Last night was Future Scorpions Night at the Oakland Mills High School Football game. The bands from Oakland Mills Middle and Lake Elkhorn Middle joined the Oakland Mills High School band for the evening. Since Margo was there playing tuba, my husband and I attended our first OMHS football game.
I don't hang around with high school kids much. Preschoolers are my specialty, so I am sometimes apprehensive when approaching events with this age group.
What struck me about last night was how much it was like the small-town Indiana experience where my nephews went to school. Although their tiny town was almost exclusively white, and Oakland Mills is much more racially diverse, the experience was much the same: seeing friends on a Friday night, buying and eating snacks, calling out to passing aquaintances, even watching a bit of the game. So this is that Friday Night Lights experience people talk about.
The big difference between the Indiana crowd and the Oakland Mills crowd came at half time. In Indiana, the marching band experience is almost a religion. In Oakland Mills, the kids are rushing out to buy snacks and have a walk-around, not staying in the stands to enjoy the band. As a musician, I just can't figure this one out. Ah, well.
So you're waiting for the shocking revelation. Well, here goes: Every OMHS student I came in contact with last night used good manners. Every. Single. One. Passing, ooching, scooting by to get a seat, reaching around, going up and down the steps--good manners.
Please, thank you, excuse me, I'm sorry, pardon me. Genuine good manners.
You weren't expecting that, were you? I wasn't, either. I mean, I don't know what I was expecting, other than general rowdiness, but the overall tone was pretty impressive.
Oakland Mills takes a lot of abuse for being the wrong side of town in Columbia. It sometimes feels as though it would be a full time job to take it on, to beat back the detractors comment by comment. And it probably isn't worth it. But last night, when unsupervised by parents or teachers, a whole bunch of (racially and ethnically diverse) Oakland Mills students were just plain nice kids. As a community, we should be proud of that.
Oh, and we lost the game. But, since I came to see the band, I didn't feel too bad.