad, but oh boy did I love being a cheerleader. I only wished I was shorter so I could have been a flier and not a base.

My senior year, I tried out again for Peers and made it (only because one of the guys made an offhand comment in physics as to why I wasn’t at my interview that morning, and I found out it was because the band director forgot to give me the note when the aide brought it to class the day before. Luckily, they rescheduled me.), but it meant that I had to quit band to be able to do it, so I did. I didn’t go out for cheer, and for the first year, it was so fun to go to the football games as just a spectator and not be playing in the band or cheerleading or anything else. I was on-again-off-again with the tall guy, and got really into my AP physics and independent study physics classes (and the physics student teacher, Mr. “Buns of” Steele). So in the end, I was still a geek at heart, me and all my alter egos.

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