High School Reunions

Last weekend was my High School reunion.  I’m not going to say which one it was because it’s noneyabidness but it was long enough ago that we’ve all mellowed a bit.  Or at least we now have the funds to bail ourselves out if things get too out of hand.  I always attend these with mixed feelings because my high school years were not those of 90210, Glee or Gilmore Girls and most certainly not like Gossip Girls!  High School was difficult for me.  I didn’t fit in in many ways, wasn’t a jock or a Cheerio, light years away from a brainiac, I’d skipped a grade so I was a year younger than everyone, didn’t have an older sibling to help pave the way, went to a parochial school instead of a public school.  Nothing really to make my transition to this awkward time any easier.

My freshman year was the year the school board decided to move the 9th grade from the middle school to the high school.  As a result there were about 850 new students, freshman and sophomores, trying to navigate our way into the “big leagues”.  You’d think that would make it easier since over half the school was new but not for me.  Everyone seemed to know each other already since they’d been fed from the middle school.  I stumbled through the first year but didn’t really find my friends until the next group of freshman came in and I started hanging out with them.  Guess I just needed to be with people my age instead of grade.

Because of this, whenever a reunion approaches I’m not struck with the overwhelming desire revisit the memories.  I wasn’t very close to my classmates and haven’t really maintained attachments post graduation.  I went out of state for college and never resided near my hometown.

Having said that, I’ve attended each one.  I sometimes scratch my head over my desire to reconnect but I still spent some very important time with these people.  We had the same experiences, teachers and memories.  Maybe it’s sadistic of me to attend but I’m really curious as to where my peers lives have taken them.  I know I’m a far cry from who I was during high school and I wonder if others evolved as well.  And that seemed to be the case at least among the attendees.  The essence of who they were in high school was still there but it was so much fuller and fascinating.  There were quite a few people like myself that were embarking on their second careers.  Others that were raising families in various stages and ages.  But everyone seemed very happy to be there and really interested in finding out about everyone else.  The cliques seemed to vanish…FINALLY!  Of course we only had a small percentage attend so maybe I’m not getting a full picture of the class.  But I left that evening with a fonder filter with which to remember my school years and school mates.  Oh, and really sore feet.  Fabby looking shoes but oh the price I paid!

From Worst to First

I don’t know if you heard about it, but the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup Finals a few days ago.  I know, it’s old news.  But in Chicago, where we don’t have much to cheer about athletically these days, the celebration lives on.  The players have been all over town with that massive cup and many a true and bandwagon fan has been able to touch or even drink out of the cup.  All I can think of when I hear that is all the germs that are living on it.  EWWWW.  But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t take a swig if given the opportunity.  After all, I wasn’t even born the last time this team took the cup and the only other team I can say that about is the Cubs.  With a 102 year drought, I don’t think I’ll ever catch their record.  Anywho, one of the things that’s come up is the fact that only 5 years ago, the Chicago Blackhawks were rated the worst team in the NHL.  Dead last.  And in 5 short years, the franchise did a dramatic turnaround that touched all areas of their organization from the top down.  The first big thing that happened was the elder Wirtz retired and passed the leadership on to first his son Peter and then to Rocky who runs it now.  The new generation had a different way of operating that was greatly needed.  Fans had been ignored, games not televised, star players dealt away or cast away, new talent recruitment was non existent.  It was clear changes had to be made.  Difficult changes.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy to tell Dad that his way of doing things was no longer the way of the Blackhawks.  Family dinners had to have been fun.  But time marches on and if you don’t evolve and reinvent, you become irrelevant.  Change is never easy but if you don’t ask yourself why you are doing the same thing the same way over and over, you run the risk of getting stuck in a rut and not staying cutting edge.  Turning around an entrenched organization must have been a monumental task but look at the rewards the Blackhawks reaped for doing so.  It all started with the thinking at the top.  This type of reversal can happen to any organization, company or person.  You just have to start at the top.