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BLUE BOMBER VOICES: Red, white, blue, gold come together at class reunion

October 19, 2018
By AMY CHENEY-SEYMOUR , Lake Placid News

This past weekend, I had the surreal experience of attending my 30th class reunion from the Saranac Lake High School, an evening spent with recognizable strangers. One discussion went as follows with an old classmate, Fred.

"Wait, you teach at Lake Placid High School?"

" Yes."

"Working for the enemy, huh? Ha ha, and your kids are at Saranac Lake?"

"One graduated, one sophomore."

"I can't believe you are with teenagers all day long. Hey, wait, were your kids mad at you when you went to Lake Placid?"

"Nope, but apparently you are?"

"Well, I mean, Lake Placid? Your kids do sports, who do you cheer for when they play the enemy?" chortle, chortle, nudge.

There are many faculty, staff and administrators in both districts who cross the tracks and spend their careers working for the neighboring school district. Many of us have children that compete in athletics and the small town rivalry is fierce, but so are the friendships.

If you were you to watch an LP vs SL track meet you would see mingling of the masses, as many of the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake student-athletes train together in club sports, participated in drama together or have traveled to national championships together. That said, when it is go time, both schools are gunning for the win, or frequently hurling at finish line. Then they stand up, wipe off their face, and congratulate their competition. In the past, and currently we have successful blended SLP teams, including last years girl's hockey team.

You will hear the parents from both towns excitedly making a spectacle of themselves (guilty as charged) yelling incoherent and encouraging phrases at any athlete they recognize from either team. Last year my son commented after a ski race, "Well, that lady from Lake Placid in the orange hat who always yells at me to ski FASTER wasn't at the race today, I almost didn't finish!"

Too soft for you? Afraid that everyone gets a trophy? No, not quite. This generation has one up on us, they have abolished the antiquated animosity fueled by eight, long miles and now they just compete. They know how to bring it, without wasting (too much) emotional energy randomly loathing a friend they never met. Sure, there is bitter disappointment at the loss, or exuberant cheering at the victory, but they have the maturity to be friends and competitors.

Is there a difference between red and white and blue and gold? I am fortunate enough to have worked in both districts, and not to disappoint you, but no. Both communities have a longstanding tradition of pride in sports and academics, both have recent multiple Olympians like Tim Burke, Annalies Cook, Bill Demong, from SL and Haley Johnson, Lowell Bailey, and Jim Shea from LP. Guess what? The majority of that crew trained and competed against each other in high school, and then spent the next 25 years competing on a world stage.

I tried to explain some of this to Fred, that times have, yes, changed. I was unsuccessful as apparently he was having some high school flashbacks.

"You know, it is different now, there is not the unfounded grudge between SL and LP.

"Yeah, sure there isn't," he said with an eye roll. "They are still teenagers."

Teenager is an expansive noun covering an incredible range of characteristics, regardless of geography or mascot. The students at LPCSD are as intelligent, personable, and hard working as their counterparts across the tracks. SLCSD students are every bit as vivacious, hysterical and genuine as those in my building sporting blue and gold. They are also teenagers, who have good days and bad weeks, need patience, fewer lectures, to be held accountable, and held in high regard.

"Hey," Fred yelled from across the room. "Who do you cheer for when SL plays LP?"

I am actually asked this question frequently, so I am glad he asked. I cheer for my own child's team first, but root for everyone.

(Amy Cheney-Seymour is a Lake Placid High School teacher who lives in Saranac Lake. This year, she is teaching 9th grade English on a temporary basis while Karyssa Merrihew is out on maternity leave - for the first semester. She also taught 10th grade English for two years ago while Amy Spicer was out on maternity leave. Otherwise, she is a teaching assistant working in the special education program. "She is smart and talented, so we are happy to have her wherever we can use her," said LPCS Superintendent Roger Catania.)

 
 
 

 

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