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Monday, February 10, 2014

Friday Night Lights

I had not been to a Van Horn Football game in over 30 years.  Seems like Tom Koely and I went to one when the Falcons were finally playing for the Interscholastic League Championship but don’t know exactly when that was.  It was a first in school history.   Funny thing is I don’t remember if they won or lots.

When I was in High School I never saw a football game from beginning to end.  The last two years I was playing and my sophomore year I was too interested in trying to talk, with some success I might add, my girl friend, who shall remain nameless, to forgo the second half and head out towards the school buses that were parked un locked and with no attendants. 

But the other night Bev and I had nothing planned and I suggested that we see if Van Horn was playing and go to the game.  Those of us who are in our senior years get in free to all the high school sporting events sponsored by the Independence School District.  Being on social security one has to find free entertainment where one can you know.

When I was in high school Van Horn was part of the Kansas City School District and a fine district it was.  But because of miss management, forced busing, redistricting, family disintegration, lack of continuity of leadership, and a host of other reason real or imagined the district for many years was just a shadow of itself and Van Horn was one of the causalities. So much so that eventually a grass root effort lead by concerned local citizens and spearheaded politically by Victor Callahan, State Senator from the area bought Van Horn under the auspices of the Independence Board of Education.  Van Horn now has a bright future.  An alumni association has been established, scholarships have been given, and a hall of honor established for distinguished graduates.  I have been over looked for the last two years but eventually they will find me and be proclaimed as one of the honorees.  Well perhaps.

The Van Horn Falcons played the Butler Bears the night we went and unfortunately lost.  However the score on the field may have spelled defeat but those in the stands, kids, band, parents and all were winners.  The enthusiasm and diversity represented by the crowd, let alone those on the field, stood out and made me think that this is how it is supposed to be.  There were people of different races and ethnicity sitting side by side hand in hand, a far different picture than when I went to school there, but those were secondary identification marks.  First they were Falcons.  Nothing else had really changed since I was a young man playing or watching, at least the first half of the games.  Kids were laughing, yelling support, acting stupid, being courteous to the elders (which to my chagrins was me) and conducted themselves in such a manner as to make me proud that I had gone to school there. 

 Home coming is next week.  I think I will go.  Bev wants me to drag out my old letter jacket and let her ware it and if I can find my class ring she wants to put it on a chain around her neck. 


None of us can or should go back to Van Horn and expect it to be ours again, we passed that torch a long time ago.  But just perhaps for a few fleeting moments we will return to those days of yesteryear and remember what it is like to have the rest of your life ahead of you and not even realize it.  And if I am real lucky I might be able to talk Bev into slipping off to the buss at half time.