Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Oct. 1, 2001

School spirit can be felt as strongly as national loyalty


With all of the patriotism going on these days, we have all noticed the unity in our country. It's been great to see Americans coming together like they have been.

We've talked about all of this quite a bit lately, with the recent goings-on in our country, and have seen the symbols of our pride in the forms of flags and ribbons everywhere.

It's all been covered already, so at this point, I don't need to add to it. There's nothing more that can be said about the USA ­ simply put, we are proud of our country.

What I would like to write about this week, however, is the abundance of school spirit and local patriotism that I've seen since moving to this area last November.

I attended a Lester Prairie varsity volleyball game recently, and was pleasantly surprised to see how pumped-up the crowd was.

It was also really cool to see some of the football team, or at least I'm assuming they were on the football team since they were wearing football jerseys, there cheering the girls on.

The guys were there having a good time and making a lot of noise. It was great to see the togetherness.

Here in the newspaper office, most Fridays have carried talks of who's going to what game over the weekend. I think that the adults without children in school yet or anymore are just as excited as parents who do have kids participating. That shows real community spirit.

We live in small communities, and our children attend smaller schools, whether it be public or private. The games and activities are a very important part of our schools, for both the students and the parents. We like having school activities to go to throughout the week that the whole family will be happy to do.

Since we are on the subject of school activities, I have a funny story to tell. This past summer we had a teenage babysitter, Abby, who took care of the kids while we worked.

Abby is presently a student at Mayer Lutheran High School, because I couldn't convince her (or her parents) that she should quit school to babysit for us all year round.

My second grade son just loves Abby, and anytime he sees her, he's thrilled. He also loves football, so when Abby said she was going to the Mayer Lutheran/Lester Prairie football game a couple weeks ago, he really wanted to go.

My son went to the game and found Abby and her friends. The problem was that these Crusader kids coerced my innocent, young son (yeah, right) to root for the wrong team, which in this case was the Mayer Lutheran Crusaders.

We were shocked when he told us that the wrong team won, knowing full well that Lester Prairie had won the game. After further investigation, we found out that he had been brainwashed by the enemy of the evening.

It took a couple weeks to convince him that Lester Prairie is where he lives and goes to school, so it would only be natural that he would root for the home team. In the meantime, however, we were almost afraid to take him out in public.

Now, just for the record, I am just having a good time with the rivalry between schools. No real ill feelings are meant to be portrayed, just joining in the fun of high school sports.

But since I am now a loyal Lester Prairie community member, I feel that it's only right to stand strong for my town.

I hope that my son will someday learn this hometown loyalty. We have all seen very recently how our United States of America has reestablished its pride, as he has reestablished his pride, just in a much smaller scale.

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