This time of year, I’m a little envious of the moms, dads, aunts and grandmas I see in their Rattler Blue each Friday. As the mom of former drill team and band members, I know firsthand the juggling act of jobs, responsibilities and getting the kids where they need to be on game day. It’s a mixture of stress and excitement that I recall with great fondness!
As someone looking back 25-plus years, I hope those parents, friends and families appreciate that time in the moment, but I know they won’t. When you’re young, you’re told how fast time flies, how fast they grow, and you think “yeah, yeah” and you’re on to the next thing on the to-do list. But I’m not talking just about kids and time but also time and the friends who shared those experiences.
My memories are of a whole different color spectrum – the black and gold of the Big Bear Band and The Golden Brigade of Alief Hastings High School. We were a lively group of supporters and season ticket holders – my husband Bob and I and Bruce and Shirleen. Our little cheering section also included Ann and Tony, Sybil and Daniel and grandma Hattie. Bruce, Shirleen, Bob and I had kids on the field. Bruce and Shirleen’s son and daughter were both in the Big Bear Band, as was our youngest son. Our youngest daughter was in Brigade.
Ann, Tony, Sybil and Daniel were friends who loved the social aspects and the post-game meal fun as much as we did. Hattie was Shirleen’s mom and we never got lost no matter what stadium we were in because of Hattie’s “cloud” hair. She had this beautiful pouf of perfectly coiffed white hair that served as a beacon to our seats in the bleachers. Another directional finder was Bruce. At 6-foot plus, even sitting, between him and Hattie, our little cheering section was easy to find.
We ladies always wore our gold and black and the truth be told, football was secondary to watching our kids perform at halftime.
Just as our kids were acquiring driving privileges, we as parents were transitioning to freedom of our own. We relished our “adult” time with our postgame meal at places like Fry’s or some of the new eating establishments popping up on Westheimer Road. Back then on Westheimer, SH 6 and West Oaks Mall was pretty much the end of the line for finding a place to eat and we were excited with our growing list of options.
Fast-forward to today, of the four couples, three of us have lost our mate but the first to leave us was Hattie with her lovely cloud hair. She remained with us in spirit as we got those kids graduated and into the next phase of their lives and ours. I guess it’s a blessing not to be able to see into the future because when in the moment, you have “forever.” I loved those days and most everything about them and the sound of a high school band still tugs at the heartstrings.
As a postscript, we did attend some Texas A&M/UT games with our kids, but as parents and children, we were all moving on in life. We had some good memories there too, but for me none shine brighter than those of the Friday night lights!
Connie Clements is a freelance reporter and award-winning columnist. She writes feature news articles on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.