|Front of a yellow school bus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
After summer is abruptly interrupted by the start of another school year, an almost imperceptible change occurs as students go to classes and daylight hours grow too short for lingering outside. Besides, there is homework to be done and the new television season to sample. Tree leaves turn from green to a myriad splash of yellows, reds, oranges, and eventually, brown. Another summer gone as fall signals the end of another year.
But first comes football season. As in small towns all across America, Everett High School in Maryville, Tennessee is all about football. The cheerleaders lead the student body in pep rallies during home room period. It's all about the game on Friday night for most of the students. Well, except for the non-sports-minded students like me. I never got into football or any sports for that matter. It just wasn't my thing.
My sister thought that I should go to the games and become more involved. Maybe find a girlfriend. I would have liked that too, but going to the football game didn't seem like the way that I would have wanted to do it.
When we hear that there is an away game scheduled in Cleveland, Tennessee some 80 miles away, I figure maybe this would be a time to go to a game. I've got a friend living in Cleveland whom I can meet up with. I call to make arrangements to meet up with him. He's glad to hear this and so am I. Secretly I'm hoping to see a girl who I had met over the summer when I stayed in Cleveland for a couple of weeks with my friend.
On the Friday of the game, my sister and I are dropped off at the school by my mother in order to join the others who will be taking the bus ride to Cleveland. It's one of the yellow school buses that take students to and from school every day. Now a caravan of yellow buses will be taking a small army of Everett High students to the rival team's field.
There's not much I can remember about the night other than I met up with my friend. There was a crispness in the air with a faint smell of burning leaves wafting about. An enticing aroma of popcorn and hot dogs emanated from the refreshment stand. We get snacks and hang out around the bleachers. I hardly watch the game and neither does my friend since like me he doesn't seem to be much into football. Maybe that's why we feel a kinship. After the game we said our good-byes and parted ways.
It's a lonely bus ride home. I don't really have any friends who have gone to the game. I sit by the window gazing out at the darkened landscape passing by. I didn't see the girl I had hoped I would see at the game. And truth be told I hadn't really expected to see her. She probably had no idea that she'd even met me back in the summer.
My mind starts wandering as I wish I had a girl to sit with on the bus ride home. As I often do when I'm lost in my own thoughts, I begin composing a song in my head and my imaginary voice begins to sing, "It's so lonely in the back of the bus." That's the only line in the song for now but I sing it over and over in my head. Not a bad song I think to myself.
I don't remember much more about that night except that song which I can still sing those repeated lines, "It's so lonely in the back of the bus...It's so lonely in the back of the bus." In fact that's the only football game I remember going to. Never a home game. No more football games after that.
Did you go to the sporting events at your school? Did you ever ride the bus to the away games? What is your favorite fall high school memory?