A student speaker at my high school graduation said something that has stuck with me for the last 15 years. Given the time that has passed, I am sure to be paraphrasing, but generally speaking, he said: “You aren’t going to remember the time you got an A- on Mr. Malone’s physics test. You won’t remember the time you checked in on-time and went to bed the night before a regular Tuesday of classes….What you will remember is the time you skipped Monday night dinner and walked to Romeo’s (the local pizza place) with your friends. You’ll remember the time you snuck out of the dorm for senior prank night. And you’ll remember the time you broke a rule, and either got caught or didn’t, and made a lifelong memory, forged in the crucible of fun.”
My life now finds me in the position of dorm parent, teacher, and coach, and I have had to consider these words carefully. DISCLAIMER: In all of my official Solebury capacities, I do not condone the breaking of rules. I do not suggest that Solebury students will have no positive memories within the bounds of everyday fun. But what I do suggest is that the crucible that has created so many amazing moments in my time at Solebury is the very same one that forged my most distinct memories in my own school years and beyond: fun.
There are many things that those of us who are part of the residential community at Solebury have missed during Covid. What I miss the most is the sometimes chaotic, sometimes well organized, always uniquely Solebury, fun in Walter Lamb Hall. I miss random weeknight board games in the dorm. I miss the sometimes ill-fated prank wars that occur (were any of you here for the mad TP prankster?!..No?!...I’m getting old). I miss the semi-regular burning of some food item in the Walter Lamb kitchen and the subsequent panic to try not to set off the fire alarm. I miss the organized chaos of dorm jobs. And I especially miss the Walter Lamb Foosball League (WLFL).
Some people might be surprised to learn that the WLFL was actually founded spontaneously as we sought to transform a night of boredom into fun in 2015. The iconic table soccer game that has little to no bearing on my everyday life suddenly became a way of life. The initially ironic, but then oh so real level of enthusiasm for the league is one of the things that is simply hard to replicate in the Covid world. However, something I must remind myself is: it will be back. The WLFL will be back in the (hopefully) near future. Steve Buteux will be back to defend his title as the reigning defensive player of the year. Young upstart players from the 2020 WLFL will return to seek their revenge on their league rivals. Random board game nights will be back. Pranks gone wrong will be back (don’t look behind the framed photo at the top of the WL Hall stairs. Long story, but a science experiment involving duct tape and a question about its ability to hold up a human...I’ve said too much). Burning things in the kitchen will…well, hopefully not that one, but you get my point.
It is natural during Covid to feel a sense of loss because we weren’t able to engage in the typical shenanigans and allegedly ironic enthusiasm surrounding boarding traditions that make Solebury such a fun place to be. However, with spring around the corner and the virus on the decline, these traditions will be back! I would invite those of you who are seniors this year, and those who graduated in 2020 to take the lessons you’ve learned here and bring the fun to your new communities in the future. Invite the people around you to let their hair down, try something new, and get completely wrapped up in something that does not matter at all except in that moment. Be the creators and facilitators of fun wherever you go, and you’re sure to find happiness, make friends, and forge memories that will be with you for a lifetime.