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)

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The Home Stretch

April 9, 2013

The Home Stretch

Spring Break is over. It’s only Tuesday and it already seems like it’s been an eternity since I was in the Sunshine State’s pan handle. But now…oh, now we find ourselves in The Home Stretch.

If I’m doing my Math correctly, which I’m probably not, we have 35 school days left. From what I’ve heard, we get out on Thursday, May 30th. How about a little more Math? (I have no idea why I’m voluntarily doing Math. Heck, I get enough of it in Pre-Calc. Oh well, only 35 days left. I suppose I can handle a little more.)

So, 35 days. We spend about 6.8 hours in school every day. That’s 238 hours of school left. Or 14,280 minutes. Let’s take out passing time and lunch, shall we? 12,530 class-time minutes until the Seniors leaves Gull Lake High School. (Granted, I didn’t take into account the early-release day we have coming up. Or the half-day that we’re going to have. So…maybe it’s not that accurate. Gimme a break.)

Okay, well that’s all fine and dandy…But let’s take this a step further.

Let’s say that we truly attended school for 180 days every year of our schooling career. Obviously, that’s not true. We’ve had snow days, we’ve been sick, we’ve gone on vacation. Whatever. Just go with me. That means we’ve completed 98.50% of our time at Gull Lake Community Schools. For those of you who are Mathematically challenged like myself, we’ve got 1.50% of our schooling career left. (Until college, that is.)

Alright. That’s kinda nice to see all laid out…But let’s go one step further.

Keeping with the above assumption that we truly attended school 180 days each year, we’ve gone to school 2,305 times. Those measly 35 days we have left? Well, we’ve already attended 35 days of Gull Lake 65 times…If that makes sense. What we have left, we’ve already done 65 times (almost 66 times, truly). So, one more time is like…nothing.

There’s a million different ways to look at it. But the bottom line is that our Senior Year is rapidly approaching it’s close. The Year of Lasts will soon have it’s Last Day. There could very well be people walking the hallways of Gull Lake High School that I’ll only see for 35 more days. People that I’ve already spent 2,305 days with. People that I might never see again. It is the greatest Truth and greatest tragedy of anything that comes to a close: People that you may have once called friend become nothing more than memory.

But I suppose it’s nothing to worry ourselves over. Because it’s just part of Life. Nothing lasts forever. We’d be foolish to think anything to the contrary. Especially when we’re being stared in the face by the conclusion of the largest aspect of our Lives thus far.

35 days.

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

The Life of an Idiot Crest

As the year comes to a conclusion, it is wise to reflect on the past 365 days and how they have changed you.

I chose a lyric from the Mumford & Sons’ song Babel to title this post because I think it ties in well with my last year.

I don’t think I’ve ever lived a year better spent in love. Spent, of course, could have multiple meanings in this context. “Spent” as in I’ve lived in it. Or “spent” as in I’ve given it away, I’ve paid with it. And I think I can relate to both meanings.

This time last year, PAC was getting underway and I was participating in the last year of Mr. Nott. We were working on a show written by Mr. Nott entitled Dune Shadow and I’d been blessed with the opportunity to play Will. The season was spent surrounded by people who I truly cared deeply about. Friends who I still cling to today. That season, we didn’t make it past Regionals…but it was also the season that we made a trip to Saugatuck and performed the show for the schools there because it was local history. In that same day, we visited the actual ruins of Singapore, the setting of our story. It’s a shame that Mr. Nott had to retire from being PAC Director, but I’m glad that I was there to experience his last year.

As Dune Shadow ended, Track and Glitter began. And it wasn’t long until One Act auditions were being held. My third year as an MC for the High School talent show, Glitter, was spent with a group of people I wouldn’t trade for the world. Just thinking about the fun we had makes me feel all giddy. There’s really nothing like being on stage. Especially if it’s in the casual, goofy sense that surrounds Glitter MCing.

Track, of course, is not Cross Country. But what’s important is the people. And the people stay the same. Last Spring marked my fifth year running Track (if you count Middle School, which I probably shouldn’t.) It was filled, as always, with runners that I felt a deep connection with….See, it’s pretty hard to avoid becoming friends with the people who get to see you at your lowest moments. When a hard workout is close to being finished and I’m about to pass out and Jeremy or Sam or Nic or Willie or anyone comes up to me, pats me on the back, and says: “Almost done” that forms a indescribable bond. A true friend is there for your lows just as much as your highs.

One Acts were, as always, a blessing. The fact that I get to do One Acts at all stems from Coach Portis and his generosity in letting me do both One Acts and Track. Thanks to him, I got to play Carter White in Door to Door and I was given the chance to meet Jossie. Jossie played Stephanie, the only other character in our play. Another amazing thing about Coach Portis is that he comes every year to watch the performances. After our show, I went and sat next to him to thank him for letting me do this and I still remember what he told me: “Brian, it looked like you we’re having a lot of fun up there. I’m glad that I can let you do something that brings you so much joy. Good job.”

And then school ended. And Summer came. And Summer was filled with Cross Country and Carly. And this is really where I’d never felt so loved. That Summer was a balancing act as I tried to spend as much time as I could with the Cross Country Team and Carly. But it didn’t really matter how much time I spent with either because I knew it would never be enough. Eventually, Summer would end. Eventually, Carly would go off to Interlochen and the Cross Country season would conclude…at the same time, though, I was going to try and embrace every second I spent in the grace of those who I loved and loved me.

Sadly, Carly did leave.

Sadly, Cross Country did end.

“I’ll see you later.” I told Carly.

“Seniors, this’ll be your last race ever with me as your head Coach. It’s been an honor.” Coach Portis said.

Both occasions were bittersweet.

Of course, now we’re almost caught up with the present. This PAC season is barely underway but I’ve enjoyed the few rehearsals we’ve had so far and I’m excited to play Juror No. 8. Once break is over, we’ll be back at the ol’ grind, working hard to make the play the best it can be.

I suppose there’s only one last thing to talk about…and that’s this blog. And this blog has helped me with thanking those who’ve helped fill this last year with love. And I can’t help but realize that I owe everyone who surrounds me all the kindness they deserve for making 2012 one of the best years ever…because I’ve Never Lived a Year Better Spent in Love.

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