Position: Features Section Editor
College: Kansas State University
“Text me when you get there
Have fun and tell your friends hi for me
I love you”
Always one more thing. One more thing before you go, as my mom likes to say. Sometimes it’s a reminder to not hit the walkers as I drive home at night, sometimes an “I love you” at 5 a.m. before swim practice, sometimes a reminder to turn in my attendance waiver.
No matter the occasion, no matter the time, my mom always tries to throw in one last piece of advice as I traipse down our red brick steps and chirp open my white Grand Cherokee. Sometimes I step into Jeepers in a huff, irritated with the world and exhausted, not wanting to hear one more thing I need to remember. But mindlessly driving the same route past Indian Hills’ golf course, down Tomahawk and up Mission, nine times out of ten I reconsider my frustration and recognize the importance of what my mom told me.
Now, more than ever, I recognize her need to slip in that extra advice, that additional reminder of what to do. As backwards as it sounds, I feel like I’m the mom shouting out one more thing before you go, anxious to tell the underclassmen the traditions that I treasure so that they will carry them on.
It started slowly in the fall with cross country season. In the middle of Ward Parkway two weeks into the season, we always stop and jump in the horse fountain three miles into the long run. Yes, it may give you blisters and your shorts will be damp for the next seven miles, but it’s tradition.
At the beginning of October, there’s always a contest run: who can find the most poker chips or buttons? We all know it’s a ploy to make us run faster, but you still have to sprint from colored chip to colored chip, devising new strategies to win.
These small detours during runs aren’t just nuisances designed to make cross country any more challenging; they are ways to bring the team together and bond. These little quirks that have been passed down from team to team build continuity and give us inside jokes to share.
Overlapping cross country and into the winter and spring is newspaper. Listen to S Club 7 and throwback Usher songs at least once a deadline night. This is your once-in-a-lifetime chance to actually be applauded for knowing “S Club Party” word for word. Page dimensions are 59 by 71 picas. Learn to love and use smart key combinations; those seconds they save you add up to an hour less of work on deadline night.
So many tidbits of information I know and take for granted that I now am rushing to share with the naïve sophomores on staff. I want to preserve the spirit of the J room so that every future Harbie will experience what I got the chance to.
As the months slip by, I find myself more and more frantic to pass on my advice to the younger classmen.
To the swimmers, don’t shave your legs between March and May. Other teams may scoff and the inch-long hair will draw questioning stares from classmates, but it’s what we do. You’ll see the magic of League and State soon. Seniors get first dibs on the green fins at practice. Homemade fruit pizza is a staple at every team dinner.
These traditions may seem trivial to an outsider. Does it really matter if there are brownies instead of fruit pizza at a team dinner? Yes. Yes it does. Each tradition adds up to form the team and the season of swimming that I love. To me, high school would not be high school without sports and clubs, and sports and clubs would not be the same without traditions.
As a senior, it makes me nervous leaving my teams and clubs behind. Not only because I will miss the memories, but also because it means entrusting them to the underclassmen. I’m nervous traditions will be lost, new members will not get to experience the same camaraderie as I did. So for these last few days of my career at SME, humor me underclassmen. Listen attentively as I remind you of one more thing before I go.