Thursday, August 18, 2011
The Town I Live In: Fullerton Union High School
The mascot of Fullerton Union High School is the Indian. I remember, around my junior year, there was some discussion of changing the mascot. Some people thought it offensive to take the name of a people group who has been historically oppressed as a mascot. It would be like calling ourselves the FUHS Blacks or the FUHS Jews or the FUHS Mexicans. But the mascot stayed, and remains the Indian to this day.
Fullerton Union High School is over 100 years old. For years, each senior class has made a “time capsule” and buried it under the placard of their graduating year, along a cement walkway. During my senior year, we were allowed to make recommendations of what to put in the time capsule. I thought it would be funny to put perishable food in the time capsule, like a ham sandwich or a dozen eggs. So, 50 years later, when people opened our time capsule they would be like, “Oh God! What’s that smell?!”
I had no interest in joining ASB (associated student body) in high school. From an outsider’s perspepective, it seemed like they spent most of their time making posters for events that did not interest me.
Freshman year of high school, I was 5’2” and weighed 90 pounds. But I was the only freshman I knew with a letterman jacket. It was for cross country. I was a fast runner. Nobody came to cross country meets except a few parents.
My size notwithstanding, I had little interest in the popular sports like football and basketball—sports people actually wanted, even paid, to watch. To me, those sports required a level of aggressiveness I found a little disturbing.
But I wore my letterman jacket with pride, even when it was a hot day, even though the jacket was a little big on me. I guess maybe I was trying to make some kind of statement. Or maybe I was just an insecure freshman and thought the letterman jacket would afford me a certain respect. It didn’t really. Nobody cared about cross country.
My dad always said that when I ran, it looked effortless. But he was wrong. Running fast for a long time required great effort and pain. What makes for a good cross country runner is the ability to hold inside, to be okay with, a certain level of effort and pain for longer than the average person is willing to hold inside or be okay with or even watch.