Working at a college it's easy to occasionally feel jaded about "the youth of America." You see a lot of things. Some good, some... not so much. On days when your friend comes back from lunching outside on a picnic table looking exhausted, then admits she sat near a very rowdy, vocally demonstrative, impolite crowd who used 4 letter words so liberally it's all she remembered - for example. Stories like that leave me wondering if it's just age or something more.
Then there's the guy I met last night.
Just outside the gym we had set up a table of pizza and sodas for those who came to see the 2nd Annual Faculty and Staff Volleyball Game - the employees play each other, then play our women's team. Their second season starts this Friday night. A young man, "C", was chatting amiably as we poured something to drink and I introduced myself. He offered his hand to shake mine, and we shared a natural moment of comfortable banter. He's a basketball player; our men's basketball team is beginning their second season, too. Did I mention we have a brand new athletics program? Just then his coach walked by. "Did you meet Melody? She works with the booster club." "C" nodded at me, and answered his coach who continued on to wherever he'd been going. The player looked at me with genuine appreciation, eyes a little wider. There was nothing affected in his tone as he said, "That's great. We really appreciate everything you do."
I was taken back to that article I wrote for the foundation's newsletter a few weeks back, about the importance of our athletics program and of supporting their booster club. That minute with our basketball player? Made me believe every word I wrote.