A Haines Movie to Remember
If they ever make another movie in Haines (aside from a ski or snowboard film, that is.) It should have a scene like the one yesterday at the ferry terminal welcoming the team home. One where you can't see the mountains or even the inlet because of the heavy wet snow. Hundreds of people should be standing in the slushy parking lot, or waiting in cars and trucks with green balloons tied to the door handles. The high school band should be playing, no matter that the snow is falling on their music stands. The ferry should be late, so the wait is even longer. There should be a fire truck, too. And babies and old people and big dogs and little dogs and a few confused heli-skiers who later will get their picture taken in front of the Glacier Bears banner. Then, when the ferry appears in the fog and snow off the end of the dock, the fire truck sirens must blare, and the band play the school song, and some of the horns honk. (Most everyone should step out of the cars to greet the boys.) The fans then will line up on either side of the dock ramp and cheer, and wait. A few cars should drive off and be cheered by the crowd as a kind of practice, a few passengers from out of town will look worried and duck to the side. Then, finally, the Haines Glacier Bears state championship basketball team walks up, smiling and goofy, in funny green sunglasses and T-shirts and jeans and sneakers. One boy holds a little sign that says Haines Glacier Bears. They must all be young, and kind of small. They should not look like the heroes they obviously are. They should look like happy boys. The coaches too, do not look the part. They should be a small man and woman and look like the parents and chaperones they also are. Then everyone needs to cheer, and the band has to play some more, and lots of people will cry and smile because they are so happy. There are hugs from mothers and handshakes from old guys in caps, and then the team gets on the fire truck and the school kids climb back in the bus, and everyone drives the snowy road to town with balloons blowing off the cars and popping in the slush. Instead of going straight to the school, the convoy turns down Main Street. There should be a We Love Our Glacier Bears banner between light poles. Also, home made signs and green balloons and a lot of people lining the snowy street. Some guys should be standing up on the fire escapes of the tallest building in town. At the rally in the school the superintendent will wear a green mohawk wig and praise the team for the victory and for their hard work and sportsmanship. The coach will say what good boys the players are, and praise their hard work and ability to do what they have to do to win a game and play like a team. They were not the best team on paper, he will say, but they are on the court. The principal will take the microphone and say that integrity is what you do when no one is watching, but that is not always easy to see. Then she will say that our team showed integrity when everyone in Alaska was watching, and that, in many ways, is much harder. Then the mayor, dressed in the school mascot bear suit, will take off the bear head and say "it is hot in there," and that she has never been prouder to be a Haines High alumna. She'll give the coaches the key to the city. Of course, everyone else from first graders to grandmas must stand and cheer. Then, and this is the best part, the principal has to say that there is lunch for the team in the cafeteria, and that they must turn in the homework they were responsible for during the trip to Anchorage before they can be dismissed for the day. Then she will say Gunalcheesh. (Which is thank you in Tlingit.)
Then you sigh, and say a quiet thank you for all of it.