Saturday, November 3, 2007
This has been a rollercoaster week at school and on the homefront.
On Monday, our football team, still undefeated, stomped the archrivals-GO BEARS!!
One more game to go to be undefeated!! Our town has become truly energized- we never have a winning season and have not beaten our rival in 27 years! Our town is galvanized into a community that suddenly remembers how great it is to all be here together. And now we have 6000 people at the football games. The secret to success is not that there are one or two standout players. The secret is that these guys are a team and play in concert with each other. It is remarkable to know that in a day and age where "it's all about me" is everywhere, these guys have learned that it really does take everyone.
On Monday night ( rained out Friday) we took our two kids and our spare teen to the game. I had to leave early to get the concession stand open ( we sell a lot of food when there are 6000 people at the game), and my 13 yr old gave me a hug, as I was leaving. Then our spare teen, D, spontaneously did the same thing. Why is this a big deal? Because she never shows affection ( Not sure she gets any at home). And since she is now at our house about half of the days of the week after school and for dinner because Mom is not around, I have mixed feelings about us being her "parent" figures.
On Tuesday, I went to school and stayed over that night because it was time for the annual attack on the Martin Luther statue located next to the Chapel. Here at LTSG,the juniors must wrest control of the statue from the middlers. In past years, as I understand it there have been water battles, people perched in trees waiting to " attack" , etc. Our class clearly outnumbers the middlers. We had a well orchestrated plan with people in camo on bikes, and waves of attack, BUT..
The middlers announced they did not want to play that way. They had a series of "quests" in mind, a la Monty Python. We were more than a little skeptical.
However, it turned out to be great fun, we met "pirates" and had to don eye patches and hats come up with a pirate song. When we did this, we got a number to remember.
Then we met the knights that say "idou" which if you have had Greek is more meaningful. We had to answer Greek questions and we got a number. Then the knights flipped the signs hanging around their necks to Hebrew and we had to answer Old Testament history questions. We got a number. It turns out the three numbers are the combination to a padlock on the statue which is wrapped in Saran wrap.
So we had to scale the statue and unlock it, and unwrap it.
Once "taken" the statue is to be dressed up. Each year the statue is dressed up to depict someone on campus. Usually a member of the faculty or the administration. BUT..
We chose to honor a person who has served our community for 40 years, and who has as crucial a role as anyone in the lives of seminarians. The head of Maintenance, Billy. I was in charge of our decorating crew and must say that it is a blessing that we all have boxes that recently held newly ordered albs, and computers, and thanks be to God for pizza boxes. With some paint, duct tape and miscellaneous items, we captured "Billy" as seen above.
I should mention that this event is in conjunction with the annual Luther Colloquy which took place Wednesday, and there were several of our Bishops from across the ELCA as well as pastors, alumni council, all " on the Ridge" for meetings and festivities. As a team, we were able to pull together our ideas, our resources and honor a great part of our community while maintaining the secrecy until the "reveal."
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it was time for Friday football. Our last regular season game. We entered undefeated. But we had played THE really big game on Monday, and we have a few injuries, and the other team has the top two running backs in the Section. They played a really great game, a perfect game actually. So, we are no longer undefeated, but share the section crown with another team, and are headed into the playoffs. GO BEARS!
As our team leaves the field, the band kids, who have been trying really hard the whole game to keep the spirit up, stand up and cheer their team- leading the adults.
Normally as we are riding home on the bus, our band kids are wired for sound and cheering with the windows open as we enter town. They were a little down as we are getting off of the highway. One of the kids on the bus says, "But remember last year we would have killed to be 9-1. We are having a great year!" And then we see what lies ahead of us. And why I love our town which even though we are 14,000 still feels like the small town.
All of the firetrucks, with lights flashing, and horns blaring, and the police are there to escort their "winners" into town anyway. And there are people holding "You're in Bear Country" signs and the kids are cheering in the parking lot as our football team, cheerleaders and band buses pull in.
And isn't this what any community is about? Celebrating the good, and building each other up, and recognizing the dedication of others? And amidst all of the really big things we think we are about, and people who get on our nerves or let us down, remembering that a little hoot and holler can go along way. I think we all crave these connections and pray our kids remember these lessons throughout their lives.