Sunday, April 6, 2008

Congrats Lynn and Happy Birthday Jesus!

OK now that I have your attention...

For starters, yes, April 6th is believed by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be the actual date of Christ's birth in Bethlehem, though you will find little obervances of it anywhere in the Church. We still celebrate Christmas along with everyone else, even though we recognize that December 25 is not his actual date of birth. I think this falls into "spirit of the law" vs. "letter of the law," as it's not so much when we celebrate his birth but more that we do celebrate and remember it. Christmas is so much a part of world culture, it just makes sense to celebrate it then along with everyone else. Mormons aren't unique in our view of Christ being born on days other than December 25th as it is relatively common knowledge nowadays that the date of Christmas was fixed in December in the early Christian Church (earliest records show it sometime in the 3rd century AD) in order to replace the pagan winter solstice holiday that existed near then (the winter solstice is around December 21). In the LDS (Mormon) Church today, April 6th being the actual birthdate is more of a trivia answer than anything, though it is significant in the early history of the Church. April 6, 1830 was the day the Church was officially organized in Fayette Township, New York, near Waterloo. It is also the day the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated in 1893. The Church's annual General Conference is held on or near April 6th as well every year and then six months later in October (semi-annual conference). We just finished conference for April today, and it was a little different since it is the first conference with a new Prophet (Thomas S. Monson) and an entirely new First Presidency, plus a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was a wonderful conference and a historic one at that with all the changes.

On a totally different note, I had a great experience last night with my Ridinger side of the family. My aunt Lynn was formally inducted into the Kent City Schools Hall of Fame along with nine others from the 2007 and 2008 classes. It all got started over four years ago when my mom was talking to Roosevelt activities director Emma Owen (Lynn's former high school field hockey coach) about nominating Lynn. It certainly wasn't an overnight process. My sister Becky took the lead in it (mostly by default as she was still at Roosevelt when the whole process started). She kept at it, doing some behind the scenes research on Lynn's career both at and after Roosevelt. My part was limited as I did some "undercover" work getting information straight from Lynn herself to include in the bio. Lynn's name had been in the nomination process a few times, but she did not make it to the "final round" until 2007, so it was during last summer that Becky was writing the paper about her and I did my covert questioning (I'd make a great spy!). We found out some time in June I think that Lynn had received the nomination and we were both thrilled, of course! The induction ceremonies are done now on a two-year basis, so Lynn was inducted in 2007, but the formal ceremony included both 2007 and 2008. The dinner before and the dessert after was wonderful (better have been for $35 a ticket!) and the ceremony itself was a lot of fun with Coach Nemec being the MC. He was hillarious.

Lynn was inducted along with nine other honorees, six of whom are still alive. All have accomplished great things during and/or since their days in Kent and almost all are graduates of Roosevelt. I found it interesting that most of the honorees mentioned how the Kent community played a key role in their development and ultimate success. It certainly made me wonder what Kent would be like if more of our success stories were still in the community or returned. It's a great place to raise a family and go to college, but in between there is little that keeps the post-college graduates and pre-settled family people here, so many leave and settle elsewhere in nearby or distant communities, in search of a good job and/or a more active lifestyle that fits them better. That seems to be a problem throughout the state that we have a problem keeping our younger people, particularly in my age group.

Anyway, the whole process of getting Lynn nominated actually originated with my mom several years ago. We always knew that Lynn was the first female athlete in school history to receive a full-ride scholarship to a division I school (Central Michigan University), so we figured that would be a good place to start. We got the ball rolling by talking to Emma Owen, the current activities director at Roosevelt (retiring this year) and Lynn's former field hockey coach. I remember the initial talk about that, but I dodn't remember exactly when it was. In any case, by the time it actually started getting serious with paperwork and the like, Becky was the only one left at Roosevelt, so she became the default ring leader of the nomination process. It didn't seem to get serious until this past summer, 2007, when Lynn made it to the "final round" so Becky had to write up a longer paper detailing Lynn's accomplishments. This involved some research from Grandma and Grandpa Ridinger and what was at the house, as well as my part in the "undercover operation" where I asked Lynn some stuff without her having any idea as to why I was asking, other than me being me. It worked perfectly and she made the cut for the class of 2007, which we found out after a rehearsal in Kirtland for the show we did last summer. In researching Lynn's accomplishments, we also discovered many things we didn't know, like how she coached a gold-medal winning team at the 1983 National Junior Olympics.

Notes on pictures: 1. Katie and me with Lynn in front of the Hall of Fame after the ceremony on April 5th at Roosevelt High School in Kent; 2. Lynn giving her acceptance speech with her display at the ceremony; 3. Record-Courier page which had short bios on each of the inductees; 4. Record-Courier article in the April 7th issue about the ceremony.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

AH! I miss you lots!! When I do come home, not sure when that will be I want to see you're handsome face!! And BTW, I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!