A Rite of Passage Passed

June17/ 2006

… I had not given it any thought until we walked into Holliday Gym at Needham Broughton High School on Saturday morning, June 11.  Kid Swagger was graduating from High School…. Was it going to be high jacked by the jackass faction determined to destroy the fabric and traditions that define America? …. Watching the Hurricanes win 2-1 to get within one game of “Lord Stanley’s Cup” I thought about the Florida Marlins, Chicago Cubs and Harry Reid. … Yes, a statement about JJ … Kid and BobLee kayak down alligator-infested rivers.

    Truly, I had not thought too much about Kid’s graduation ceremony itself.  I had long ago circled the calendar date of course to avoid being off gallivanting at some celebrity-ladened fete.  Needham Broughton High School has recently renovated its gym (aka The Gym Where Shavlik and Pistol Pete Played!) and would host its ceremony on-campus.  

   For some time Raleigh high schools have all held their ceremonies at the downtown Civic Center.  Thanks to a city council that denied citizens a voice, that controversial facility has been demolished in favor of a huge money pit into which many millions of tax dollars will die a resultsless death.  There are WORSE uses of tax dollars than “a new Civic & Convention Center” … like maybe a buggy whip factory or an 8-track tape manufacturing plant.  But the list is a short one. 

   Without the Civic Center, all the other high schools opted for “William Neal Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of North Carolina State University” (said in a Ray Reeves voice).  That fabled facility was not air-conditioned when Lou Pucillo, Monte Towe or Chris Corchiani played there … it still isn’t.  Broughton offered its air-conditioned gym to the other schools but was turned down because “there is too much purple and gold in it” … so grandmas and grandpas from Enloe, Sanderson, Millbrook, et al were keeling over in droves from heat prostration.  But not at our graduation ceremony.

   Tickets were scarce as hens’ teeth but we had our necessary three … Mizzus, moi, and Mizzus’ Mom (aka Kid’s one remaining living grandparent).  

   Kid has truly enjoyed her four high school years.  In four years she attended 0 football or basketball games, 1 prom, and 1 sports event at all (girls soccer state championship in Cary in 2005).  Not at all how I “did high school” but it worked for her.  

   Broughton is a public school … but not really.  One of North Carolina’s legendary “big high schools” along with Myers Park, Grimsley, RJ Reynolds, and New Hanover; it is 76 years old and, as Kid says, “looks like a real high school”.  Actually it looks like a small Ivy League college.  Located at the epi-center of Raleigh old-money section (aka “inside the beltline”) the alumni association for Broughton includes families whose names appear on street signs and on ceremonial plaques all over the area.  If you played the Broughton alma mater during Sunday brunch at Carolina Country Club, 75% of the room would stand up reverently.  As a result, “tradition matters” at Needham Broughton High School.

   With that background, my daughter’s high school graduation was exactly like I hoped it would be for her.  The gym was filled with proud parents and relatives well before the 10 AM start time.  The band (“symphony”) filed in at 9:45 and began tuning up.

   At promptly 10:00 “Pomp & Circumstance” began and 475 purple-robed and proud young people filed in led by the ROTC honor guard (YES, they carried their wooden rifles!).  “Pomp & Circumstance” is probably an old slave ship song or maybe a heterosexual Christian male drinking song … lets hope so … and it was played with gusto in Holliday Gym on Saturday morning.    

   We knew where Kid would be sitting so we grabbed bleacher seats adjacent to her row.  She spied us as soon as she sat down … and before the lump in her dad’s throat could be cleared.  I don’t “cry” but Kid is the one person who can always tell when I’m about to if, of courseI was ever prone to do so.  She saw “that look” in her Daddy’s eyes.

   Let it be noted that Kid was bedecked in just enough award sashes and achievement ropes and such to be fashionable … enough but not so many as to be gauche.

   There are no commencement speakers at Raleigh high school graduations.  Good thing.  Despite UNC being only 25 miles away, the list of approved crazed anarchists and godless losers is apparently not sufficient to supply all schools.  I have offered my services however!  Instead, student leaders give short comments praising students, faculty and parents.  One girl welled up talking about her dad … that was universally viewed as quite OK.  There was a short memorial tribute to a much-loved teacher who died suddenly during the year.

   It was about halfway thru these remarks that I got a sense of relief that “the jackass brigade” was not going to highjack this ceremony.  No Dixie Chicks song … no moment of silence for dear-departed Zarqawi … no mention of Ken Lay, and THANK GAWD no John Edwards campaign plug.  The Prince of Poverty is a Broughton benefactor.  True, there were no prayers or tributes to Jesse Helms either which was just fine.  We did sing God Bless America including the “God” parts, which was quite cool (wonder how long that will be allowed?). 

   Prior to the diploma distribution, Principal Teel made a nice request that “whooping” and other vocal celebratory exaltations from the audience be surpressed as names are called.  Apparently “whooping” is an involuntary reflex among African-American families as, despite his request, there was obligatory whoops from the audience when some black students’ names were called.

   Kid’s class had a number of Muslim kids and the Muslim girls were double-wrapped in their religious garb and the graduation robes.  Muslims don’t whoop … nor do Hispanics, if Saturday in Holliday Gym is any measure.

   There were 476 graduates in Kid’s class.  84% of them will be attending four-year colleges in September.  Three kids are joining the Marines.  No one is going to the NBA.  None received Lacrosse scholarships to Duke either.

   Earlier Mr Teel had warned the graduates not to fling their mortarboards into the air because … “there will be elderly people sitting nearby and their reflexes aren’t too good”.  True quote … gotta luv that Mr Teel.

   It was a very nice and very well organized ceremony completely devoid of any incidents that would mar the memory of this rite of passage.  Thank you Mr. Teel and thank you Broughton alumni for whom “tradition matters”.


   I watched Game Four of The Stanley Cup like most breathing Triangleites.  It was a nail biter and sets up the ‘Canes to claim “Lord Stanley’s Cup at The Canadian Bank Building on Wednesday.  I know what I am about to say is heresy but it’s true … Raleigh has not paid its due to deserve Lord Stanley’s Cup.  Raleigh winning such a sports icon is as bogus as Miami claiming two World Series titles.  

   This trophy should at least be shared with Hartford.  Cities like Buffalo have supported their team for multiple decades with no trophy … no big civic fete … no overblown municipal chest thumping.

   Chuck Kaiton deserves it.  Glen Wesley deserves it.  But a gaggle of Cary immigrants who make fun of Andy Griffith and who have never been pier fishing at Morehead simply don’t.


   The tin foil hat division of the Loony Liberal League held a Bush-hating bonfire in Washington the past few days.  Dingy Harry Reid told the assembled howler monkeys that George Bush was totally responsible for Hurricane “Alfredo” (!!!)… yes, it’s “Alberto” but if that’s what strikes you as bizarre about this pathetic nitwit Reid then you aren’t paying close attention.  

   I am not pleased with “the Bush Administration” on numerous counts.  But trying to objectively evaluate the likely leading loonies from the Left one can only draw two conclusions.  (1) the leaders of the loony Left are themselves quite insane … or (2) they know from past experience that their “base” has the collective IQ of pea gravel and will believe ANYTHING if it is screamed at them and contains the words “Bush %$#^”.   

   Shiittes and Suunies are way LESS dysfunctionasl than Dems and Repubs.


   JJ Redick was nailed on a DWI in Derm on Tuesday night.  The Idiot Nifong immediately offered to tear up the ticket of JJ would sign a “All Duke lacrosse players are very evil” statement that Nifong wrote for him.  JJ refused.  Nifong upped the offer to include Ho #2 on a silver platter with an apple in her mouth. … News of Redick’s predicament sent Franklin Street into an unauthorized street riot and Tar Heel message boards completely melted down. … The JJ News overshadowed “Tar Heel Baseballers Going To Omaha” which tells you something.


   As you read this on Wednesday AM, Kid and BobLee are kayaking down the Alligator River at Currituck.  We are spending some post-graduation R&R on the Outer Banks.  Chances are something worth reporting will happen … you will likely be among the first to know when it does.   


 Swagger’s Stumper

 What was The Lost Colony’s last word?


   The Saga of BobLee and The N&O moves right along.  Executive Editor Melanie Sill has invited yours truly to a “front page meeting” to meet the “outstanding people” who are responsible for what appears in their newspaper.  An exact date has not been selected.  Meanwhile I am taking politeness lessons from Ernest T. Bass … “Thank Yew, Mrs Wyleeee”.

   Laura Baugh was the LPGA’s blond bombshell before Jan Stephenson.

   Want to e-mail BobLee?

[email protected]

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