Martin: Nothing beats Rider-Old High week

Stacie+Martin+standing+in+front+of+the+No.+1+sign+in+the+back+of+her+classroom.

Sheridan Allen

Stacie Martin standing in front of the No. 1 sign in the back of her classroom.

Stacie Martin, Guest Columnist

While I am certain that every school in the state of Texas has an arch-rival that it meets yearly and that school celebrates a homecoming of epic proportion, I cannot imagine that any of those celebrations come close to the S. H. Rider High School rivalry week experience. 

To understand rivalry week, you have to know the history. In 1961, Wichita Falls High saw the birth of its future rival. I am certain they were not impressed. Rider High with its district school code number 02 would never enjoy the “status” of being first. We were not “THE High School” as they named themselves. We were just plain old Rider, the new guy that nobody wanted. 

As time progressed Rider developed its swagger and we started calling them “The OLD high school.” (Isn’t it funny that they now identify by an insult?)

As time and fate would have it, our nemesis’ status gave way to the two upstart high school campuses in town. With nods to Hirschi for their competitive spirit against us both, it has to be said there really isn’t a tri-campus rivalry in Wichita Falls. It is the clash between the mighty titans of RHS and WFHS that have defined this community.  

Newsflash… A bond election is on the near horizon. The board wishes to “retire” all three high schools in town and give the district “fresh start.”  Rider, Hirschi and Old High and all that they represent are to be wiped away for Senior Class ‘25.

My ROHO heart seizes at the possibility. The thought of losing this place and something this special is particularly scary this year for this old Raider. 

Why? I have many reasons, but one is easiest to articulate. No one does spirit like Rider. On Friday, Mum Day will be declared and the voices of our diverse population of Raiders will fall silent. 

We might hear the band play the fight song in the morning to magnify the spirit of silence. We will hear footsteps and the swish of a few mum ribbons and bells. No other school does “mum” day. 

We stand alone as One Family united in the solidarity of silence only broken by the spirit bell. No one but a Rider Raider can really understand the feeling. Sixty years of intense Raider spirit captured in one event.

To the Seniors ’21,  you will get no parade, no Happening, no class breakfast, no live pep rally where you get to shout “who are we,” but you will get your final Mum Day. You have been an excellent class and deserve more. Cherish this time with your friends and hold onto the memories that made your S.H. Rider experience special. OFOT. 

Juniors and sophomores – While COVID spoiled much of the festivities, the games remain. Go ROHO. Beat Coyotes. 

Freshmen – in four years, you could be the last Rider senior class. Make your mark by carrying forth the traditions with the best of your efforts. Be Legendary! Enjoy the moment when you belonged fully to something that was greater than yourself. Don’t disappoint the Raiders that preceded you.

In loss or victory, Ride On.