Saturday, October 13, 2007

It's A Family Affair

Our family has had a decent showing at Wilson High School going way back almost to the very beginning when Wilson first opened its doors in 1935. My uncle, Nick Cokinos who graduated in 1939, was a running back on Wilson's inaugural football team in the fall of 1936 and helped win their first exhibition game against St Alban's in the pouring rain. The team had only one experienced player that year, but somehow managed to win two games before their lack of experience caught up with them later that season. Never one to be to be daunted, once Spring came, Nick picked up the baton and played baseball as well.

Leaping forward my brother Pete Cokinos was a Tiger in 1952, another big year for Wilson. The football team had plenty of experience by now which brought them an undefeated season. Next they beat Western for the Inter-high Title which took them to Griffith Stadium in December. In front of a crowd of thousands, Wilson trounced St John's 24-6 for its one and only City Title.

(Go team.)

Pete Cokinos #37

And now daughter Zoe is a Wilson Tiger, too.

Thus the reunion of the champions of 1952 and the Homecoming game this year became a family reunion of sorts for us. Brother Pete drove in from Michigan, while my parents (Western), my sister (Wilson), and my daughter all dug up their green and white gear. We convened in the bleachers at a school which structurally hasn't changed much since 1952 although Chuck Brown wasn't playing over the PA during time outs back then.  The bleachers and the field are in the same place, but a new "press box" has been somewhat awkwardly erected, and everyone tripped over the footings.

Pete, and what was left of the team paraded out at half time.  Even a cheerleader was able to make it back. A lot may have changed over the years, but what hasn't changed is a stand full of kids cheering on their teams.

What has changed are the cheers and the cheer leaders. At one point a cheer war broke out complete with air horns. Not exactly sportsmanlike. And it didn't help us win either. Wilson was defeated 34-13. But winning isn't everything as the school motto goes: "Haec olim meninissee juvabit." ("In days to come, it will please us to remember this"-from Vergil's Aeneid)

Good thing Wilson still has a Latin teacher.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Sad State of Affairs


Not to beat a dead horse, but it just got up and walked around today when the story came out that Mayor Fenty fired the contractor for the Hardy Middle School renovation. I guess it's one of those bad news good news things. The bad news is that Hardy Middle School, formerly Gordon Junior High and my kids' alma mater, is a year behind and a gazillion dollars over budget. The good news? The contractor was fired, but I'd heard they were doing a good job whenever they could get out from under DC's bureaucracy.

The renovations were supposed to be done in stages while the students remained at the school, but with all the delays the decision was made in 2005 to move the entire population out to a swing space so that the project could be completed on time- within a year. My son graduated last June in the half vacant Hamilton School, and this year's class will certainly not be graduating in the new building either. The truth about the delays, I'm sure is in its usual position- nestled down just out of sight, somewhere in the neutral ground between all that finger pointing.

The thing is I still can't help -once again- but look across town to that new baseball stadium.
I love baseball as much as the next guy, but groundbreaking there was in May 2006- a long time after the Hardy project was well under way. Of course it's all politics... and economics and apples and oranges. But can someone explain how all that works to the children of this city?

(And when they are done, could they explain it to me?)

(Hardy' s Moving Day 2006)