I need to rally some personal pep.
Tomorrow our football team heads to the state tournament, the first time in school history. The players are nervous and excited; our small campus is abuzz with hope and joy (in part because we could wear jeans and T-shirts to show school spirit today). In celebration, we had a pep rally seventh period — complete with a message of encouragement from a local youth pastor and mini concert from a pair of Christian rappers from the group Authentik. Those specials just topped off the usual cheers and recognition. Every bit of it was loud. Fun, but loud.
In between sixth and seventh period, while I was manning the hallway doors, I noticed one senior heading to the parking lot instead of joining the swarm of enthusiastic middle and high school students en route to the auditorium. A few minutes later he returned.
“Oh, you’re back,” I said. “I saw you going to your car and thought I was going to have to report you for skipping.” I smiled.
“Well, you know, it was tempting,” he responded, opening his arms to represent a scale. “Pep rally or go home.”
“I know what you mean. I have a pile of papers on my desk I would rather grade.”
He laughed and headed toward the rest of the student body. He thought I was kidding.
While I enjoy fun as much as the next overwhelmed teacher, the thought of actually getting through a stack of tests and essays before heading home on a Friday before an overfilled weekend suited me more than attending a pep rally — especially since it meant hurriedly cramming papers into a crate to carry home for grading. But I went.
It was fun to see the students pressed up against the stage fully engaged in the music, our mascot dancing amid the crowd — and teachers and parents conservatively lining the back of the auditorium.
As it turns out, I was needed to summon a student whose mother had arrived early to pick him up, to locate the headmaster, to find the maintenance man to get the remote to raise the screen… which allowed me to be present but not completely deaf by the end of the pep rally.
I retired to my classroom just before Cody the Cougar walked the hallway to the cheers of the grammar students.
“Let’s go, Cougars, let’s go!”
A few minutes later their cheer became, “Hurry up, Cougars, hurry up!” with about 30 repetitions.
I’m not sure why they changed their chant, but it made me smile (and choose to remain secluded in my classroom for a few more minutes).
But I still need to rally some personal pep.
“Let’s go, Sara, let’s go!”