Thompson Reynolds Stadium

It could be renamed Mitchell Shaw Stadium. It was there that I started falling in love with my man, Mike. He marched the bass drum our senior year in highschool. If the grass had not been recently covered in astroturf what might it tell us this many years later?

It was there that I also graduated from highschool. We were told to keep our dresses shorter than the graduation gown and if it fell below the hem we must tape it up. I purposely wore a hot pink dress and it hung very low beneath the hem of my gown. I also wore black patent shoes with bright pink flowers on them (remember it was 1990). I was determined that my parents would find me among the sea of 293 royal blue caps and gowns.

I also ate some humble pie at that stadium. I ran track in 9th grade. I received a complement one day as I ran around that field… “If you just spread your arms like this wide I bet you would fly”… that same week I fell during the 440 relay race. I was the third leg on that team and as I passed off to the final leg my spikes didn’t work… I basically “ate the track” as another friend put it. How did I possilby go from flying to planting my face in the track? Not a good memory.

I also proved myself in the field of battle at that stadium. Twenty years ago I traded the spikes for a sequined uniform. I received an alternate spot on the majorette line… there were 8 places on the field and two alternates. One of the gals decided to move on and did not serve another marching season; we were down one person and the band directors simply couldn’t work with 7 spots. It had to be an even number, so 6 were written into the drill. The assistant band director brought me into his office.

Here is the visual: I would be singing the words to the song we’d march to rather than counting. I had terrible rhythm and just stayed confused most of the time. The other alternate was a year older, had some rhythm, was skinnier and prettier and well, let’s just say if this was American Idol I knew I was getting voted off. What happened next shaped my life forever.

“The reason you are in here today is because you have a fair shot at this spot. It can only go to one of you and the group thinks you have potential. I know what I am looking for and I am going to decide in a few weeks… are you willing to work hard and give this your best shot even if that means you aren’t chosen anyway?”

I said what any southern born and bred 14 year old girl would say to their elders, “Yes sir.” I realize now I had already passed the first test. Commiting and going head to head with the older alternate carried with it some high stakes that I had to live with until she graduated. I knew what I wanted, the spot on the field was my desired result. With a smaller skill set but a determined result in place I knew I would figure out the way to get there. I managed to figure this out: Commitment + mechanism = results. I’m glad I did it anyway.

He later chose me for the spot and it came down to one thing… attitude. Here’s what I will always remember, what he shared with me back then on that football field:

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

About Shelley

Live well Laugh often Love much
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