It's so true. Just like the song says, sometimes you just wanna go where everybody knows your name. Over the weekend, my brother was inducted into the little, tiny, hometown high school we grew up in, Athletic Hall of Fame for his play on the ice hockey team during his tenure at good old, WHS. When I heard about the honor, I told him I wanted to go to the ceremony and bring my family. At first I thought it would be kind of ridiculous for all of us to be there (my husband and kids) at my brother's evening, but I decided I didn't care because I was so proud of him. No one in my family has ever received an honor like that, and although our town was about as big as a minute, I didn't want to miss it.
When I arrived at the function hall, I was struck by how many people were there and by how many people I knew. Everybody was well dressed, and there were lots of other families there as well, proud to support their inductee's. The evening began with a cocktail hour, which was like a mini-reunion. It was even better than your class reunion, because there were people who were friends of friend's brothers, sisters, cousins and family and people of all ages from our small town. And, yes, everybody knew my name, and I theirs. It gave me a happy, warm and fuzzy feeling. It was a blast, introducing Frick and Frack to everybody. Immediately you got the feeling that this was important to all those involved.
The ceremony, which was to induct 15 honorees that night, began with the first ever Lifetime Achievement award. A WHS graduate, Boston Globe Sports Writer, and author, was honored for not only her accomplishments in life, but for her athletic contributions while at WHS. She spoke of her memories, her coaches and the people she met and worked with at WHS that helped influence her life in a positive way. She, who has worked with the likes of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson co-authoring a book, was not name-dropping on this night. On this night, she humbly spoke about growing up in our town, "The home of Champions" and about the pride and the people who made her years at WHS special.
She asked the five women who she brought with her seated at her table, to please stand. She called them her "Ya Ya's" and spoke of how their high school friendships have endured over the years. She told a story about last year, they all turning 50, traveling together to the Grand Canyon, to ride donkeys into the enormous cavern to celebrate the milestone together. These friendships, these people, she said, have helped to shaped her into who she is today.
I guess my brother agreed. When it was his turn at the podium, he told a story about coaching his son's lacrosse team earlier this year. My brother, who now lives two towns over from the little town we grew up in, was coaching his son's team who just so happened to be playing the town of our childhood. "Of course I wanted to beat them," he said. As he was calling his team over to the side lines, he was clapping his hands together, mistakenly calling his son's team by the name of the town he had grown up in. The kids looked at him and corrected him sternly, "Coach, we are the other team," they said. He chuckled at his own gaffe. His response to them and the coach of the other team. "I guess I still bleed green and white." And everybody in that room that night understood exactly what he meant. The pride was palpable. He finished his speech with this, "I guess you can take the boy out of WHS, but you really can never take the WHS outta the boy."
Well said, and congrats to you big bro. Your family and your hometown couldn't be prouder of you.