Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Conflict of Cultures

Both of our kids are in high school now, but they attend different schools.
We are experiencing the collision of cultures in our house on a daily basis. The older child attends Caddo Magnet High School, an academic Mecca with an overriding liberal attitude. The little one attends Byrd High School, where apparently the party never stops.
I graduated from a Catholic high school, and my wife graduated from a church school in Tennessee, so we’re learning about these places right along with our kids. My son is passionate about his loyalty to his school, but he’s not at all demonstrative about it. There are no yards signs or bumper stickers, only a steely resolve that there’s no other school for him. By contrast, my daughter is all about calling attention to “the City of Byrd.”
All of this is complicated by the fact that we live in Captain Shreve’s district. Shreve and Byrd are long-time, bitter rivals. The schools’ football teams will play against one another tonight, and the hype is electric, at least in our little corner of the universe. I acknowledge that, if you don’t have a rooting interest, this is all a tempest in a teapot. We haven’t lived through this before, so only now are we gaining an appreciation of it.
People who love Shreve just do not understand why anyone would drive past their school to attend that megalopolis Byrd. People who love Byrd see it as the most desirable place in town to spend your high school years and just can’t figure what the attraction is to Shreve or Magnet. There’s no reason there, it’s just about passion.
So, tonight, the Yellow Jackets will play the Gators and my daughter went to school in camouflage. The idea is they’re on a “gator hunt.” After the game, she’s invited to a party to “eat gator gumbo.” It’s all very cute and creative, and a nice way to build school spirit. Meantime, her low-key brother just doesn’t understand this hoopla. It seems to confound and amuse him. He has no interest in this football game or any kind of rivalry. He just wants to go to school, make good grades and hang out with his girlfriend. If the party never stops at Byrd, it apparently never starts at Magnet.
We didn’t set out to start a sociological experiment in our house, but one has developed. It will be interesting to watch this play out over the next couple of years.
In the meantime, I suppose I should attempt to become a “Byrd guy.” My daughter probably expects it; and my son doesn’t care either way. The Shreve fans in my neighborhood may take exception, but I have forces acting upon me which I may find difficult to resist.

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