This past winter, I docked my charter captain’s hat and added a Richmond Hill High School bus driver’s hat to my collection. What a great experience.
Occasionally I was assigned as a driver for field trips. I had the distinct pleasure of providing the transportation for the girls basketball team, the boys basketball team, the varsity and JV baseball teams, the choir and the TSA group. I was there to see the varsity boys win the Region 2-AAAA championship.
I haven’t been near a high school sports event since my youngest daughter graduated from SCD, well, a long time ago. It took me about 10 seconds into my first game to be on the edge of my seat and straining to help, through osmosis, every pitch, every throw, every swing of the bat.
There was the same intensity as my eyes followed the basketball in its flight to the basket, the charge down court with seconds to play and one more point needed.
Does your kid play? Did you make the game? Boy did you miss one of life’s golden opportunities if you were not there.
Someone asked me if I liked driving. So what’s to not like? Free pass into the game, a concession-stand hot dog and a fast-food restaurant afterward. My cup runneth over!
We had some good games and some not so good games. I was there for the full seven innings that the JV baseball team played when the game went 0-0 in a hard-fought pitching and ball-handling battle until the bottom of the seventh. The other team scored one run to win. Rats.
OK, so you think about what you did right and what you did wrong and work on the weak spots to be ready for the next game.
There was something else to appreciate at those events. It didn’t have a lot to do with the score, but then maybe it did. It had a lot to do with the way those young people handled defeat and victory.
They were disciplined and concentrated. They had self-confidence and good manners. They demonstrated good sportsmanship and respect for others. Good job, coaches! Well, maybe somebody at home also might have been helping the kids work on those traits.
Then there was the RHHS Choir. Oh my goodness! We traveled to Georgia Southern, where I found a perfect seat, center stage. The sound was magnificent. The performance of the Georgia Southern “auditioned” choir was, I am sure, inspirational for the RHHS students. The sound of the RHHS choir was wonderful. I haven’t had such a pleasant afternoon in a very long time.
Then there was the Technology Student Association (TSA) competition in Athens. There were a dozen students and their teacher representing RHHS. There were 44 Georgia schools represented at the event with, for starters, 88 robots.
The list of events over three days filled a large eight-page program. There were events involving computer-aided architecture, electrical design, graphics, transportation, photographic technology and the list goes on. There were events involving communications, inventions and innovations. There was public speaking.
Of course, there were the robots fighting it out in a square arena, stacking plastic doughnut rings and blocking opponents. Stiff competition and tense moments as the clock ticked down. Great stuff.
Then there were the self-propelled model planes. They flew them inside the building, which had exceptionally high ceilings. They had to be designed to take off and fly in a circle. Flights were timed in seconds.
There were the planes that flew directly into the judge’s knee. There were planes that flew straight up and straight down.
Then there was the plane that took off beautifully and proceeded to fly and fly and fly. It went all the way to the ceiling and with all eyes watching, smacked into a girder. There was a collective moan from the entire thousand or so people in the room.
The plane dropped down a foot or two – and continued to fly to the cheers of the crowd. It repeated that performance involving the girders several times before it returned very smoothly to earth and what had to have been first place.
I started walking around the circle of competitors, peeking in boxes and over shoulders to see what their planes looked like. There consistently were well made, nicely finished, innovatively and aerodynamically designed models. Then I came to the RHHS box.
Sitting in the bottom of the box was this thing with the wings pointing in several directions, various shades of white patches all over the fuselage and wing span. There were extra pieces of wood patching here and there with seemingly no rhyme or reason. The fuselage and the tail section seemed to be a bit crooked. Good grief, it looked like it already had crash landed.
The young man standing next to the box read my thoughts and gave me the answer. “Somebody sat on it,” he stated in a mournful voice. “Oh no,” was my dumb reply.
“Yup, put it in a chair for a minute and somebody sat on it.”
Now the whole scenario took on a new face. This was drama! Seconds to go before takeoff and this young fellow had not given up. He was working every angle he could to get his craft in condition to fly. It looked like a glued bundle of wrapping paper and Popsicle sticks. Phoenix rising!
Last I heard, it flew 13 seconds and was holding third place. I don’t know who got first place that night, but I know who the real winner was in that room.
So hats off to a great bunch of students at RHHC and a standing ovation, please, for our hope for the future.
Hubbard is a charter boat captain – and occasional bus driver – in Richmond Hill.