THE PASSING OF THE PEKIN _ _ _ _ _ _
BY THE LATE JAMES CADAGIN 1925-2014
FORMER TEACHER AT PCHS
Prologue - now listen carefully young folk and you shall hear
of a dastardly act which occurred one year
it was in the spring of nineteen-seventy-eight
and left some local folks just short of hate
and missing one thing about which they could cheer
There once was a large group of people who were called an unusual name
which was spoken most everywhere, so widespread was its fame;
back then there was a special ceremony, one of a long-standing tradition,
which was unceremoniously relegated to the Chinese province of perdition.
A noteworthy pair - a boy and a girl - walked out on the basketball floor,
they were both arrayed in beautiful clothes - reminiscent of oriental lore;
meanwhile, the band played a background tune, one with an appropriate name,
and everyone watched the tableau unfold, just prior to the start of the game.
The couple presented flowers to a visitor and then bowed low from their waists,
it was a gesture of good sportsmanship and was performed in good taste;
of course, not all of the tribe were athletes, some were long-gone from their school,
but each tribe member felt it was an honor and all thought it to be very cool.
Then an important contest was telecast - a state basketball title had been won,
and just three short years later, the phenomenon was to be gloriously redone;
the _ _ _ _ _ _ were as joyous as could be and a ten-year interval was too short,
when lo! from the east a vocal group said of the name _ _ _ _ _ _ ABORT!
The Chinese-Americans came to Pekin to change the habits of those living here,
High-school students and the Mayor, from their nicknames, were asked to veer;
his Honor kind of smiled in their faces, the Student Council questioned 'their' name
and they departed the scene without results - it was an exercise slowly going lame.
The students were proud of their _ _ _ _ _ _, the community thought they were great,
and most of the populace sincerely hoped that the turmoil would quickly abate;
just a few years went by when the Chinese-Americans returned to Pekin
and once again, the abolition of the name _ _ _ _ _ _ they were a seekin'.
But, a leader of men, a legend in his own mind, from the park ridges up north,
took up their challenge without fear or trepidation and bravely set forth;
this 'leader' of men was quite different and thankfully, was difficult to get to know,
he was fair of skin and thinning of hair and was at the epicenter of his own show.
He said to the members of his BORED: "we've got to end this terrible aberration -
you see, it's not only politically incorrect - but we've got to think of our reputation";
All the members of his BORED didn't agree with him but they let him carry their ball
and so, eventually, it came to pass that the name _ _ _ _ _ _ really did fall.
Then, after the storm had subsided
and the DRAGON seemed here to stay,
the 'leader' boxed up his 'clock collection'
and left this brief-stop along his way.
Epilogue - so now the _ _ _ _ _ _ that we once loved
are but memories which we hold dear.
They have been replaced by a DRAGON
which other teams now so hatefully fear.
We also love him dearly, but
somehow, it's not quite the same;
and there's a lot more to this story
than just the change of a name.
Personal - during my fifty-some years here in Pekin,
which in time is but a mere blink
I would say to each of you very plainly
yet with a soft smile and a definite wink;
that I was very proud to have been thought of as a Pekin _ _ _ _ _!
CHINK & CHINKLETTE CEREMONY
The Chink & Chinklette Ceremony was performed at every Pekin High home Varsity Basketball game for a great many years. During the last twenty-four years of its existence, the event was conducted as follows:
About five minutes prior to the start of the varsity basketball game, and, as the Pekin High cheerleaders finished their last pre-game cheer, the public address announcer spoke to the crowd, saying:
"At this time, ladies and gentlemen, Pekin Community High School is proud to present once again the famous CHINK & CHINKLETTE CEREMONY. Coming to the center of the court are Pekin High's own Chink and Chinklette to welcome a representative from _____________ in a display of good sportsmanship between the two schools competing here tonight. Let's all give them a big hand folks."
The Chink and Chinklette met the visitor in the center of the court, bowed low from their waists, introduced themselves to the visitor, and presented her with a flower symbolizing peace and friendship. They then escorted her to the visitor's area, met the other visitors, (generally cheerleaders), and left the floor to very enthusiastic applause by the spectators gathered there.
The ceremony was brief, pleasant, and carried off with a friendly approach by the two student representatives from Pekin High who considered it an honor to have been selected for their participation in this event as unofficial ambassadors of their school and community.
James Cadagin 1925-2014
1981: The Pekin Chinks high school team became the Pekin Dragons