You know I really don’t get it. These kids work so hard, and instead of praise they are left with the last few scraps of a holiday dinner.
I’ve seen them out there at 5 in the morning and 10 at night. I’ve seen them on Halloween and Memorial Day. I’ve seen them running laps around the school because some sports team took the stadium from them when it was rightfully theirs, but instead of bitching about it they said “it’s time to get stronger”.
I’ve heard them talk about themselves. They really think they’re nothing special. They have heard what we all have to say about how easy what they do is. They use to shout in protest but soon realized we had already turned around to cheer on the ball game.
They speak in this secret language of fermatas and thirty second notes and dot books and subsets, but we seem to have translated the word crescendo into ‘worthless’.
I hear the football team talk about them. ‘I can’t believe the school gives them all that money, I mean they just come to play at our games!’ and I want to scream at the top of my very lungs that they do so much more than ride a bus and perform at half-time. I wanted to smash some sense into their heads. I want for just one second for everyone to see the stigma they had created.
But I wouldn’t. Who would listen? Who would stop to hear that every summer they wake up at 4 am and work until 11 pm to perfect 12 minutes? Who would stop to care that 100 kids struggle to wear their uniforms every year because they are falling apart at the seams, but the soccer team buys new ones every year?
Why is it that when 100 kids run across a field they earn respect, but when 100 kids run across a field with metal in their hands they earn malice and laughter?
Look at them. Look how amazing they are. Look how hard they work with what little they are given. Look at how they still take pride in the broken puzzle of a program the school board dishes out to them every year.
For God’s sake, just look at them.