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View from the bleachers

July 25, 2012

Section B

Sitting with a group in the bleachers, I observed the fist bumps and the one-hand grasp hugs across the aisles. We were all gathered in the gym to vote on superlatives for the seniors. You know, Mr. High School, Ms. Likely to Succeed, Most Laid Back, Most Attractive, Wittiest,  etc. There had been whispers of “vote for so-and-so” in the hallways and election flyers slipped into lockers for months leading up to this one event. For the most part, the only attention given to our group were flyers. We were likable enough, just not a big enough group to make a difference in voting they thought.

Mr. High School was easy. Everyone would vote for the quarterback who had led the football team all the way to the state championship. Wittiest ended up being the funniest announcement. The administrators thought it would be fun to announce the winner then say it was a mistake. The trick worked because when they announced his name as the winner for real, The Wittiest proved his worth with a witty comment. Most Likely to Succeed was named next. No real surprise there though it could have gone to a few other people.  Most Laid Back was the only nominee who had taken off his blazer in the stuffy gym, the others were determined to keep their finery on despite the sweat on their faces and wet spots appearing on their apparel. 

I could see something from the corner of my eye happening. Whispering. It didn’t take long for the rumor to spread to me. That didn’t sound right. Stealthily so administrators could not see, I took out my phone and began texting someone who might know if the rumor was true. I was assured it was not and tried to tell the person who had told me. The crowd was getting noisy as the next vote was to be read. There was a tie. Another vote would be taken. Some had taken the Most Attractive superlative and thought of it as outer beauty while others had taken it to mean inner beauty. At least that’s my assumption. My eyes focused on a small group surrounding a person who looked to be sobbing. With a craning of my neck, I saw the person was one of the nominees. The rumor had been about her. Evidently she had just heard it. After a few seconds, I saw her back straighten and a fire in her eyes. She stood up and the crowd hushed. With grace, she withdrew her name to be considered. She did not mention the rumor though one of her friends began shaming the crowd. After the announcement of the Most Attractive winner, a girl from the freshman class spoke. She was very smart and had skipped a few grades. She began talking about the superlatives and why they only were awarded to seniors. There were lower classman who would be just as… blah blah blah. As she spoke, I looked at the winners. She evidently had worked on this little protest long before the elections. Eager for attention, she had not revised her protest and was actually offending the winners. 

The last few minutes had totally turned from a fun event into a sad look into human nature. What could be done to prevent next year from being the same? 

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