Contrary to popular belief, Sarah and I did not name our first child after Harrison High School, where we were high school sweethearts. We just liked the name “Harrison”. We also didn’t name him Harrison after Harrison Ford, although years later both Han Solo and Indiana Jones would become heroes of his. We didn’t name him after George Harrison or William Henry Harrison. We didn’t name him Harrison so we could call him “Harry” after The Boy Who Lived, although Harrison has toyed with the idea of wearing his reading glasses more so he’ll more closely resemble Harry Potter. Really, we just liked the name. All those other things are just happy coincidences. In fact, shortly after he was born I started referring to baby Harrison as “Harold.” It just seemed like a cute name for a bald little baby. I still call him Harold more than I call him Harrison.
I don’t mean to sound disloyal to Harrison High School, of course. I had just about as much school spirit as the next guy. I was always a little suspicious of school spirit, though. I wanted our football team to do well (I’m not sure if HHS had other sports or not) because I knew they practiced very hard and I wanted both the team and the marching band to go to the Silverdome. I never was quite convinced that winning a football game made Harrison a better school or made me somehow superior to students at other schools, but I played along. Playing along, though, never got to the point of leading cheers. Although I was drum major of the marching band, I’m not really a “cheer” guy, so I was happy to delegate the role of leading band cheers to other more enthusiastic (read: fun) members of the band.
I did lead the band in playing the Harrison Fight Song a lot. Now collegiate sports fans may point out that the Harrison Fight Song is extremely similar to “Go! U Northwestern“, the fight song of Northwestern Polytechnics University in Fremont, CA. However, the Harrison Fight Song is completely different, having lyrics that clearly refer to the Harrison Hawks and not to the Polytecnic Protons. I’ve forgotten most of the lyrics, but I remember this much:
“Go, Harrison Hawks, Go! Fight with all your might!
We will have a victory, afternoon or . . . [something]”
I found myself thinking about all this lately while watching Harrison (the boy) play basketball. Sarah and I were with friends on the sideline (is that what you call it in basketball?) shouting “Go Harrison!” and it occurred to me we sounded like we were back in high school. Well, Sarah did. I was still maintaining my mature, reserved persona that is frankly more appropriate now than it was when I was seventeen years old.
I found myself standing there next to the basketball field and thinking about how deprived poor Harrison is destined to be. While I will manage an occasional, inconspicuous “Go Harrison” now and then, I’m just not going to be one of those parents who shouts encouragement throughout the game, yells at the refs, or jumps up and down with enthusiasm every time they shoot a touchdown.
Then it hit me: I don’t NEED to cheer. Due to our fortunate choice of names for the boy, he has generations of cheering sections ready to encourage him as he takes to the basketball gridiron. Just as I delegated leading the cheers back in high school, maybe I can delegate that task now. I mean how many kids have a fight song, a mascot, a cheering section, and cheerleaders with cheers already prepared?
So what do you say, fun people with whom I went to high school? Do you feel like cheering on Harrison one more time? He has a basketball fundamentals class today, and he could really use some encouragement with his field goals.