a blast from the past -- my last sports banquet as a high school student with my fellow award winners, (R-L) Richard, Alex, Julia & Me
I just attended my 10th AHS sports banquet — my 6th as a varsity coach for my high school alma mater. As both an athlete and a coach, it was always a part of the season I dreaded. Never shorter than 3 hours, always catered badly and always one of the most tragic displays of teenage feminine fashion sensibilities (since when did spandex qualify as formal wear?) it was something I would have paid to miss. Yet, I admit, there was always something nice about it — catching up with the kids, many of whom are heading off to college next year, seeing old teachers who moonlight as bowling coaches, having the opportunity to break in my new 3-in summer wedges, and seeing the looks of surprise and gratitude on the faces of the kids we recognize with MVP and Coaches’ awards. As I sat through my 10th banquet tonight, and for the 10th time said no thanks to the chicken parm, I thought back to when I was in high school, when fencing was new to me and I believed anything was possible for me in the sport. College felt far away in those days. I had no idea I’d be back for another 6 seasons as a coach while I worked my way through Columbia, twice.
The College Roundup writer for our local quad village newspaper found me a few minutes before the ceremonies began. He introduced me to another coach, clearly near my age. “This is Kathleen” he said to the young man in a red shirt. “I know,” he replied. “She was a year above me.”
Oh, no. Awwwwkward! I scanned my brain for fellow Panthers. Nothing. He had a vague air of familiarity, but his name was totally new to me. Worse was that he was reasonably good looking. This guy went to Ardsley? Surely, that’s not possible. I had no choice; so I did what anyone would do: feigned recognition and shook his hand.
I always figured I went through high school as someone relatively unnoticed. I had won the big sports awards in my senior year, but I spent little time fraternizing with the kids at my school during off hours. So while I would expect my classmates to recognize me, the last thing I expected was to have an underclassman, who wasn’t a fencer, recognize me 6 years after I graduated.
I felt moderately embarrassed, somewhat flattered (they remembered me!) but mostly grateful for our athletic director’s request that we take our seats.