Yesterday was the first “home” game we had attended for Addie’s cheering. Nevada is a fairly depressed little town. I’ve told this story before but when we moved there, Chad had just graduated from high school and you know the attitude that goes along with being 18. We drove from Owensboro, Kentucky; spent one night in Paducah, KY because I had to drop off quilts for a book. Then we drove to Springfield, MO and spent a couple of nights there, waiting for the movers to arrive in Nevada with our belongings.
The entire way from Kentucky to far southwestern MO, Vince was in front in the old red pickup, that was old but 15 years newer than it is today. I was in the middle driving the CRV and Chad was behind driving his Mazda. Chad and I had phones. Vince didn’t have a phone. He and I had walki talkies. Vince would buzz me on the walki talki and then Chad would call “What did he want?” Chad would call me on the phone, Vince would buzz me and say “What did he want?” I was definitely in the middle!
We stopped to get gas as soon as we got to Nevada. Chad came sailing out of his car and said .. in that 18 year old voice that drips . . you stupid people . . “Tell me this is NOT where we’re moving . . tell me we’re just stopping here to get gas!” Nope, this is your new home! And little did he know, it would become probably his forever home.
He was so unhappy with us for moving there, but had been for several years. He was going to college in Pittsburg, KS so he wasn’t going to be in Nevada that much.
As it turned out, he met Nicole whose parents, grandparents, great grandparents – generations on her dad’s side have called Nevada home. Chad has friends there, people he can count on, people who care about him. I doubt he ever leaves.
Anyway, we had been to one of Addie’s games in Webb City and one in Carl Junction. Both are places where a lot of people who work in Joplin reside and the houses, for the most part are nice. The football stadiums at both schools were pretty high class.
In Brownwood, where we had lived, the high school shared a stadium with a college there, Howard Payne, and it was definitely a first class stadium.
We got to the Nevada stadium yesterday and Vince said “This is sad!” I didn’t see it as sad. Honestly, I’m in that small minority that feels like spending millions on high school stadiums is a waste. It’s tax money, paid by people who often are struggling to pay property taxes on their homes, taxes that go up every year, and I feel like education is one thing and while sports is important, I feel like there’s a disproportionate value placed on sports vs. education. Just my feelings.
As we were leaving, Vince said “Think of the kids who play here, then go to places like Webb City and see their stadiums. They must feel somewhat sad about their home stadium.”
I thought about it and, of course, Vince and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things but I see it as a learning lesson. IF someone felt like their stadium was inferior, I hope they would see that working hard, getting an education or learning a trade (which does NOT mean a college degree in all cases) and bettering yourself and your income, is a good way to help your community. Also, I would hope these kids wouldn’t drive by super nice houses, then go home and feel inferior if their own home is smaller or not as nice. And that’s the same thing. If you feel second class because someone’s stadium is bigger and better than yours, it stands to reason you’d feel the same way about homes.
It’s society . . and so many things have gone the wrong direction since I was growing up. We moved to southwest Louisiana when I was 5 and my parents had a home built. It was on the outskirts of town, not in a subdivision (my dad had peacocks, guineas, quail, rabbits . . we weren’t fancy subdivision material). We had 3 bedrooms, 1-1/2 baths and a 1 car carport. Looking back, both my best friends lived in nice subdivisions. Both had bigger houses, both had two car garages with doors that closed. Never once did I feel inferior to them. Never once did I feel like we had less. I always thought of us as equals. I think they all felt the same way.
I told Vince that I respect an area like Nevada who has kept their stadium small and basic and not raised the property taxes on people who struggle to pay them.
Even when Chad was in school, not wearing the right brand of clothes brought shaming and ridicule. Why do people do that? Why do people have to make someone else look small to make themselves look good?
So many of the people in Nevada have lived there all their lives – parents, grandparents, great grandparents. I hope they’re proud of what they have, proud of their stadium and I hope they all do their best to succeed in life and, at some point, I hope they all realize that if having bigger and better means being in debt . . do not do it.
It really makes me sad to think that some kids could go to other stadiums and feel bad about their own home stadium. The school I attended was a small school but back then, no one had stadiums that rival the professional stadiums. Most everyone I knew who attended our school thought our school was the best; our stadium was the best but most of all . . WE were the best.
How do we get back to that? How do we get away from I’m better than you?
Who would have thought a trip to a ball game would have brought on all these thoughts?