Column: Stand up

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Column: Stand up

Senior Nick Smith and the Dirty Drumline cheer on the Leopards from the Jungle.

Senior Nick Smith and the Dirty Drumline cheer on the Leopards from the Jungle.

Parker Nolan

Senior Nick Smith and the Dirty Drumline cheer on the Leopards from the Jungle.

Parker Nolan

Parker Nolan

Senior Nick Smith and the Dirty Drumline cheer on the Leopards from the Jungle.

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The high school is intimidating when you’re a freshman.

The spread-out classes, sprawling lunchroom, crowded hallways, and all those tall people can really overwhelm you at first. The big sea of the high school makes you feel like, well, like a little fish.

When I walked into the courtyard doors at the beginning of high school, I was a scared little fish too. The eight worst parts of my day were when the bell rang and I would have to somehow get to my next class on time without being trampled.

Seeing a familiar face would be the highlight of my day. Most of the time though, all I saw was a blur of people I spent the majority of my day with but didn’t know at all. I didn’t feel like it was my school when I was there.

It was a different story at the football and volleyball games though.

 


 

My freshman year was the best time to be in the Jungle. We got to watch quarterback Bowman Sells (2,980 passing yards and 40 total touchdowns in 2014) and receiver Aaron Fuller (1,641 total yards and 24 total touchdowns), just start to hit their stride for a district championship football team. We got to see the volleyball program collect its SIXTH state title in seven years. We were led by the first iteration of the Dirty Drumline and one of the school’s most spirited senior classes.

When you were in the student section with the whole school, all cheering on the Leopards together, you felt like it was your school.”

— Nick Smith

When you were in the student section with the whole school, all cheering on the Leopards together, you felt like it was your school. Your spread-out classes, your sprawling lunchroom, your crowded hallways, and all those tall people were right beside you, getting a better view of the game, but right beside you nevertheless.

I didn’t write this to reminisce about the fun I’ve had in the Jungle or the past successes of Lovejoy athletics though. I wrote this because everyone, excluding most seniors, hasn’t gotten to experience that sense of belonging in a student section like the one I had freshman year. And we, the Jungle, have to change that.

 


 

I think people sometimes make Lovejoy out to be worse than it actually is. Sure, I disagree with some of the administrative decisions, namely the lack of off-campus lunch, and the competitive student culture, but Lovejoy is really what you want it to be. If you think Lovejoy is a cutthroat, exclusive school with a heartless administration, then that’s what it’s going to be for you.

I promise you though, if you just take a little initiative, you’ll find something that will make you proud about your school. I’ve really found a home with The Red Ledger and the varsity soccer team, but I’d love to be a part of so much more if I had the time. There’s the extremely talented fine arts programs, deserving of just as much recognition as the athletic teams. There’s an endless list of smaller organizations like Student Council, HOSA, student trainers, mock trial, FCA, UIL academic teams, and debate that can all make the school just a little smaller for you. And there’s always the Jungle.

If that’s the reason you don’t stand up and cheer on the Leopards, I’ll buy you a ticket for the opposite side of the field.”

— Nick Smith

Look, I’ll admit it too. It’s hard to be proud about an 0-3 start to the year. But if that’s the reason you don’t stand up and cheer on the Leopards, I’ll buy you a ticket for the opposite side of the field. There you can sit and moan about the football team all you want.

Me?

I’m going to be screaming for the Leopards until my lungs are sore. Screaming for the same Leopards who were only a catch or two away from beating these state champion Scots on their homecoming night last year. Carson Collins (274 yards and 2 TDs) and Chase Van Wagoner (191 yards and 2 TDs) looked a lot like Bowman Sells and Aaron Fuller in that game, and the crowd knew it too.

So you can talk about the Leopards falling off all you want. I’ll be staying for the last minute of every game because turning your back on a Leopard is the last mistake you’ll ever make.

I’m not expecting everyone to get as rowdy as the seniors do in the Jungle. That takes a special lack of care only a senior can have. All I’m asking is for everyone to be a part of the Jungle. Follow along with the chants when you hear them (I’m trying my best for you to hear them). Show a little Leopard pride because you belong here.

So stand up. This is your school too.

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