I just came to a strange realization: I bleed blue and white.
No, not because of my college. They're garnet & black. I bleed that a little bit. And of course I bleed blue & silver for my Cowboys. But in talking to a colleague about sports allegiances, I realized that even after all these years, I still have a significant amount of pride for my high school football team.
As ridiculous as that sounds, I found myself reading an article from a newspaper back home and when I saw our team ranked #1 in the area, I was beaming. I don't know any of the kids who play nowadays. I haven't been to a game in 11 years. Yet, whenever I hear or see something about our team, I feel like sticking my chest out proudly and saying, "Yeah, I'm part of that."
Growing up in a relatively small town, The Fort bursts at the seams with school pride for our one and only high school. When my parent's neighbor had a baby boy a few years ago, they erected a giant sign in their yard that said "Future QB" with the school's logo painted right next to it. Throughout the fall, businesses and front lawns are dotted with school paraphernalia. Friday nights, the streets around the school are slam packed with cars as the lights flick on over the field. Current, past, and future students pack the stands in a sea of blue and white.
We won the state championship 3 out of the 4 years I was in high school. (And have won countless others over the years!) Our little tiny school has a rock solid football program that you can't help but appreciate. Sure, the coach was a dickhead sometimes, and there may or may not be some recruitment from neighboring towns. For awhile after my graduation, I would check the USA Today polls every so often to see where we ranked nationally. The Fort has been represented on a national stage; the school I knew so well stocked with less than 1000 kids when I was wandering the halls.
I haven't checked since this season has started to see what our record is. Most years, I don't need to, because I always know the loss column has a big ol' goose egg in it. I wasn't a player (obviously) and I wasn't even a cheerleader. But I was a fan. And even though I don't spend my Friday nights shivering on those bleachers anymore with trips to Big Boy afterwards, I still hold those nights close to my heart. My high school days weren't the best days of my life, but that doesn't mean I want to just write them off. Not when I was a part of something much bigger by just being there... When we won our titles. When our QB threw passes that would seal his fate as a player in the NFL. When the scoreboard lit up 72 to 0.
No matter how old I get or how many miles removed I live, I will always, always, be proud to be a "cake eater."