Homecoming in 2019
By Jim McEntyre
Seems like my life is steaming full circle, or nearly so. My son and his family live in Redondo Beach. His daughter, Hannah, is my son’s oldest child and my oldest grandchild. She’s now a junior at RUHS. Listening to her talk about classes and friends and teachers reminds me greatly of similar conversations in my years at Costa, which sometimes opens up wormholes to long dormant memories.
Hannah works at a higher level than I did during my time as a high school student. She's a straight A student, even while taking 3 AP classes, as she’s also in her third year of a foreign language class, Chinese. Wow! I only remember Spanish and, I think, Latin, at Mira Costa.
The impetus for this note comes from last Friday night, November 1, 2019, when I experienced a kind of Deja vu of my years wandering the corridors at Costa. Hanna asked me if I'd like to go with her to the last football game of the season. It was Homecoming and Redondo was playing Mira Costa at Costa. Hannah, thoughtful as usual, decided I might enjoy going to the game with her since it was being played at my old school. Neither she nor I had any idea how much I would enjoy what turned out to be wonderful reverse time travel for me.
The game was fun and more than a little interesting. I'm absolutely certain I attended the Costa Homecoming game against RUHS 60 years ago, although I don't recall where it was played or the final score. Of special interest to me was that the MCHS football stadium appeared to be identical to the stadium we all sat in 60 years ago. I mean, I very carefully looked for changes, but the only thing I could find which looked different was the field grass, which seemed too perfect and may have been replaced with something artificial. The little cement-block announcers booth in the center-top of the stands is still just as funky as it ever was, but the old wooden ladder leading up to the videographers platform on the roof has given way to an aluminum extension ladder. Oh yeah, instead of 16mm game film being shot for coaches up on the roof, the game was digitally videotaped, otherwise still the same. The field lighting looks identical and those big steel poles still block views of the field from some seats.
Costa is midway through construction of a huge new "Sports Complex",
which begins near the west of the football field and surrounding track.
Hopefully they've set some money aside to
replace the old scoreboard that somehow still functions and is just as
inadequate as it was back in 1960. The new complex is scheduled to open
in September 2020. Why does that date ring a bell with me? (editor's note: that's the month of the 60th class reunion.)
Back to the game. The youthful energy on the field was awesome and it wasn't immediately clear who would win. The game was quite close at halftime. In the second half, our green and gold buried RUHS, and even second-team players scored, for a final score of 35 to 14. From my inexpert vantage point, the players on both teams appeared to be just as skilled, but if enthusiasm were to determine the winner, the game would have been a tie. Wish I could say the referees were awesome, but I can't. Still, the game was good and fun.
I walked around during half-time (sadly missing the Costa half-time show) and enjoyed seeing the MCHS and RUHS youngsters having essentially the same sort of fun times we all enjoyed at games and dances, except with smart phones in their hands. Something different, though, was that a significant number of very large guys were standing around together (taking up a lot of room!), all of whom were decked out in MCHS letterman’s jackets. Those guys were really large, XXL or XXXL jacket-size large! A closer look revealed that they were men who obviously had played ball at Costa many years ago, yet they were still strongly connected to Mira Costa and the teams they played on. Interesting, and I think very nice.
After the game, while walking towards my car in the student parking lot, I paid more attention to the classrooms and other school buildings. There are no more of the one story buildings we remember at Costa. Most buildings are two story with at least one large building being three stories or more. Walking around the campus at night was discouraged, so I'll have to see the interior of that amazing new campus another time. If we can swing it, a campus tour during the September 2020 reunion would be great.
One last thing. My old parking place in the student parking lot was gone. Actually, everything that was in that lot 59 years ago is gone, replaced by a new student lot built in place of the old. I didn't know parking lots wore out and needed to be replaced. In any case,, not only was the new parking area larger, but every parking place was covered and lighted. It was very nice to note that those new parking canopies supported a large bank of very green solar panels.
Seeing the Mustangs play the Seahawks Friday night was a wonderful experience. In spite of all the years that have rolled on by since my last homecoming game at Costa, even though brick and mortar may have been changed, I sense that very little of substance has changed in the essence of MCHS. I think it's still an excellent place where young minds can grow without limit in what still appears to be a safe environment. And from what Hannah has said about RUHS, they're on the very same track as well.
I love circling back in life with the advantage of a little bit of wisdom. Like Yogi Berra said, “It’s Deja vu all over again”.
-Jim McEntyre, Class of ‘60