On Friday October 1, 2010 I went to Fairlea
West Virginia to attend the football game between Greenbrier East
and Allegheny County. As we know in 1968 Greenbrier East was formed
with the consolidation of Alderson, Frankford, Lewisburg, Renick,
Ronceverte, White Sulphur Springs and Williamsburg. The school which
kind of seems relatively brand new has existed for what is now going
on 33 years. Alderson High School which seems like it existed
forever actually lasted only 40 years from 1928 to 1968. So,
surprisingly from where I sit; the two schools are roughly the same
age. Greenbrier East has 1226 students in grades from 9 to 12. When
I graduated from Alderson High School in 1961 we had 34 that
I attended the game with my long term friend Larry Rosen who is from
Centerville, Virginia. Larry and I were babysitting my daughter’s
dog and cat. We worked together as beltway bandits in Washington DC
during the 70s. Today he is a world famous author who has written 5
books in a series of Tom Clancy like novels about suspense intrigue,
espionage and violence. Actually he asks that I refer to him as
world famous. While the books are good (they get better as he
develops the characters and improves his writing in later books),
his fame is restricted to those people that he knows personally. The
unique thing is that my friend is extremely fond of food. The
protagonists in his books are always eating out, often at the finest
restaurants, and enjoying the finest foods.
Greenbrier East in the early years of the school was good in
football but has fallen on hard times recently. I once observed to
some of my friends in Lewisburg that football had taken on the
mystique of being very complicated and sophisticated. In reality if
you boiled it down you could run in only three directions: to the
left, to the middle and to the right. One of the friends observed
that Greenbrier East had developed a fourth direction to run the
ball. That direction he says was backwards.
Greenbrier East was long noted for the quality and size of their
bands. I believe that they in the past have performed at the Macy's
Day parade in New York City and the orange bowl parade in Miami
Florida. Today the band still is good but it is rather small. I
remember the days when some high school bands were large in number
and the majorette’s small in size. In recent years a number of the
same schools have smaller bands and larger majorettes. The current
Greenbrier East majorettes are of the small version.
Also it seems that in selecting participation over merit, schools
seem to have a large number of cheerleaders. As a practical rule
that keeps some of the parents off the administrators back and more
paying relatives and friends at the games. Greenbrier East had 50 or
so dress for the game and that include freshmen. The number seemed
small for a student body of 1224.
Normally when I go to a high school game I sit on the visitor’s
side. There are less people and I can sit in peace and concentrate
on the game. Unfortunately Allegheny County was undefeated going
into the game. Everybody loves a winner and there were a lot of
winner followers from that school. Accordingly we had to sit on the
East Side. We sat in the middle of a bunch of mothers and their
elementary age daughters. It was like sitting in someone’s living
room listening to the mothers talking about what their daughters did
today and were going to do tomorrow. My nerves were on edge as the
young ladies scurried around shrieking. This made it very difficult
to concentrate on and follow the game. Larry, who religiously
follows the Dallas Cowboys but doesn’t go to high school games, said
that there was not much cheering at the game. I explained that fans
get excited about winning teams. Fans that have not had good teams
don’t want to get their hopes up only to be frustrated once again.
Plus the peer pressure to not show too much emotion is very strong.
No one in our section seemed to be watching the game. It was a
social event. There was a time when everyone went to the game
because it was important. No longer. Time had passed me by.
East was leading 14-13 with a minute and a half to go in the game.
But Allegheny’s quarterback led an 85 yard or so drive down the
field to win the game 21-14. Allegheny is 6 and 0 and East is now 2
and 4. I was sorry to see East lose. The mothers and little girls
left as happy as they were at the start of the game. At the next
game I go to I promise myself to keep a wary eye out for packs of
mothers and children.