I am a very sentimental person. I tend to focus on the lasts when something special is coming to an end. The last time I do this, the last time I’m with that person, the last time I will put on this uniform or play for that team.
I graduated from White Bear Lake in 2013 and I remember everything about my senior year. I loved being a student so much that when I launched a sports streaming network as a senior, I didn’t broadcast the games from the press box. Through the use of extension cords I figured out a way to do it from the front row of the student section. It was a horrible vantage point to call a game, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
It is now mid-April and the writing is on the wall for the high school seniors. They have most likely already had their final day of high school and they didn’t even know it when they did. Many folks have posted their senior photos as a show of support for those kids. Here is mine:
It is heartbreaking to think about how the seniors today aren't going to make the memories the rest of us got to. No prom, no graduation, no all-night senior party to say goodbye to the people they grew up with. Any dream of one more run at a spring sport state title is now dead for those senior athletes, though I would imagine that championships seem pretty insignificant right now when compared to accepting that they will never play another game with their friends again.
If I were to address those seniors directly, I could talk about how high school is such a small part of your life and things will get better and college is a ton of fun too and a lot of other cliches to put a positive spin on this awful time. However, I think it might be a little too soon for all that.
The time for wisdom and acceptance will certainly come, but I think seniors have earned a right to get angry. Angry at the virus and angry at the randomness of life that can result in them getting robbed of memories that would have lasted a lifetime. They will learn to accept these terrible circumstances and may even be better because of it, but for now I think a little indignation has been earned.
A little anger is healthy. With that in mind, I propose that those who have been so wronged by this mess take a note from the 1976 film Network and get mad. It is crazy how these words ring so true today.
We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’
Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad.You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!’
So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’
Go ahead seniors, get mad. Shout ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ out your window. Or you can do something more modern and record a video of yourself yelling those words and share it on social media. The hashtag #MadAsHell seems pertinent nowadays. Own it, you have more than earned it,
You can and should move on tomorrow, but today is about continuing a teenage tradition that goes back many generations; getting mad at the world that has wronged you.