1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Alex McLaughlin  October 8, 2010

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 graduated.
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.