DCC News


Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church


March 20, 2009


Mighty, Mighty Spartans

I was fascinated by the photo.

I saw it the other day in the local newspaper. It was of large photo of a group of high school students at a basketball game. The kids look pumped, energetic and enthused about the game. But look closer. I think I counted about 40 faces in the photo. They are cheering; they have their arms up and hands in a wave; their faces are…every single one of the 40 kids…their faces are full of smiles and laughter; their eyes wide open with enthusiasm. It’s a great photo.

It doesn’t sound like much but it is hard to take your own eyes off of the photo. It is pure exuberance of youth.

The students are reacting to another student who is leading them in a raucous cheer. You can see him also in the photo as he has them “leaning to the right” with outstretched arms and they are laughing with delight at both him and at themselves.

I am probably looking at it through 58 year-old eyes. The students may be dancing and laughing because the cheerleader is leading them in some totally goofy cheer and they are delighted that they can get away with such things at a public venue when they think the faculty can’t clamp down. Maybe they were praising God and the President. I really don’t know.

I can recall such moments at my high school a mere 40 years ago. I was never the guy who wanted to be in the middle of the student section. Back in the day…it was fashionable…that we had a big “Block L” (for Lima!) in the middle of the cheering section. The girls would wear scarlet blouses and sit in the bleachers forming the letter “L”. The remainder of the girls in white blouses formed the frame of the “Block L.” There must have been 200 girls in that Block.


I thought it was a bit strange back when I was in high school and years later am still a bit wary of group dynamics that makes everyone conform in certain ways (which is probably why I am more comfortable with the UCC, though I imagine a few of you would think it odd for me to go into the ministry, of all professions, and then profess to struggle against conformity. But I digress…). All of the girls would walk in to the gym in a straight line, clapping and file onto the bleachers and there would appear this huge scarlet “L” in the bleachers. All of the high school boys would sit around the edges and scream and yell for the team…and girls. (Probably more of the latter.) It was high school basketball, baby!

I sat with a couple friends at the other end of the gym in the midst of the crowd.

We can analyze that one but maybe it was because I enjoyed the show rather than wanted to be a part of the show. Maybe I was marching to the tune of a different drummer and was not about following the pack. Don’t know.

I do remember that no matter where we sat, we had a pretty good time. I also remember that the energetic cheerleaders of our school who so patiently practiced a particular cheer were drowned out by the rest of us as we changed the words into something so bawdy that it would have gotten us thrown out of a college frat party. I don’t think the principal ever did quite understand what we were cheering about. He probably went to his grave never knowing what we had said. Actually, neither did we. But then, we didn’t have to…we were young and at a high school basketball game. There could be nothing better.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing