Monday, June 29, 2009

Homage to Michael Jackson

Friday night my husband came home from work, flipped through his old vinyl collection, and found Michael Jackson's Thriller album so we could pay homage to The King of Pop. We reminisced about various MJ-related memories, and he once again teased me about my poor musical tastes in high school (I should never have confessed my love of "Caribbean Queen" to him early in our relationship!). 

And then came the song: "Beat It."

Whoosh! The time machine of my memory swept me back to 1983, into my high school gym, at drill team tryouts, right as the kick routine started. 

Okay, here's a little backstory. Despite the fact that my dance training ended with fourth grade ballet, I decided that being a Reno High Huskiette would be really fun. Oh, and my mom was the drill team coach. 

Coaches are really busy during drill team tryouts. And easily distracted. I made the mistake of sounding too vague while asking her a question in front of a group of senior Huskiettes (hey, I was super nervous). Somehow my mom got the idea that I was having some kind of menstrual emergency and handed me two quarters! Exasperated, I gave up, slipped the quarters into the tiny pocket in my nylon shorts and sat on the bleachers waiting for my turn.

Three of us wanna-be Huskiettes stood on the gleaming wood floor to do the kick routine portion of tryouts. The now overly-familiar thump of "Beat It" commenced. I held my arms out, unsuccessfully trying not to flap like a chicken, and kicked like a show-girl, okay, maybe not so much. Clink. Clink. Kick. Clink. Clink. Kick. The quarters chimed in with each lift of my leg.

A few hours later when the Huskiettes passed out roses to the girls who made the team, I still harbored a tiny bit of hope (kind of like the hope that Thane Fisher would finally notice me).

I didn't receive a rose. And my mom thought the whole quarter debacle was hilarious. At least she took me out for a non-celebratory dinner.

The story has a happy, with-hard-work-you-can-do-anything kind of ending. I did make the team the following year. That journey started with enrolling my curvy self in dance classes with prepubertal girls, but I'll save those tales for another time.

Anyway, I cannot hear "Beat It" without suffering through that kick routine all over again! 


  1. Hi Sydney! I came across your blog through your (great) interview on Cynsations. Congrats on your book coming out- I'll keep an eye out for it! It looks GREAT. I'm glad to be able to see your news on the blog...


    PS- oh, I can't seem to figure out how to post this comment with my blog ID! But this is Vicki, from last fall's SCBWI conference!

  2. Thanks so much, Vicki! Hope all is well with you (and I'll be watching for your book too!)

  3. That's really funny. I was expecting them to fly out of the pocket but clinking the whole way through, darn those quarters.