Posts Tagged With: Racine Lutheran High School

The Champions

March Madness. Last Saturday I drove up to Madison, Wisconsin, to watch basketball at the Kohl Center. No, I was not there for Badgers–I was there to see Racine Lutheran High School play in the Division 5 State Championship game. I had been hearing all year what a great team they had, and I was thrilled to actually be there to see my nephew, Ty Demuth, play.

The stories were true–the team played very well together, seamlessly passing the ball and working to get the shot. Though Racine Lutheran led throughout the game, the score remained close–and got too close in the last seconds. Just before the buzzer, Sheboygan Lutheran shot a three-pointer and won the game.

I now have a new appreciation for the term “stunned silence.” While cheers were exploding on the far side of the Kohl Center, we purple-clad Racine Lutheran fans stood in silent stupor. We watched our players, still scattered on the court, come to grips with what had just happened.

Nobody writes books or makes movies about the team that comes in second. But maybe we should. They played like champions, and were gracious in defeat. I wonder, too, if our character is not better defined by how we handle life’s disappointments, than how we handle the triumphs. The rejected manuscript. The lost job. The chronic illness. The broken relationship.

Ty was quoted in the Racine Journal Times after the game. “It’s a life lesson,” he said. “You know, we have challenges in our life and we’ve got to get over them. This is one of them.   “Soon, all will be back to normal and good and everything and we’ll be happy again. But this is a sad day.”

A bittersweet day, for sure. But Ty and the rest of the Racine Lutheran High are champions in my book.

Categories: When We're Not Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A Place on the Shelf

When Emily and I appeared at the Racine Lutheran High School Ladies’ Guild Harvest Fair, our Plank Road Summer book display was set up in an impressively renovated lobby which looked nothing like the entrance we remembered from our high school days. The RLHS Harvest Fair itself, on the other hand, seemed exactly the same–a gymnasium full of tables heaped with linens, books, craft items, baked goods, and the ever-popular “trash and treasure” selection in the corner.

During a break from book-signing, I wandered down a corridor in search of familiar flooring and fixtures. At the top of a stairwell I peered into the darkened classroom which had belonged to Mr. Adel. White-haired Mr. Adel, my ninth grade English teacher, was also the school librarian, and the little library adjoining his classroom became my favorite haven.

Mr. Adel recommended books and discussed them with me afterward. I set myself the ambitious goal of reading the entire fiction collection, beginning with Alcott and Austen and working my way through Zola.

Sophomore year I began writing a novel, an undertaking that cut into my reading time considerably. Faithful Mr. Adel read every word of the chapters I hammered out on my mother’s old manual typewriter. I knew exactly where my novel would be located on the Lutheran High library shelves; I could already picture the label FIC DEM on the spine.

While that unfinished novel is now in a box in my attic with other abandoned projects, the fact that a teacher took me seriously as a writer is a significant factor in my success today. Having Plank Road Summer on a shelf in a school library is sweeter than any display at Barnes & Noble. I think Mr. Adel would understand.

Categories: Childhood Memories, On Writing, Plank Road Summer book, Racine County | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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