Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Perfect Evening at the Rink at Deerfield Academy

"It was one of the best nights of my life," my daughter said yesterday and her day began by showing up at 7:30AM to take the SATs. It was also a day that my husband and I attended a college counseling session (very well-done, I must say) at Deerfield Academy.

But last night will be a night we will long remember.

It was the night of the Choate vs. Deerfield hockey game at Deerfield and these two prep schools are historically big rivals. Also, our daughter had been asked (it was suggested as early as last year) to skate during the second period break and she had received permission from U.S. Figure Skating to put on a performance.

We had entered the rink (honestly) to the smell of bacon cooking outside in single digit temperatures (Deerfield folks will understand) and one could hear the cheering from the fans outside.

I have never been at an event at which there was so much school spirit -- it was truly extraordinary to experience and so much fun -- from the students jumping in unison in the bleachers to the hockey players being high fived going on and off the ice by other sports team members (I think -- lacrosse especially with notable enthusiasm) to fans of all ages from little kids to friends in wheelchairs. Some students were selling hot chocolate and everyone was so engaged!

My daughter's wonderful skating coach came to put her on the ice and to support her, as did her husband, who had been a youth hockey coach for years and is a graduate of the UMass School of Management, where I teach.

Luckily, my daughter's skating dress is green (Deerfield's school color with the motto -- Bleed Green) and she was welcomed with such cheers onto the ice. She skated with pure happiness (without even a warmup and on hockey ice) and the experience was simply fantastic.

If only all schools at all levels could engender such mutual support of their students with such tremendous school spirit -- think what the world could accomplish!

And Deerfield Academy beat Choate in overtime with a score of 4-3!

I have not yet read Amy Chua's book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, but even my daughter's English class got to read Janet Maslin's review of it in the New York Times last week. From the experience that so many of us had last night it is clear to me that children can succeed and have a fabulous time on their journeys as children with the support of their schools and the community cheering them on!

Above I have posted some photos from last night's game that capture the spirit and the fun of the event.

I would also like to add that Choate played extraordinarily well and the game was a heart-stopper!

Thanks to all concerned -- from the terrific coaches to the extraordinary teachers, the truly kind and thoughtful staff, and the wonderful administrators as well as to the super students -- for the fantastic memories! The hockey refs even high-fived my daughter when she finished her program!