Out of the minors

Dave Ferry

You’ll have to forgive me for borrowing a baseball analogy. This isn’t a sports column. Although, I do work with Andy Close and Brian Hagberg every night and there is A LOT of talk about sports. I’m not completely sports illiterate, but I don’t really have much to add beyond my own nostalgia for Friday night football games at Eisenhower, watching my classmates break records on the field and having a FREAKING BLAST !!! with the Eisenhower Knights Marching band. We performed halftime shows and stand tunes on Friday nights and traveled to competitions all over the state on Saturdays… and sometimes Disney World. 😉

One year at a home game… maybe 1994?… the Knights football team came out of the locker room at halftime to kneel on the sidelines to watch our show. I’m pretty sure it was The Wizard of OZ.

I don’t know whose idea that was, but I have never seen such a showing of mutual respect like that since. Some people think football players and band students are like cats and dogs. It wasn’t like that.

I’ll never forget one particular night game at Corry when it was snowing. Big, fat snowflakes that seemed to hang in the air in my memory. Freezing faces, screaming and belting out Eye of the Tiger right before We are the Champions on our instruments.

One thing complemented the other.

At the time it seemed like that moment would last forever.

But it didn’t. No moment does and everyone has their time.

Right now, it’s the kids’ time. I had my time.

The passion Andy and Brian have for these kids’ time is admirable. They can see that they will be facing new challenges. As important as city and county governments are, paying attention to what the kids do is just as important in my opinion.

I’m not just talking about sports, either. I just think they’re doing a good job of it.

Some of the most talented and smart people I still know were from high school and Warren Players Theater.

Artists, musicians, singers, dancers, actors, writers, teachers. Sports nerds, music nerds, number nerds, culture nerds (hipsters), comic book nerds, gear heads.

There were even volunteer fire department nerds who carried a pager on their belt. (Early nineties)

Everyone had their thing and they owned the heck out of it. Many people crossed over into several subcategories and I mostly always felt like I could relate with anyone regardless of slightly differing interests. Sure, it wasn’t always so sunny in Russell, but time has changed things even more.

Everyone once in a while, I hear the dreaded subject of school consolidation come up, and I remember back 25 to 30 years ago when people would pack the Eisenhower auditorium to protest it. Or support it. I can’t remember. Whoever was loudest won.

I suppose.

It’s indeed ironic and, sure, painful to realize now you might not be able to fill that same auditorium 25 years later.

So all of those super talented kids and people (20,000+?) I remember from back then have taken their gifts out into the rest of the world.

Warren County gave the rest of the world a wonderful gift and we should all feel proud for that.

You’re welcome, world.

The kids now are growing up different than I had to.

Honestly. If someone gave me the chance to do high school all over again with social media, I would flatly say no thank you.

Don’t feel sorry for me, but the nineties don’t seem all that far away to me. I can remember every single embarrassing thing that ever happened to me or someone else. Especially someone else.

Some things you just don’t tweet.

We had our MTV and our Beavis and Butthead. So called “youngsters” post-WWII and -Vietnam were generally looked at with suspicion.

Probably because there were so many of us like some kind of army and there was no more draft.

We were the lucky ones.

Some of the kids I meet today make me feel stupid or like I’m just catching up to them. I bet there’s a kid out there somewhere right this moment who could take my laptop apart and fix it for me.

Everything is different for them and the way they interact with the rest of the world is different than what it was for me.

The stuff that is going on in the world now is the same but different. From what I understand the sixties were pretty nuts. I mean, you had Vietnam (bad) and Adam West as Batman (good). What was that all about?

But the way kids experience it now is on a whole other level.

There’s a slim chance a few more of them could decide to make a difference at home and give the gift of Warren County to Warren County.

Cheer up, ridge-runners, your best days could be in front of you.

Dave Ferry is Night Editor and Paginator with the Times Observer.