Today was one of those days, one that you look forward to, yet dread, all at the same time. Today was the date of the annual United Way Red Feather football game. Ever since the concepts inception, the words Red Feather have become synonomous with the United Way and football. The games are hosted each year by the United Way of London and Middlesex to raise money for their annual fall campaign. Each year, it seems that the games grow in exposure and profitability. However, with this increased notoriety comes a certain price. It seems that as an event grows, so do its problems. Each year students, parents and teachers look forward to the United Way football games, as an opportunity to cultivate the kind of school spirit that seems to be lost to the sands of time. As each game passes, new marketing ploys are developed, promotions are tabled and every possible attempt is made to make each year better than the one before. Unfortunately, as these valiant attempts are made, an equally powerful force is at work. One with relatively harmless intentions, but the ability to cast a shadow upon the hard work of others. The force at work is a small army that could be named the soldiers of selfishness. It seems that this small minority has the ability to overshadow the general feeling of spirit created at this event. The people that I am talking about are the ones that feel it necessary to cause problems that we would all rather not deal with. Problems such as drinking, streaking and overall stupidity that are all too often boiled down to “kids will be kids” or more commonly “boys will be boys.” These concepts are justified by willing participants under the false pretenses of fun, excitement, spirit and camaraderie. If you ask me, these activities can be explained by a common problem; lack of self-confidence. It says something about a person when they feel as though the must outrageously display their assumed personality to the world in hopes of being accepted. These people say that they are just having fun, however, this behavior is nothing but a cry for help. A cry that echoes from person to person until it finally settles upon another equally insecure individual. One who hears their own voice in the cry; causing them to seek refuge amongst the criers. I do not resent those who cry, however I do wish that we could hear the cry for what it really is, a call for attention; attention that is not deserved.
That being said, it is up to us to make sure that these localized lapses in judgement do not have a greater impact than the largely positive messages being sent through Red Feather. School spirit, support for the community and excitment are all generate by this event. Such displays of school spirit are not nearly as common as they once were. Gone, are the days of packed sidelines for after school football games and school to school rivalries. These traditions have been lost. The busy lives of today’s students make it impossible for such displays of school spirit to occur on a regular basis. Red Feather is a chance to throw back to the good old days and show everyone that we haven’t forgotten what true school spirit is. The biggest positive that can be taken from Red Feather is the contribution that high schools across London make to the United Way. Our school alone will be making a contribution of approximately $2500.00 in support of the United Way campaign. This is only the start as a months worth of fundraising activities are already planned so that Oakridge Secondary School can once again rein supreme in support of the United Way!