Mar 4, 2017

Pep Rallies

When I was in junior high, every Friday they forced us to go to the gym for a so-called "pep rally."

Cheerleaders (all girls) forced us to yell "Boy, am I enthused!", jump up and down, and scream as loud as we could.

The mascot danced and did gymnastic stunts.

Then we had to sing our fight song.  I still remember most of the words.

Our T-E-A-M is the best.
We will fight with all our M-I-G-H-T.
W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N, that's our school, all right.

There were pep rallies in high school and college, too.  They weren't required, but I went anyway, even though I had no intention of going to the game later.

I didn't understand the point of pep rallies.  If you liked sports, singing wouldn't make you like them more, and if you didn't like sports, singing wouldn't help.

Apparently they were recommended by educational authorities of the 1960s and 1970s.  Singing and stomping produces "cohesion," a sense of belonging to a group, and students with high cohesion work harder on their schoolwork, get better grades, and are less likely to drop out.

But I went to them for another reason altogether.

I hated the noise, the crowd, the shouting, and the bouncing pom-pom girls.  But it was all worth it when the team came on stage.

First the captain talked about how prepared they were and how much they planned to trounce their opponents.

Then they demonstrated their size and strength by doing push-ups, performing gymnastic stunts, or playing exhibition games of sports other than their own.

Football players would play basketball, basketball players would wrestle, baseball players would play volleyball.

There were lots of bulges and biceps on display, and sometimes players appeared shirtless.

Not very often, but often enough to build suspense and anticipation: would we see the jocks half-naked today?

When it happened, it was a golden moment, a lot better than actually going to a game.

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