Friday, March 12, 2010

Entering the Bluegrass State

      Spring Break for the USC-L gals started with a trip to the coastal plains of South Carolina, followed by a quick mid-week jaunt to the mountains of North Carolina, and ended up today in the bluegrass state of Kentucky. Sissey is attending the SROW Conference at the University of Louisville, along with 1500 students from colleges and universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. I think I am the only one here over the age of 21. Haven't spent this much time with a bunch of college kids since I graduated in '83, and had forgotten a few things about the younger generation.
      Number One: A basketball stadium full of college kids smells worse than a locker room.       
      Number Two: A basketball stadium full of college kids is louder than a war zone in the midst of direct, full on, mano-a-mano combat.
      Number Three: A basketball stadium full of college kids contains enough raw energy to fuel the entire nation for the next three generations.
      We were in the basketball stadium last night for the opening ceremony and skit competition which centered around an '80's theme.  I think the students all thought it was extremely hysterical to focus on such an out-of-date, far away, long ago time in their lives, practically back when the dinosaurs still roamed the planet.  I didn't feel old and out-of-place until the MC asked  if anyone had actually been BORN in the '80's and if so, to jump up and scream and yell and wave their hands.   Only a few hands clapped...the majority of these babies had been born  AFTER 1990.   I kept waiting for him to ask who had GRADUATED from COLLEGE in the 80's....just dying to jump up and scream and yell and wave my hands like all the kids were doing.... it didn't happen. I don't think he even realized people who graduated from college in the 80's were still alive.
       Before we arrived, I had promised Sissey that I would behave all weekend and try not to do anything that would embarrass her...things like jumping up and screaming and yelling and waving my hands.  So when the jumping and yelling and screaming actually started, she glanced over with that "You promised me" look and heaved a great sigh of relief when the moment passed and I had simply continued to sit quietly on the sidelines, hands folded demurely in my lap, lips silently zipped shut,  practically non-existent.
       And that is how I will continue for the rest of the weekend.  I promise.  I absolutely will not try to act like a college kid, will not jump up and scream and yell and wave my hands, will not carry a USC-L banner or wear a college t-shirt or paint a mascot on my face. But I will say one thing, and it is this: of the 1500 students in that gym tonight,  of all those PALS and leaders and orientation ambassadors, there was exactly ONE student in a wheelchair. I give great credit to USC-L for that, for looking beyond a physical disability and seeing Mary Lapsley for who she is, and for being a real champion for students with disabilities. 
     And for that, I WILL jump up and scream and yell and wave my hands!

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