When I was in college some friends asked if I wanted to go to Rider/Old High.
I laughed and said, “A high school football game?”
I didn’t understand.
I didn’t understand until 1994 when I started teaching at Rider. My friends said they were planning on getting to the stadium at 6 and would save seats if they could. I STILL didn’t understand.
I should have by then since to get to Rider I’d driven through a sea of black and gold decorations and the halls had been decked out all week.
Even after the pep rally that was packed unlike anything I’d ever seen, I STILL didn’t get it.
I mean I loved all the spirit, but it was still just a football game.
Back then we went out to eat before heading to the games. This time when I got home from school Brian asked what time I wanted to head over to the game.
I thought he was crazy. It was hours early. He said if we didn’t leave by 6 at the latest we’d be out of luck.
We left earlier and turning on to Southwest Parkway it quickly became apparent he knew what he was talking about. Wall to wall cars packed all the lanes and everyone was headed one direction. Memorial Stadium and Friday Night Lights like I’d never seen.
By the time the game started the stands were completely full and people were sitting on the grass. Across the field the sea of red and black roared. We roared back.
For the first time I understood why people talked about Rider/Old High with a sense of awe.
This year I won’t be in the stands.
It’s such a weird feeling to read about Rider/Old High, to see the videos of Mum Day with the halls so quiet and pictures of all the seniors in ‘Yote Busters and the before and during pep rally moments. To not be there.
I’d planned on driving up for the game, but I have a nasty cold. My heart is there though, and today I definitely bleed black and gold.
Can’t wait to read the updates on Facebook. ❤️