The Big Game

Tonight is Big Game night.  High school football big rivalries team up against each other for the final fight of the regular season.  But that is not all that will “team” up; sometimes the towns team up against each other, too.

The Big GameFriday Night Lights takes on an entire new meaning in my neck of the woods.  I have really never seen anything like it until I moved to this area when I was a junior in high school.  I was completely overwhelmed how an entire high school could, basically, suspend all learning to be athletic supporters (pun intended).  By mid-week, all the hallways were elaborately decorated (students were in and out of classes to do so), students were dressed in daily themes (pajama day, hat day, hippie day – some kids took this one a little too far) and pretty much, the school itself was in a constant state of chaos that all led up to Friday’s end of the school day pep rally and The Big Game. This was my perception as a junior in high school.

Seeing the rivalry as an adult has taken on a whole other dimension for me – one that is almost worse than in my high school days.  At the start of September, before the school year is even in full swing, papers begin to trickle home. “Go Team, Beat the Other Team” t-shirt sales, stickers, information regarding The Big Game and spirit week and community pep rally events. And so it goes.  I have two dudes who both want the “latest and greatest limited edition” t-shirt design created specifically for The Big Game.  There are “all-calls” from the schools about the community bonfire, ticket sales and even spirit day themes.

There was also community outrage about the town’s trick or treat schedule because it conflicted with the scheduled community bonfire/pep rally. Many wrote letters to the editor.  Many complained about it on social media. Many are just plain crazy.

The rivalry may seem a little bit out of control.

This spring, some seniors from my town decided to paint the windows of their Big Game rival school with window paint – less than two weeks before graduation. Unbeknownst to them, the rival school had their windows treated with special UV decals to help keep the rooms cooler.  The window paint ruined the window treatments, costing thousands and thousands of dollars in damage.

Outrage and panic commenced from both towns.  Both communities were quickly playing judge and jury.  Both communities yelled about how horrible these seniors were.  Both communities made a frenzy out of the issue.  Both communities wanted these students to pay – with more than money.  Some of the common phrases heard around the area were: “These students have no respect,” “They should not be able to graduate,” “They should be arrested and have a criminal record,” “They are vandals,” “They should not walk at graduation,” and even as far as saying, “They must have horrible parents!”

Amazingly enough, no one said anything about how this zillion year old rivalry might have affected their judgment. And no one pointed out the fact that they have been raised on this rivalry, so of course they might make a bad decision based on the craziness of The Big Game.  No one mentioned that since the tender age of kindergarten, these students had been going to the community pep rallies and bonfires and dressing up for spirit week and buying the latest, limited-edition Big Game t-shirt.  No one mentioned any of this.  Instead, they wanted these students to miss graduation. Unreal.

Now, I don’t condone their behavior. I would be livid if it was my child, but I do think the issue is more than just a few seniors vandalizing property.  I firmly believe that the rivalry is so ingrained in them they can’t see the forest for the trees. The seniors mentioned above did get to graduate – and walk at graduation to the dismay of some. However, they lost out on some other rights of passage like Senior Day.  And respect.  They were required to perform many hours of community service and make restitution for the ruined windows.  Many people – in both towns – felt this was not enough.  They felt these seniors deserved the book thrown at them.

But, hey, enough about that.  After all, tonight is the big game.  These same community members will be heading to the stadium.  These same community members were a part of the record attendance at the community pep rallies.  These same community members stood in line for hours to buy their Big Game tickets.  These same community members participated in the annual adult party after the community pep rally.  They have purchased those limited-edition t-shirts. They have even trash-talked the rival team for weeks on Facebook (believe me, I have almost blocked people because of this). They are ready for The Big Game.  As they were last year and the year before – even the parents of those window-painting seniors.

IMG_4029So, what am I going to do as a parent to help my dudes put the rivalry in perspective?  I am going to start by skipping The Big Game tonight.  We are going to visit with friends and talk about other things.  We may even play board games, like Life, Sorry and The Game of Things – a big favorite around these parts.

I guess it will be The Big Game with us tonight, without the limited-edition t-shirts.  Monopoly, anyone?

Advertisements

Thirsting for Thursday and Yuengling

The latest fascination to come to Ohio is not what one would normally expect.  No celebrity made a special visit here.  No politician came through on a train waving to the crowds.  No steel plant began making a Jetson-type flying automobile.  But one thing came to Ohio and caused a big stir (or froth, if you will) and that was Pennsylvania’s own Yuengling Lager.

Now I know that a beer making its way into Ohio may not seem like a big deal, but this was epic.  The arrival of this beer had major news coverage – TV, internet, newspapers and basically lit up Facebook and Twitter as if the President was giving everyone all of their income tax back.  The beer of beers was finally to be released in Ohio.  Buckeye epic.

When something as extraordinary as this happens, people begin to brag.  One guy I know told everyone that the craze would fizzle out right after it started.  He went on to boast that there are other micro brews that are bigger, stronger and tougher.  Whatever, dude.  Go have another Coors Light.

For many years before this amazing arrival, my husband and I have always picked up a case of this special brew in Pennsylvania.  It was always nice to have it in the fridge, and nice to know that on our next visit there we would do the same again. Which leaves me to my point:  Gone were the days when we would grab a case on our way back to Ohio, but hello to the days of running (driving) only two short miles to get the amazing micro brew.  Now, I don’t have to spend any extra money on gas driving to Pittsburgh because Giant Eagle has my Yuengling.

But, is all of the hype really worth it?  Was it really necessary to skip the important news and completely ramp up the arrival a beer that has been available in 14 other states for quite a while?  I am reminded of George Orwell’s novel 1984.  In the book, the “government” was all about distracting the public from their mundane lives with sports, pornography, gambling and alcohol.  Well, welcome to Ohio!  The arrival of Yuengling has done just that.  Who cares that the Browns are a horrible team because, hey, we’ve got Yuengling.  Who cares who is running for President because, yes, we’ve got Yuengling.  Who cares that Ohio’s businesses are leaving the state because, dude, we’ve got Yuengling.  Who cares that the economy is in the toilet because, sweet, we’ve got Yuengling.

Welcome home, Yuengling.  Ohio loves you.  Now, to getting some legalized gambling here and we will be all set.  Epic.

Here is an epic link to an article about the arrival of Yuengling.

Tonight, I've got my Yuengling.

Musicals: Amish Style

Romeo and Juliet of the Amish world?

I can’t make this stuff up.  This is a poster advertising a new musical.  Although it is not well-known, it may become a Tony Award winner.  It is called The Confession, an Amish Love Story and a new musical.

There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t even know where to begin.  First, it is an oxymoron.  Second, who is going to come and see it?  And, third, why did I see this sign to begin with?

I live in Ohio.  There is an Amish population not too far from me.  I don’t visit there very often (although they do have good cheese), but sometimes I am put into situations that force me to drive into the cusp of the Amish world.  On Saturday, a friend of mine had a birthday and she wanted to go to the Amish world to have some down home Amish cookin’. Here are the gist of my texts with the birthday planner:

Me: Really?  They don’t serve any wine there.

Birthday planner: That is where she wants to go.  It is her birthday, you know?

Me: Yeah, I understand. But they don’t serve any wine there.

And so it goes.  When we got there, the poster above greeted us by the hostess station.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.  Seriously, I thought, there is a musical for an Amish love story?  This could be epically hilarious or an epic fail.  After staring at the poster for an unrealistic amount of time, I decided that instead of their title, they needed to go more mainstream.  Here are some of the suggestions I have for Amish musicals to, you know, attract more of an audience:

Thoroughly Modern Miller

How to Succeed in Plowing without Fueled Machinery

Hamalot: The Quest for the Golden Butter Churn

Eli and the Amazing Technicolor Barn

Beauty and the Buggy

The Phantom of the Lumber Yard

A Grand Night for Quilting

Me and My Goat

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sawmill

The Yoder Family

Seven Beards for Seven Troyers

Little Shop of Knick-Knacks

Bring in ‘Da Cows, Bring in ‘Da Pigs

I could go on, but I think I have given the Amish community some golden, buttery, homemade noodle nuggets of suggestions.  Maybe I will think of some novel ideas for them next week, like “Gone With the Electricity” and “The Scarlett Bonnet.”