In Thursday’s Chapel, in front of a student body decked out in themes of rockets, road crews, and a range of SNL characters, I offered my top-ten reasons for loving Spirit Week:
#10—I get to wear my Gumby tie that features a green and white Gumby raising his hands to signal another Hilltopper touchdown.
#9—It inspires exceptional displays of school spirit, like it did for our Creative Director Diego Melendez who was behind the idea for the green lights in the Colby Bell Tower so the entire community, including all the traffic on I-91, can see our school pride.
#8—We get to walk down the middle of Main Street, making as much noise as we want, then set a fire on campus, and not get in trouble—in fact, we get a free pizza party afterwards.
#7— We get to wear temporary green tattoos all over our bodies (and get some for beloved pets as well!) and, thanks to designer Erin Hudson, we get to wear the coolest long sleeve t-shirts in the Kingdom.
#6—We get to watch the Freshman skit and be grateful that we are no longer Freshmen.
#5—We get to have a blast watching the sophomores send Maroon to the Moon.
#4—We get join the construction crew as the juniors Pave LI.
#3—We get to celebrate with the seniors as they have fun on Saturday Night LI-ve.
#2—We get the chance to beat the Vikings on our home turf in both field hockey and football.
#1—We get to see which class and which community has the most school spirit.
This last reason has become more and more the real reason to celebrate spirit week. As school choice has expanded, interschool and community partnerships have developed, and families find themselves—either through marriage or employment—divided in their loyalties, we continue to see this week and weekend, perhaps more than ever, as a cause for friendly community competition. The pride and enthusiasm that marks this historic rivalry is what made it one of the top four in the country according to USA Today. The days of vandalism and violence that sometimes marks rivalries have all but disappeared, replaced with a good-natured desire to show off what makes each community proud.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the special celebration happening this week as our track and field athletes come back to celebrate a reunion along with coaches Frey, Johnson, and Langmaid—who will be celebrating 25 years as an Academy coach. These athletes, many of whom played in The Game, will be our honored guests on Friday night in the parade and at halftime at The Game.
I hope you all get to enjoy at least part of the weekend and the spirit that makes this rivalry so great. Go Hilltoppers!!