Big Bone Royalty: Then and Now
November 24, 2014
Big Bone season is just around the corner. Why not kick it off with some royalty insider info? Lion Tales was able to get in touch with several Big Bone kings and queens from the graduating classes of 2014 all the way back to 1968.
The Big Bone, as most of you already know, is an annual football game between the Lincoln Lions and our rivals, the San Jose High Bulldogs. Usually, it’s always Lincoln that tends to win. The Big Bone first received its name when a student brought a wishbone from his dad’s butcher shop to serve as the ‘trophy’ for the winner. In the days before the game there is the Big Bone Ball, also known as Homecoming, which Lincoln shares with San Jose High. Ironic for rivals, right? This year will mark the 72nd annual Big Bone football game.
The Queen of ‘68, Suki Nakamoto, said, “the Varsity football team made the nominations back then. I remember feeling it was such a high honor to have just been nominated.” She went on to say, “Nothing could have complimented me more. I remember looking through the ‘67 yearbook; the Big Bone queen was Pattee Becker. Pattee was very popular and beautiful. And I’m thinking how great it must be to be chosen Big Bone Queen, not realizing it could actually happen to me.”
In 1968 there was no Big Bone King. Nakamoto said, “In my year, I assumed that the Varsity Captain represented the King because the Big Bone Queen got to go to the dance with the Varsity Captain. It just so happened that my boyfriend back then was the Varsity Captain, Jim Boland.”
Nakamoto was part of the GAA (Girls Athletic Association) in her sophomore and junior years. She was also a Spring Pom Pom Cheerleader for the Varsity Basketball team.
Back in ‘68, the Big Bone Ball was not as formal as one might think. “I just remember wearing a nice dinner dress,” said Nakamoto. “As I looked back at previous yearbooks, it didn’t appear to be formal then either.”
Twenty six years later, in 1994, Glenda Avila had the privilege of being elected Big Bone Queen. Avila said, “To be honest, I was surprised. I had no idea my name was placed for nomination. I was in disbelief that I won and felt really honored.”
Avila also discussed the perks of being nominated, “I got extra special treatment from the teachers and staff. I was required to conduct myself in a responsible manner. I was a role model of the school; it felt really good. I was in the parade and driven around on the float. The Big Bone game was so much fun. It was my 1st time on the field during a football game. That was very exciting and scary at the same time. I was afraid to fall or trip in front of everyone who were in the stands watching. My court’s picture was in the main hall all year long. Being Queen grew my popularity even more. People I didn’t know, knew me. Even kids from different schools knew me. Lots of new friends and well-wishers.”
In ‘94, the Queen and King were still driven around on top of the Big Bone float, but now we just have the king and queen standing on the track alongside the princes and princesses.
Winning Big Bone Queen brought its fair share of drama. Avila said, “Drama I never knew could exist came about. Students rumored that I cheated by adding more votes to the ballot box. It was also said, how did I win? I wasn’t even on the cheer team. I was running up against… Blonde, blue eyes and a size 0. After a while, I started to question it too. I would say to myself, how did I win? I wasn’t skinny, I was a size 11-12 in high school. The king was my good friend since Trace Elementary. His girlfriend was so jealous. She and her friends didn’t ‘like me’ and started to give me nasty looks every chance they could. It made me think, wow, is this for real or is someone playing a joke on me? I didn’t want any more drama so I went to the office to turn down the title.”
Avila’s decision to turn down the title was met with opposition, though. “All of my friends and the school staff convinced me not to. I won the title fair and square,” she said. “It was the best decision not to turn down the title. Such a great learning experience. Not everyone will like you and not everyone will be happy for you. But you do what is best for you and you can only make yourself happy… It made me a better person and I learned from it.”
Now, moving 18 years forward, the King of 2013, Carlos Reyes, said, “I felt pretty cool but didn’t think much of it; when I won, I didn’t really react, I just kind of was like ‘oh wow, pretty cool.’” Reyes was part of Leadership, so he “tried to be friends with everyone.”
Queen of 2013, Hannah Pham, said, “Being a part of the nomination to be royal was already a huge honor because of the fact a teacher/staff/administrator had recognized me for my potential and decided that I should have the opportunity to represent my school.”
Pham was very active throughout her years at Lincoln. She played volleyball, basketball, and participated in track and field. She was also part of LHD, Habitat for Humanity New Orleans, and Leadership Academy. Participating in school activities made Pham well-known around campus.
She described her experience as surprising yet suspenseful. “Everyone all turned their heads and ran towards me and hugged me. With my limited arm length I managed to hug twenty others!” Pham said, “It was a memorable experience I had in high school.”
With the royalty we spoke to, we were able to recognize a theme, friendship and kindness. Carlos Reyes, Hannah Pham, and Glenda Avila all said they tried to make friends with everyone. “I had friends in every class; from freshmen to seniors,” Avila said. “I made it a rule to value each friendship and never betray it. I always made sure not to create drama between anyone and keep drama away by all possible means.”
Pham offered advice to all Lincoln Lions. “Be kind and meet as many people as you can, everyone has different stories and it’s amazing to hear where they’ve come from. I was lucky enough to step outside my comfort zone and discover different things about people. Stay open-minded. You’re going to meet so many different people in life. It’s an opportunity I would encourage to take advantage of because not only do you learn from others but you learn about yourself. Yeah yeah, you all probably think I’m kind of cheesy inspirational now. But take my cheesy words into consideration!”
She added, “Join sports: they teach you to be mentally disciplined as you learn teamwork and work with others. Join clubs: great way to find connections with other students. Just join everything but at the same time, learn to juggle time for academics too.”
The students selected every year to be Lincoln Big Bone royalty are those to be looked up to, those who are leaders and set a good example for future Lincoln Lions.