The End, Pt. 1

May 29, 2013

The End, Pt. 1

Today was my Last Full Day as a Gull Lake High Schooler. Tomorrow will be the Class of 2013’s Last Day as Gull Lake High Schoolers.

You know, a lot of the Seniors have been phrasing things like that lately. They say things like: “Today is our Last Monday!” or “This is our Last Full Week!” or “This is our Last Seminar!” So and and so forth…And it’s gotten me thinking about why we do that, why we phrase things like that.

I mean, we do the same thing in Track and Cross Country during hard workouts. In particular, Ben and I will analyze the number of repetitions we have left until the entire team gets a little math lesson. Say we’ve got a workout consisting of 400 repetitions. Say…10×400. After one, Ben and I might say something like: “Hey! After we do eight more…we’ll only have one left. So, we’re basically done.” Or after we do five, we’ll burst into Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi. Get it? Because we’re “half-way there”. Then at six, we might say: “We only have to do everything we’ve done over again…minus two!

Now, when it comes to hard workouts I can pinpoint the two reasons we do this. One: Simple math is a good way to get your mind off the pain of running. Two: When we look at the workout in a certain way…it doesn’t seem all that bad. Hard workouts are rough, and we can’t wait for them to be over. Because the best part of running is the satisfaction of being done.

But running isn’t quite like High School. I mean, I’m sure there are a few kids out there that are just itching to get out of here. But I’m sure there are also a few, myself included, that are kind of saddened by it. So, why would we mark each passing Last with loud pronouncements? With running, we just want it to be over. But do we really just want High School to be over?

No, I think we phrase things in ways that make us feel best about the situation at hand. It’s all about perspective. It’s all about how we want to see things. It’s like Coach Hawkins said today in his end of the year speech: “There’s a silver lining in anything. You just need to see it.” So, with hard workouts…Ben and I look to The End. Ben and I mark each passing 400 with celebration. But with High School, we mark these Lasts as a sort of salute. We’re saying good-bye to all the great Mondays or Fridays or weeks or Seminars that we had at Gull Lake. We see The End coming and we pay homage to it by celebrating each little step that draws us closer.

So, I hope every Gull Lake Senior had a great Last Full Day of High School…despite the exams. I know I did. I got to spend one more day as Coach Portis’s student. I said good-bye to Mr. Belz. I got one last speech from Coach Hawkins. And I spent one Last Lunch with a group of people I truly treasure.

Tomorrow, it’ll really be The End. Tomorrow, it’ll all be over. Everything this Year of Lasts has been leading to: The Last Races, the Last Shows, the Last Tests, Days, Weekends, Meets, Practices, Dances, Banquets, Rehearsals…It’ll all converge.

I’ll walk the halls one Last Time.

And then I’ll go to South Haven for a day at the beach.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Festival Upon Us

May 7, 2013

The Festival Upon Us

This weekend is the 2013 Gull Lake High School Festival of the Senses. It’s basically Gull Lake’s way of celebrating all the arts in our school…in one weekend.

Artists display. Musicians play. Choirs sing. Dancers dance. And thespians perform.

Of course, the entire Festival is awesome. The art is really impressive (and all made by Gull Lake students). The Jazz Band is always good. The choir is a harmonic troupe of singers that usually perform the works of a popular musical. The dancers work daily in their EFA dance class and it shows when they do their stuff. And…well, maybe I have a little bit of bias, but I personally enjoy watching the One Acts most.

This blog is a little nudge for anyone in the Gull Lake Community that finds their weekend plans are lacking a little…flair. Why not come out to the Festival? It’s free to get in. It’s entertainment. And it supports small-town arts.

In case there’s anyone that needs a bigger nudge, I asked the other One Act Directors to provide me with a brief synopsis of their play, just as a little teaser for any Curious-Cathy’s out there.

Check Please – Aija Rozentals (Friday, May 10th 8:15 PM; Saturday, May 11th 7:20 PM)

“After a particularly nasty break up, a boy and a girl are encouraged by their best friends to rebound and head right back out into the dating field. This one act comedy follows these two lost souls in their bizarre and unnerving search for love. What awaits them as they journey into the unique world of dating in the 21st Century?”

Types & Timing – Shelby Hoxworth (Friday, May 10th 8:35 PM; Saturday, May 11th 8:00 PM)

“Fabulous business woman Priscilla in her controlled, perfect Life is thrown a curve ball when the Sharizer Phoebe shows up out of the blue. Sent to check things out by his boss/girlfriend, MacArthy will do anything to get the promotion he wants too badly.”

Debating the Days – Shelby Cartwright (Friday, May 10th 8:55 PM; Saturday, May 11th 8:20 PM)

“A comedy about the seven days of the week. They receive a letter from America, stating that one of them has to be eliminated in order to help the economy. Each day sets off having to state their reasons as to why they can’t be cut. Each character has their own special quirk about them that adds to the overall humor of the show, and the ending may come as a surprise. It falls on the edge a bit with some of the language and themes, but is a really good show to come along and enjoy.”

No Such Thing As A Vampire – Kristen Russel & Mikea Lapierre (Friday, May 10th 9:15 PM; Saturday, May 11th 9:00 PM)

“On a warm night in the 1800s, Alexis Gheria awakens with a bloodcurdling scream. there’s blood and two puncture wounds on her neck. Could it be what the entire village has been fearing? Her husband, with the help of his loyal maid Carol and helpful colleague Michael Vares, searches for answers to uncover a shocking truth.”

The Pan Complex: A Tale of Peter and Eve – Brian Wiegand & Erica Heathcote (Friday, May 10th 9:35 PM; Saturday, May 11th 9:40 PM)

“A one act drama/comedy all about growing up. In Small Town, USA Eve finds herself faced with her sister Delilah’s departure for college. The night before Delilah leaves, Eve is visited by a nighttime prowler, also known as her best friend: Peter. As Peter desperately tries to get Eve to sneak out with him, the two delve into the thing that haunts us all: Growing up.”

I urge anyone in the Gull Lake Community to consider setting up their weekend around this spectacular event.

The Festival of the Senses has always been worth the evening.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Speculations

April 25, 2013

Speculations

Ah, yes. Springtime in Michigan.

The Track season is in full swing.

Prom is just around the corner.

Talk of graduation is becoming more frequent.

Mock Election pictures are being taken.

And today, it was hailing one second and sunny the next!

Yes, it certainly is a Michigan Spring.

With the talk of graduation, comes Speculation about who will win all the different awards that are given out to the Senior Class. For example: Who will be Valedictorian and Salutatorian? Or: Who will be honored by each of the different departments? Or: What athletes will be recognized for their impressive achievements?

From what I’ve heard, Valedictorian and Salutatorian are neck and neck. We’re talking about two kids who’ve taken so many AP Classes, their GPAs can be brought down by an A in a regular class that isn’t weighted by AP standards.

At Gull Lake, just to clarify, Seniors are awarded in a number of different ways. Primarily, there’s the Valedictorian and Salutatorian; they’re determined by GPA. Then, each different department (Math, English, Science, Social Studies, Publications, Business, etc.) honors one or two students for their achievements in that subject area. Lastly, there are things like Class Musician, Class Poet, and Class President (of course, Class President has been decided for quite a while) who all speak or perform during the graduation ceremony.

I think these awards are exciting to Speculate about because it gets me thinking about my class as a whole and the sort of people that fill it. It’ll be cool when we finally hear who wins what because I think it will helps define who we are as the graduating Class of 2013. We’re the class that had Cara as our Class President. We had so-and-so as Valedictorian and what’s-their-face as Salutatorian. Our Math expert was [insert name here]. The Class Musician sang that song at our graduation.

Or maybe Lance will just get every honor. A very real possibility. Kid’s a freakin’ genius.

Anyway, it’s just another reason to be excited for the rapidly approaching graduation season.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

When Gull Lake Glitters

February 19, 2013

When Gull Lake Glitters

There are two times a year that Gull Lake Glitters. The first is during the Summer when the sun reflects off the lake…But that’s not the time I’m interested in talking about.

The second is during the murky period between Winter and Spring when all the Gull Lake High Schoolers harboring secret talents come out of the woodwork to show their stuff at the annual talent show: Glitter.

Glitter is a parent created and organized talent show that is generated once a year and performed one night at Comstock Auditorium. Auditions happened over the past two weeks and the Call Board will be updated later this week with information on what acts were accepted.

For the past three years, I’ve been a Glitter MC. And for the past three years, Glitter has been an absolutely brilliant highlight to every Spring. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll be accepted for a fourth year of MCing.

While being a Master of Ceremony is an absolute blast…I don’t think it’s the best part of Glitter. I think the best part of Glitter is discovering that the quiet kid sitting next to you in Plane Geometry has a set of pipes that would make Adele cry. Glitter is all about the students of Gull Lake High School stepping up and saying: “Guys. Guys look what I can do!”

My Sophomore Year, this Senior named Garrison sang Folsom Prison Blues in a bass that I couldn’t believe. Or last year, Ben sang Lonely Boy and I still remember the first rehearsal I watched him and my jaw absolutely dropped. Or Caiti! She sang Sailor Song last year and her voice was so present, so full. It was awesome. (Granted, maybe there were a few people who know of these “hidden” talents. But I sure didn’t have a clue until they opened their mouths.)

On the other end of the spectrum, there are kids that sing often and therefore most people know they’ve got a throat of gold. This Junior, Grace, comes to mind. And this girl that graduated my Sophomore Year, Sarah.

Glitter is this amazing opportunity for Gull Lake High Schoolers to realize that the hallways are filled with talent. They’re filled with singers, dancers, songwriters, DJs. musicians…hula-hoopers. And that’s something to be proud of.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Thick snowflakes fell from a black, quilted sky. The air was cold and still, there wasn’t even a whisper of wind. The snow seemed to muffle all the sounds of Life at Gull Lake High School. That silence came as a stark contrast to the rowdy gymnasium that I’d just left.

I’d spent the whole Basketball game sitting with the most musical kids at our school…the Pep-Band.

That’s where I always sit. Personally, I think that’s the best place to be at a Basketball game. Maybe I think that because a lot of my friends are Band Geeks, which means I can usually find a home amongst the many bleachers full of brass, woodwind, and (insert name of another kind of instrument). But it’s not just the people that makes sitting with the Pep-Band special. It’s the Music.

Every so often, in mid conversation, everyone around me will suddenly pull their instruments up and a rendition of “Thriller” or “The Final Countdown” is suddenly filling the air around me. And that makes me smile. It’s almost like being in a musical…Sort of.

Anyway, that’s not the only kind of Music that makes the Pep-Band section the best. Every so often, Ms. Latham will instruct Ben or Joy to play some music from these huge speakers at the top of the bleachers. And it’s always a song groovy enough to make the whole section dance. Ben and Joy both have really good taste in Music and they make it a point to play only the best parts of the catchiest songs.

And that’s where I spend my Basketball games. Sitting with the Pep-Band, talking to some Band Geeks, listening to some good Music, and occasionally watching the intensity of the Basketball game that’s unfolding below.

I’m like a Pep-Band Groupie.

So, there are two big reasons I’m writing this post.

1.) To talk about the best place to sit at Basketball games.

2.) To talk about an Epiphany that I had as I was leaving last Friday’s Basketball game.

See, I had to leave early because I was taking the SAT on Saturday. As I was leaving the gym, the noise of the crowd and the game was almost overwhelming. The second I reached the outside, though…silence. Complete silence. It was snowing that night and the flakes of snow that fell were the fattest I’ve ever seen. It was as if the snow caused everything to stop. I didn’t hear the passing of cars on the road. I didn’t hear the sound of the cheers from the gym. I barely heard the sound of my own breathing.

I walked through this comforting silence. I walked through it and thought about what I had to do the next day. The SAT was just another reminder that I’d be leaving Gull Lake soon. And, with that on my mind, I turned back to the school. Just to get another good look at it.

And…it was beautiful. I don’t even care how silly that sounds. How could a building be beautiful? I haven’t a clue. I have no idea. But it was. I suppose the more I think about it…The more it makes sense. Why wouldn’t I feel an attachment to Gull Lake High School?

That was where I became who I am today. That’s where I met Coach Portis and Coach Hawkins and Coach Flynn. That’s where I met Mr. Nott. That’s where I learned. That’s where I laughed. That’s where I read the Call Board, telling me that I’d received my first role in a play as Jason. That’s where I spent countless hours with countless people who I would call nothing less than: “Friend.” That was where I became me.

It was a good couple of minutes before I turned my back on the school and made my way through the heavy snow to my car.

Of course, there will soon come a day that I won’t be sitting with the Pep-Band anymore. And there will soon come a day that I won’t be able to call Gull Lake my High School. But that day isn’t today. And that day isn’t tomorrow.

And I’m grateful for that.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

My Epiphanies as a Pep-Band Groupie

Someone Hit Fast-Forward

January 13, 2013

Someone Hit Fast-ForwardI remember when I was a Freshman.

And I can specifically remember my youthful self looking at Seniors and thinking: “Oh, I’ll never achieve that. I’ll never be that old. It’s so far away. Brian Wiegand? A Senior in High School? Preposterous!” And I can also remember wondering what it would feel like once I’d achieved that…

Well…

I feel absolutely no different. If I wasn’t consciously aware of the fact that I was a 17-year-old Senior at Gull Lake High School, it would be really, really easy for someone to convince me I was a Freshman. I suppose that’s sort of a “Duh” thing to say, but I can remember really thinking that I would feel different once I’d achieved this. I remember thinking that I’d be a completely different person.

Of course, I suppose I do have this constant nag of nostalgia…But I don’t feel like I’ve changed. Then again, I’ve been with me 100% of the time that this “change” has taken place, so maybe that’s why I don’t notice the difference. Or maybe there isn’t a difference…How am I supposed to know? It’s sort of like family reunions. Your relatives all say: “Oh, look how tall you are!” because they haven’t seen you in a year. To them, the change is huge. To you, the change doesn’t seem that immense because growth is slow and you’ve been you the whole time. You’ve experienced the change as it painstakingly took place and don’t realize how much change has taken place in a year.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that as I’ve grown older, time seems to be moving faster. (Perhaps that negates my previous point, oh well.) Sometimes, when I stop for a second to take a breath, I look around and I think: “Wait. It’s the Winter of my Senior year? That can’t be right. Cross Country is over? Over for good? Hold up…We’re in the middle of my final PAC show?! There’s 19 days until the first show? Nope. No. Wrong. Not true…It can’t be true.”

And then, when I look forward to this Summer, I’m hit with a huge bag of bricks called “Reality.” The Open Houses that I’ll be attending this year…will be for people in my grade. That definitely can’t be right. No way! It was just yesterday that I was at Freshman Orientation, right?

There are all these things that are starting to become very apparent to me. This Summer, I’ll be signing up for classes and buying books and saying good-bye to some kids I’ve grown up with my entire Life, I’ll be shopping for my dorm and preparing for College and getting ready to step out into the world…All on my own.

It is in this year, 2013, that I will leave Gull Lake High School…for the last time.

Time is going so fast. It’s like Someone Hit Fast-Forward.

But it’s all part of Life, isn’t it? Growing up is just part of Life and it’ll happen whether I want it to or not. Best thing I can do is be happy with it. Be happy that I’ve been fortunate enough to make it this far and that I’ve gotten into College and that I’ll actually be able to go to College.

As J.M. Barrie said: “All children, except one, grow up.” Last time I checked, I’m not Peter Pan…

So, it looks like I better get used to the idea.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Last Hoorah

January 9, 2013

The Last Hoorah

Across the nation, it’s hard to find a High School that doesn’t offer some sort of…Last Hoorah to their graduating Seniors. Even Rydell High does it! At Gull Lake, we call it “Grad Bash”. Grad Bash is The Last Hoorah for the Seniors of Gull Lake High School. And this year, it’s finally my turn to go on that magical trip.

(Luckily, I’ve turned my form in already. At the end of this month, the price to attend goes up $15. So, to any Gull Lake Seniors out there that haven’t signed up yet…Get on that.)

I still remember when my sister, Molly, went to hers…

Graduation had just finished and we were out on the plaza beside Miller Auditorium, on Western Michigan University’s campus. (Miller is the stage Gull Lake uses to present graduates with their diplomas.) A few buses waited patiently in the parking lot, prepared to take all the Seniors of Gull Lake to a location only known by the bus drivers and the parents that organized Grad Bash. Molly and the Class of 2010 ended up returning to Western’s campus for a night of blow-up, bouncy house fun in the Rec. Center. The Class of 2011 put on their boogie shoes for a night of line dancing at Cowboy-Up. The Class of 2012 was taken up to a community center in Grand Rapids and spent the night playing ping-pong and video games, climbing rock walls, and dancing.

Secretiveness is part of the magic that is Gull Lake’s Grad Bash. None of the Seniors know what they’re doing until they’re there. And I think that’s pretty cool. The mystery surrounding Grad Bash makes it exciting. Even if I had the chance to know where we were going, I wouldn’t want to hear it. Because it’s the unknown that we show an interest in.

Mystery is intriguing.

In the end, of course, I’d still go to Grad Bash if it wasn’t a secret. What’s really important about the evening is the camaraderie that fills the heart of every Senior. I can feel it start even now. Sometimes…I walk down the hallway and I look around at the faces of my peers, the faces of my fellow Seniors, and it feels right. It feels like: “Yes. We really did this. We really made it through these 13 years of school.” Of course, we all have much more difficult challenges ahead of us…But we did this. We played the game and we played it well enough to get here. I even feel this connection with kids I barely know. They’re a fellow Gull Lake Senior, and that’s enough to make me want to smile and wave.

Because we did it together. We made it this far together. We’ve seen each other achieve and we’ve seen each other fail. We’ve seen each other laugh and sometimes we’ve seen each other cry. We’ve seen each other excited and we’ve seen each other scared. We’ve each found our niche and we’ve all become different people. Some of us are writers. Some of us are artists. Some of us are Basketball stars. Some of us are PAC Rats. Soccer players. Band Geeks. Poets. Wrestling champs. History buffs. Quiz-Bowlians. Football beasts. Mathematicians. Equestrian masters. Scientists. Golfers. Outcasts. In-Crowd. Track and Cross Country runners. KAMSC kids. Tennis players. Just there. Presidents. Nerds. Jocks. Slackers. Hard workers. Some of us are this. Some of us are that. Some of us are none of the above. And some of us…well, some of us are Idiots. But all of us make up the Class of 2013. And we made it this far together.

That’s what Grad Bash is all about. It’s all about raising a glass to the past 13 years and having one night of relaxed fun before we turn to face the rest of our lives.

Because…the future is pretty scary. But we can think about that after Grad Bash.

To the Gull Lake Class of 2013, I say: “Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for more than you could ever possibly know.”

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

VIII

December 17, 2012

VIII

Last Wednesday, at 7:00, the Cast List was posted by the new PAC director, Mrs. Stahr. As you can imagine…this was pretty exciting. It read as follows:

Judge/Guard: Charisse T.

Foreman: Kelcee R.

#2: Shelby H.

#3: Samantha K.

#4: Leighanne B.

#5: Karly K.

#6: Jonah G.

#7: Jack L.

#8: Brian W.

#9: Juli G.

#10: Jossie C.

#11: Alana F.

#12: Shelby C.

There was a mad rush to see the Call Board from all who auditioned. Of course, this involved equal amounts of joy and sorrow. But, in the end, the Cast List is what it is. Mrs. Stahr made her choices and I can’t wait to see what the Gull Lake Performing Arts Company will make of Twelve Angry Jurors.

Just this afternoon, the Tech List was posted and it was packed with placements that made me smile.

For starters, Mary and Kristen got Associate Directors…And that makes me happy. I asked Mary a few months back what she’d want to do in PAC this year and she said she certainly wouldn’t mind Associate Director. And I’m glad that she is. I think she’s a creative mind that will really help make the play something special.

And a good friend of mine, Rachel, got Stage Manager. A position I know she’s had her heart set on. Rachel’s a little girl with a very, very big heart and I know she’s up to the task of managing us PAC Rats and whipping us into shape.

Oh, and another good friend, Claire, got Sound Chief. I’ve always thought that was a cool aspect of PAC. Everybody starts out in minor positions, learning the ropes. It’s not very sensible to make a newbie a Chief so, in general, people start out on the bottom rung and work their way up as they display their talents. And it’s really special to see that sort of thing happen to friends of yours.

I can’t remember everything the Tech List said…it was a lot longer than the Cast List and therefore a bit harder to remember. But, overall, I’m just so…unbelievably and uncontrollably excited to start working on this show.

That desire was slightly curbed today. Today was our very first rehearsal. The 13 actors and actresses went and met in Mrs. Stahr’s room for our first read-through of Twelve Angry Jurors. And I thought it went exceptionally well, especially for a first read-through. I mean, it didn’t go perfect…But I don’t think there’s been a single first read-through in the history of theatre that went perfect.

It’s satisfying to finally get our hands on the scripts and to highlight our lines and to read the show that we’ll be performing. I feel good…now that I’m finally doing PAC again.

Even if there’s the grim reality that it will be my last year…

I’m happy to be working on a play.

And I’m thrilled to be Juror No. 8.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Reflection

When I was a Freshman, Gull Lake High School ran a school year based on semesters. Nowadays, we run on trimesters. But back when we were on semesters, kids used to be able to do this thing called “Double Blocking”. Double Blocking was when you took one class in the first semester (say…Freshman English) and then, in order to get ahead of the game and hopefully reach AP level classes in that subject, you would take the next class up in the second semester (say…Sophomore English.) Well, I did that my Freshman Year. I took Freshman English…and then Sophomore English.

This decision was filled with Pros and Cons…

Pros:

-I was advancing my education in a subject area I enjoyed

-It would create an opportunity to take both AP English classes over two years (one in my Junior Year and one in my Senior Year.)

-I got to have English year-round

-I had Mrs. Jolin as my Sophomore English teacher. (We’ll get to why that’s especially important for this blog.)

Cons:

-I believe that English is the class where you bond the most with your classmates…and I missed out on a lot of that experience with my grade. I never got to see my classmates get assigned parts to read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I never got giggle with my peers as we heard a teacher say the “f-word” in Catcher in the Rye. I never got to discuss Lord of the Flies with the Class of 2013. I never got to have all of those English class experiences with members of my grade. (Of course, I have AP Literature this year with a lot kids from my grade…but one year doesn’t make up for the two I’m missing.)

-I was a super shy Freshman surrounded by Sophomores I didn’t know

-I made a complete fool of myself on multiple occasions

Anyway, the most important thing to pull from my Pros and Cons list was that I had Mrs. Jolin as my teacher for Sophomore English. Because that was the first time I was introduced to the possibility of being a member of The Reflection‘s staff. The Reflection is the school newspaper at Gull Lake High School and Mrs. Jolin is the advisor that oversees it’s operations.

So, I’m in Mrs. Jolin’s class and she sort of suggested that I should sign up to be in Newspaper the next year. I filled out the paperwork to take the class…but when it came time to actually make my course requests for the next year, I realized I couldn’t fit it in anywhere.

And then I did something really embarrassing.

I had to tell Mrs. Jolin that I wasn’t signed up for the next year of newspaper. But I felt like I would be letting her down if I told her. I sat there every day in class wondering how I should bring it up to her. One day, we had this assignment where we had to write a poem and read it in front of the class…I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea, but I wrote my poem as an apology to Mrs. Jolin that I wouldn’t be in Newspaper next year. And I read that…in front of the whole class.

Maybe it really wasn’t as humiliating as I remember it…I suppose time does tend to distort our memories.

Anyway, I eventually became a member of The Reflection. This year, in fact, I took Newspaper for the first trimester. And I’m glad I did.

Mrs. Jolin has a very kind, quirky nature and that makes her really fun to work with. I suppose I am a little sad that I don’t have another trimester or that I didn’t take the class earlier. But I think My Time With The Reflection was well spent.

I wrote some articles. I made some acquaintances. I interviewed some people. I took some pictures. And, towards the end of the trimester, Mrs. Jolin even put a link to this blog on the newspapers website…which was pretty nice.

In the end, The Reflection was definitely the right way to start off my Senior Year and I’m really glad that I took the class. I’m glad Mrs. Jolin took the time to tell me to sign up. It’s only a week into the new trimester and I already kind of miss marching into Mrs. Jolin’s room everyday, knowing that the entire class time is being given to me and I can spend it working at whatever pace I please.

But as much as I feel this regret that I didn’t take more of the class…I also feel a certain sense of completion. Like the amount of time I spent with The Reflection was the right amount of time.

I am content.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Exam Hiatus

November 20, 2012

See, there’s a few problems with being a High School Blogger…

1.) The Life experiences that I blog about extend over a grand total of 17 years and most of them take place within a very conservative, wealthy community with extremely low diversity. (As you can imagine, I live a relatively sheltered Life. Most of us at Gull Lake do…) This means my frame of reference for the world as a whole is…this one very, very, very, very small town. What I’m saying is: I don’t always know what I’m talking about.

2.) My posts can be affected by the foolishness of youth. Sometimes my thoughts and feelings are generated through the idea that I’ll be young forever or that the world, of course, revolves around me or that everyone must think exactly like me, right? I feel like these things are just the effects of being young and I am plagued by them, like most of my peers.

3.) (The one that directly pertains to this post.) I struggle to maintain a balance between school, extracurriculars, a social Life, and this blog. Unfortunately for the blog, it often has to take the back seat because I try to maintain good grades, I try to get involved in extracurriculars, and I strive to spend as much time as I can with my friends in our last year of High School.

Next week, the week after Thanksgiving, is Exam Week at Gull Lake High School. Over the next two weeks, I will be in: Exam-Cram Mode

This means the blog is going on a Hiatus. The Exam Hiatus.

I hate to do it, I really do. I have a few ideas I’ve been toying with and I know what I want to write about when I come back, what thoughts and experiences I want to reflect upon…but they’ll have to wait. The next two weeks will be primarily dedicated to studying for Final Exams. (Next Friday, I’ll probably be taking the hardest exam I’ve ever taken in my Life and I am shaking in my boots. AP Chemistry may very well be the death of me. When we asked Coach Portis how long the AP Chem exam would be…he gave us the most devious smile and said: “Oh…about 27 pages.” If my memory serves me correctly, I think one girl was taken out of class in an ambulance after he said that.)

Anyway, I’ll be back at writing this blog in December. December 1st is the Saturday after exams are over…I’ll shoot for getting a post up then.

For now, I’ll stop wasting your time with this meandering post. I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving.

I’ll see you on the other side.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Tonight, I went to my first football game as a Senior in High School. I used to go to them all the time when I was younger, but I’ve sorta fallen out of that habit. I went tonight, though. And it was so nostalgic I almost felt nauseous. Nauseous with nostalgia.

At a Gull Lake Football Game, there are certain vivid Aspects that we all experience as Gull Lakers. In this post, I’d like to talk about the value of a High School Football Team and the way that it’s affected my Life and the Lives of almost every other Gull Laker.

The Awkward Middle School Stage That We All Went Through

On the far side of the Football Field, there’s a grassy area that is always entirely inhabited by Awkward Middle Schoolers going completely wild on the sugar they just devoured from the concession stand. And there’s no shame because we all went through this when we were in Middle School. We all bugged our older siblings or our parents to drive us out to the home Football Game where we would quickly scurry off to find our circle of friends that we would desperately cling to for the rest of the night.

Ah, Middle School. How horribly awkward. Anyone that reached their prime in Middle School is going to lead a very sad, sad Life.

The Band’s Performance

Honestly, this is probably my favorite part of every Football Game. The Gull Lake High School Marching Band is chock-full of friends of mine and I love to hurry to the fence each half-time to watch them perform.

Last year was, without a doubt, the best Band Show I’ve seen in my 6 years of going to Football Games. Not only was the music impressive, the band took the Show a step further by adding a story enacted by the Drum Majors (Tanner, Callie, and Ross). The story was that of a warrior (Tanner) denied his chance at knighthood by his Queen (Callie) because the title went to a soldier more worthy (Ross). As the Gull Lake Marching Band played the epic and dramatic score, Tanner wove his way through the crowded field, fighting clarinet players and color-guard soldiers, all in a quest to seek revenge on Callie. In the final moments of Part One, Tanner finally reached Callie’s “castle” and Callie dove from her Drum Major Podium into the waiting arms of her color-guard knights. Tanner took Callie’s spot on the Podium and flourished his arms dramatically as one final note boomed from the band. In Parts Two and Three, Ross, ever his Queen’s servant, fought his way into Tanner’s domain and struck him down. This usually resulted in a huge roar of approval from the crowd.

It was probably the most well-recieved Band Show.

The Lovely Ladies

The Senior girls always take it upon themselves to spear-head the support for our Football players. T-shirts are made every year among a certain crowd of girls, (who I hear take a blood oath to be at every football game) each sporting the name of a different Senior Football player. Then, at the games themselves, they can usually be found in the front row with their t-shirts rolled or tied up to reveal their midriffs and their bellies painted in blue and white. They are the loudest of any section in the bleachers.

Walking Tacos

Maybe every school has these. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. But, to me, they just seem so…Gull Lake. Them seem so homely. I’d like to believe the only place on this planet that you can get a Walking Taco is at the concession stand at a Gull Lake home Football Game. It’s pretty simple…and, yet, so delectable. A Walking Taco is an opened bag of Fritos corn chips filled with cheese, meat, and salsa. It’s most frequently eaten with a spoon. And it is good.

The 3rd Quarter

Another great part about Football Games is when the Band kids are released to mingle during the 3rd Quarter. (Right after the half-time show, which usually means they’re covered in sweat from their recent workout and all they want is some cool, night air.) They’re given just this one break and they generally all file out to the concession stand to grab a quick snack, and then desperately try to fit in as much enjoyment from their couple minutes of freedom before they return to playing the fight song.

School Spirit

I’ve never had much of it. And I’ve never really thought about it. Today, though, we had a pep assembly about the game that was played tonight. The game was, to quote the slogan “More than a game!” It was also a fund-raising event for cancer research. So, the pep assembly involved an introduction by the head Football Coach, Coach Hiller. And then a speech by a local cancer survivor and slam poet. Personally, I did sort of find Coach Hiller rather threatening and I thought his point was missed in his harshness. The slam poet was an amazing speaker, he seemed unbelievably natural in front of a crowd and his message of “pursuing a Life to help others instead of oneself” was timeless. But this is all sort of off track. Sort of. See, the other point of a pep assembly is to…raise “pep”? Or get people excited about their school. Our pep assemblies don’t usually go very well because we really don’t have a ton of School Spirit. We don’t have a particularly amazing Football team, but I don’t think that’s the problem. Coach Hawkins, my AP Literature teacher, said today that having a school filled with Spirit was one of his favorite parts of High School. And so, I’m determined to discover why Gull Lake doesn’t have that. A lot of people, including the slam poet, (a Gull Lake graduate) seem to believe that it might be because Gull Lake is split up into “Haves” and “Have Nots” (AKA: People who live the high life out on Gull Lake, and the people whose families struggle to make ends meet.) Neither is better. Neither is worse. But it is a prominent division in our school. I realize that this tangent is really far off from what the rest of this blog is about. But it’s part of Football Games and just something to speculate on.

In the end, though, Football Games have been a part of my growing up. Whether I’m there to support the Band or just to socialize, I always leave feeling like it was a Friday night well spent. It was a Friday night in which I was able to interact with my community. The community that I grew up in. It’s nice to feel that sense of community. Now, if only it existed more apparently in the school.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Popping the Question

September 16, 2012

We ask and get asked a lot of important questions in our lifetime.

“Do you wanna grab coffee sometime?” “Paper or plastic?” “Do you want fries with that?” “Will you marry me?” “What do you want for Christmas?” “Credit or debit?” “What is the meaning of Life?” “Who am I? “(Insert another existentialist question.)” “Yes or no?” “Where are you going to college?”

One of the most relevant questions to my generation at this day and age and during this Fall season is…”Will you go to Homecoming with me?” Seven little words that can be said in so many different ways and responded to in only a few…”Yes.” “No.” “I’ll have to think about it. (AKA: A prolonged no.)”

In this post, in honor of the Homecoming Season, I’m going to be writing some of my favorite ways that guys at Gull Lake have asked girls to dances. And maybe we’ll take a little trip down memory lane and see the different ways that this Idiot has asked his dates. They get pretty embarrassing.

Here we go…

The Test Question

Remember Adam? The kid who almost ran me over in my Freshman 24 Hour Marathon? The one who made me drop the Baton? Well…he can be a bit of a sweetheart. In his Senior Year, he asked his girlfriend Morgan to a dance with the help of one of his favorite teachers, Mr. Blackburn. Adam requested that Mr. Blackburn put a question on a quiz that read: “Will Morgan go to Homecoming with Adam?” Morgan, of course, answered “Yes.” She got the question right. And for those of you out there who mate are “mate-for-life” types…Adam and Morgan were recently engaged to be married. So, clearly, The Test Question works…

Sticky Note Scavenger

One year, this kid name Chris made quite a grand gesture in his Homecoming request…or maybe it was Prom. Who knows? Bottom line is: it was a school-wide event. It was hard to walk down the hallway that day without seeing countless guys strutting around with two sticky notes taped proudly to their chests. The idea was simple enough. A girl, Emily, was given a note at her locker at the start of the day that contained two differently colored sticky notes. The note read that Emily had to find the matching set of sticky notes to find her prince. By the end of the day, Emily had found her suitor…and denied him.

Perhaps this isn’t the best method…

Shin Tape Surprises

This is how I asked a great friend and teammate of mine, Emmi, to our Sophomore Homecoming. There’s sort of a running joke in our school that the Cross Country Team is…sort of like a Cult. The Cult works from within. More often than not, you’ll see that guys on the team ask girls on the team, instead of pulling from outside the Cult. My Sophomore year, I was no exception. Something you should know about Emmi is that she’s quite fragile. Particularly her shins. So, knowing that Coach Portis was going to be taping her shins to prevent shin splints, I gave him one strip of medical tape that read “Emmi, Homecoming? -Brian”. When Coach Portis placed it on her shin, she said “Yes.”

Whiteboard Revelations

Sticking with the Cross Country Team, I remember my Freshman Year when Cameron also used Coach Portis to aid in his asking Ali. On the Cross country Team, involving Coach Portis in a Homecoming request is almost synonymous with asking a girls father for approval. Anyway, Coach was giving us the game-plan on some meet we were going to run at the next day. At the end of the meeting, Coach said: “Oh yeah, One last thing.” And he reached down (Coach Portis, along with all the Science teachers at Gull Lake High School, has about six huge white boards that slide up and down to reveal or hide anything that may be written on them) and pulled up a white board that said: “Ali, Homecoming? -Cam” And she said “Yes” too.

Secret Service

I’m pretty sure there’s a by-law in the Bro-Code that says something about never denying a fellow Bro when he needs you to be his Wing-Man. Anyway, in my Sophomore year, Jeremy asked me to help him in asking Erin to Homecoming. With some aid from many of Erin’s friends, we discovered that she had a weakness for chocolate. So, Jeremy went out and bought a bar of chocolate. He asked me and another Jeremy (Jeremy C.) to act as sort of a “Secret Service” or personal guard. Jeremy C. and I approached Erin with black t-shirts and aviator sunglasses, completely straight faced. She gave us the most peculiar look before Jeremy C. and I turned towards each other, nodded once, then stepped aside to reveal…Jeremy in a suit, holding a bar of chocolate. “Erin? Will you go to Homecoming with me?” And the answer was “Yes.”

The Proposal

Today, in preparation for writing this post, I asked a lot of people at school what their favorite “Homecoming Request Stories” were. In my first class, Leah told me a story that I couldn’t help but share.

Leah had been sitting at her lunch table, believing it was a day like any other. Suddenly, Will approached her and got down on one knee. I can’t imagine this was received supremely well by Leah’s surrounding peers. “Leah? Will you go to Prom with me?” Will asked as he opened a ring box that had one little word inside it: “Prom?” She said “Yes.”

Wait,” I said upon hearing this story, “That worked for you?”

“Well…yeah,” Leah said.

Peacocking

Back to the whole Cross Country thing, there was this kid named Ryan. When I first met Ryan, he was one of the quietest, most introverted kids I’d ever met. As time progressed, however, Ryan became more and more outgoing. It wasn’t long before Ryan was an energetic, talkative comedian who could make anyone laugh. One of the most outstanding examples of his transformation is the manner in which he asked Cara to his Senior Homecoming. Ryan laid across the hood of his car with a rose in his mouth and a sign that read: “Homecoming?” How could Cara say “No”? Of course she said “Yes.”

The Holly Invite…Invite?

Still on Cross Country stuff. So, my Sophomore Year, Sam B. (now the fastest runner on our guys team) asked Carly (not my Carly) to Homecoming. The Gull Lake Cross Country Varsity Team (7 guys and 7 girls) makes a yearly trip to Holly, MI to run in the Holly Invitational. The Team leaves the night before the meet and spends that night in a hotel before getting up early the next morning to go run. In Sam’s Freshman Year, though, he spent part of the night before plotting his Homecoming request. Carly was lead into her hotel room by the girls Team and the windows blinds were pulled aside to reveal “Homecoming?” spelt out in signs held up by the guys Team. With Sam holding the question mark. An instant “Yes.”

Poetry

My Junior Year, I asked Sarah to Homecoming. And I did it in a pretty sappy fashion. I stopped her as she was walking to her car for her off-campus class. “Sarah? Do you mind just listening to this poem for AP Lang really quick?” I asked, “I’m afraid it doesn’t sound good.” “Sure…?” she said. And I dove into it. Unfortunately, I don’t really remember what the poem said, nor do I have a copy of it…but I guess it worked? I mean, she did say “Yes.” I seem to recall I was trying to be clever by having the poem describe exactly what I was doing in that moment. It was entitled: “The Question”, I believe, and it was all about a boy asking a girl a question: “Will you go to Homecoming with me?” Anyway, that’s that sappy little method.

The Power of One Direction

This is perhaps one of my all-time favorite methods. Jeremy C. (the one I mentioned before) had a friend pull his pickup truck right next to the school. At the end of the day, Katie was pulled out into the cold (it was snowing) by some of her friends. The pickup truck instantly began to blast “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction and Jeremy C. and a gang of his Basketball friends broke out in an impressive synchronized dance. Luckily, this was about the time that I happened to waltz out of the building. I watched as Katie stood mesmerized by the show being put on in front of her. One particularly hilarious moment was when the boys ripped their shirts off…I don’t think they counted on snow being in the forecast in the middle of Spring. Anyway, I could spend all day describing their dance…or I could post the amateur video of it. The quality isn’t all that great, but you’ll get the general idea…

Click Here for Hilarity

He’s Got Balls

For Brady’s Junior Prom, he decided to ask a girl with his balls. His foam balls, that is. Brady wrote P-R-O-M-? on five different foam balls and stuffed them into Kelsey’s locker. When she opened her locker, the balls tumbled out. Not many girls can say “No” to Brady’s balls. And Kelsey was no exception. She said “Yes.”

Puzzle It Together

The following method is probably the most all-encompassing, crowd pleasing, and commonly used creative request. This method takes on many different shapes and forms but has the same basic principle: the recipient of the request receives one part of a larger message in each class, slowly clueing them into the overall statement of: “Will you go to (Homecoming, Sno Court, Prom) with me? -Suitor” Whether it was Ryan asking Ali with his little present boxes full of compliments, or Jonah asking Joy with his balloons, or Lam with roses, or Grant with actual puzzle pieces, or Nate with easter eggs, all these methods will almost guarantee a “Yes.” It’s creative. It’s fun. And, with a little thought, it can be personalized to any girl.

Popping The Balloons

Dallas asked Cara with balloons. But perhaps he should’ve been more clear with what he wanted her to do with the balloons. Each balloon, tied to her car, contained part of “Will you go to Prom with me?” (So, it kind of fits in the last category.) After what seemed like a million years of us (the Cross Country guys) huddled together, watching Cara from across the parking lot as she confusedly stared at the balloons, she finally understood that she had to pop each balloon. With some encouragement from us, (“Use your keys!”) she finally got the message. (Works on two levels, see?) Cara burst all the balloons, Dallas rolled up in his car, approached her with a bouquet of flowers, and asked. She said “Yes.”

Stringing Them Along

At the end of a school day that seemed very average for Stephanie, she was handed a very long piece of string. The string stretched down the hallway and out of sight. Stephanie was instructed to follow the string to find her suitor. One floor down and a hallway over, Brandon was frantically pulling flowers out of his locker and holding tightly onto the other end of the string. Stephanie followed the string until she found Brandon, waiting with a smile and a bouquet. “Stephanie? Will you go to Prom with me?” Brandon asked. “Yes,” she replied.

Plan B: Just Go For It

In the end, what’s it all really about? It’s about expressing from one person to another: “Hey, I think you’re pretty special. I wouldn’t mind spending an evening with you.” Or maybe it’s about something more. Who knows? Bottom line is: A boy is asking a girl to join him in a night of frivolity. There are a lot of crazy ways that a guy can ask a girl. A lot of crazy ways. But, in the end, there’s nothing wrong with just…going for it. I’ve done it twice! The first time, my initial plan fell apart. So, I just went for it. I went over to Kelcey’s house my Freshman Year and knocked on her door, flower in hand. And, in front of her whole family, I asked her to Homecoming. And she said “Yes.” For my Junior Prom date, Valerie, I was at my off-campus class and I just decided one day that I had to man up and do it. Unfortunately, the girl I was going to ask was already half-way to her car…about to leave. I bolted from the classroom without an explanation and chased her down…followed by half the class. Oh well, she said “Yes.” And one of my best friends Jeremy did the same thing with Grace. And they’ve been dating for almost a year now. So, it works. It works to just go for it. You could spend all day planning some silly way to ask a girl to a dance and, trust me, she’ll totally love it, it’s worth it to do that occasionally; but never forget that the reason she’s saying “Yes” isn’t because you wrote “Will you go to Homecoming with me?” on a few different pieces of paper that people handed to her throughout the day…it’s because she wants to go with you. Never be afraid to just…well, you get the idea.

In the end, Homecoming and Prom are an awesome time in a High Schoolers Life. Even if you don’t end up asking someone or you don’t get asked, I think it’s awesome to be surrounded for a few weeks by spontaneous bouquets, balloons, notes, messengers, secretive teachers, signs, hidden clues, strings, roses, balls, poetry, One Direction, sticky notes, and proposals. Because it’s all about gestures. It’s all about making someone smile for a day.

Making someone smile by letting know that there’s someone in their High School who cares about them. Someone who wants to spend a night with them. Someone who wants to dance with them.

That’s pretty special, I think.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Full Circle

September 12, 2012

The Gull Lake Cross Country Team has the best fund-raiser on the face of the planet. It is known by all Gull Lakers who love to run as: The 24 Hour Marathon. And I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

The 24 Hour Marathon is pretty simple. We start at 9:00 on a Friday morning with our fastest guy runner (Sam B. this year) running a mile on the Track. When he finishes his mile, he passes the Marathon Baton off to the second fastest guy runner (Sam S. this year). Then he runs a mile. And so on and so forth until we get to the slowest guy runner. The slowest guy runner then passes the Baton off to the fastest girl runner. And when we get to the slowest girl runner? It goes right back to the fastest guy runner. And we cycle like that for 24 Hours. The 24 Hour Marathon. The catch is, once the first runner starts, once the gun goes off…? There’s no leaving the Track. We even sleep at the Track. (Most people sleep in their cars next to the Track.) On the surface, it may seem like a very bizarre workout. In truth, it’s a huge Team Party. By far, one of the best parts of every Cross Country Season.

In between our runs, we’re free to do whatever we want. We listen to music. We play soccer. We eat. We hang out. We read. We play games. We dance. We go for cool-downs or warm-ups. We stretch. We nap. We compete in a “Guess-the-Teammate” game for $5 from Coach Portis. We tell jokes. We do tricks. (With our fellow candlesticks.) In general, we just have…a really, really, really good time.

It’s a shame I’ve already had my last one. All things come to pass. Even good ones. I know that. I’ve learned that. Especially in the last few months.

The point of this blog, though, is not for me to talk about leaving things behind. It’s to talk about Full Circles. And the first Full Circle that I’ve made this year took place at the 24 Hour Marathon…

So, my Freshman Year…I was easily intimidated by the hulking Upper-Classmen. And in my Freshman 24 Hour Marathon, the Baton was being handed to me by the most intimidating Senior I’ve ever met: Adam. Before Adam was on the Cross Country Team…he was a Football Player. Do you see where I’m going with this? Basically, Adam was this huge wall of pure muscle who often took pleasure in getting an occasional…jump out of me (totally harmless). So, there he was, sprinting the last 100 meters of his mile right at me. Right at me! There I stood, this tiny Freshman. There he was, this monstrous Senior. And one was about to converge upon the other.

Adam let out a feral roar.

I let out a feeble whimper.

Adam sprinted closer. (Did I mention he was the number one sprinter on our Track team too? He was.)

I held out my hand and started to jog along, waiting for the Baton to pass from the lion to the lamb. Adam was going too fast, though…

I started to speed up-!

But it was too late.

Adam crashed into me and the Baton flew into the air. Time seemed to move like molasses as everyone’s eyes watched the Baton spiral through the air…Somewhere, I think a baby started crying. Somewhere, I thought I heard a cardboard box full of puppies start whimpering.

And the Baton fell. It fell so far for so long. I watched in terror as the Baton hit the ground and bounced once or twice, taunting me, until it came to a rest. I snatched it up and took off sprinting. You can bet, I did not look back. The unfortunate thing about running a mile on a Track, though…is that you go in a circular sort of motion. So, I had to eventually face my teammates. It wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. It wasn’t that bad at all, actually.

That’s not the kind of team we are.

And then there’s this year. This year, my Senior Year, on my very first handoff…

Yeah, I dropped the Baton again. I came Full Circle. No matter how much you change over four years, Life has funny ways of reminding you that you are yourself. Freshman Brian and Senior Brian are lightyears different in a lot of ways. I’m taller. I style my hair differently. I have new friends. I’ve had different experiences. (Despite what I may sometimes say, I don’t know that I’m much more mature…) I’ve found acting since then. My sister’s moved out. I’ve taken and passed Chemistry. And I’m taking AP Chemistry. (Jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll pass.) I’ve learned dozens of life lessons from dozens of classic novels. I’ve met people. I’ve forgotten people. I’ve become a new person. Freshman Brian and Senior Brian are so different.

And yet…I still dropped the Baton.

I’d like to think that I’m the same where it counts.

The other night was Senior Night for the Cross Country Team. Our last race on our home course. (I promise this ties in. I really do.) And all the parents made posters of their Senior and their 4 (or however many) years of Cross Country. And I was looking at all these pictures of me, and every year I looked different. Every year I had new hair and a new face and a new style. And yet, I would look at the grin on my face and see an unmistakable likeness to the one I wear now. I could feel the very same grin spread across my face as this thought occurred to me.

I still dropped the baton. I’m still me. I’m still an Idiot. I’m still a Superman in training. I still have that stupid grin. I’m still…Brian.

I’ve come Full Circle.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)