Working on it
I struggled mightily in high school, both academically and socially. Moving to a new town during the first week of my freshman year was a massive shock to my system. I had to start over completely. First, I had to make a whole new set of friends. And to top it all off, I had to do so starting at the bottom of the high school totem pole. I was not equipped with the social skills to do so.
That’s what made Patrick Dempsey’s character so relatable. Eventually, I made a handful of friends; fellow social ladder bottom feeders who were either ignored in high school, or picked upon. Ronald Miller and his buddies had each other, and nothing else.
I often daydreamed of being popular in high school. I even tried to join the football team my junior year to increase my social status. Too skinny and too weak, that endeavor failed. Just like Ronald Miller, I would have done anything to be popular for my senior year. After his plan to date the captain of the cheer leading team was exposed, Ronald couldn’t even go back to his nerd group. He was permanently exiled.
In one of the last scenes in the movie, Kenny is tutoring cheerleader Patty in math, during lunch. One of the baseball team members, Quint, won’t stand for it. He thinks that Kenny is pulling a ‘Ronald McDonald Miller’ and is trying to buy his way up the high school social ladder. Quint immediately threatens Kenny if he doesn’t return to ‘his side’ of the cafeteria.
Though he and Kenneth are no longer friends, Ronald comes to his defense. Smashing the table with the bat, Ronald lets Quint know that he’s serious about breaking Quint’s pitching arm.
”We were all friends then, remember?” Ronald says to Quint, reminding him the last time he broke his arm.
Ronald makes a confession to Quint and to the entire high school watching the incident. He tells everyone that he tried to buy his way into the social elite, which was a complete mistake. Ronald then vouches for Kenneth’s character, stating that he would never do such a thing. Kenneth was genuinely trying to help Patty. Citing the shark tank that is high school, Ronald gives the bat to Quint, leaving the situation up to him, before walking away.
Quint, seeing the true actions of Kenneth, apologizes, and they shake hands. An understanding is had! And to top things off, the slow clap commences! Woo hoo!
Ronald has redeemed himself and has found a level of understanding with everyone in high school, something that is rarely ever achieved. He came full circle, but also gained a comfort level with where he was.