Phillips Rivalry: A Fan’s Paradise

Andover-Exeter is a special and magical weekend. It is, after all, what attending Andover is all about. Even for those of us not competing, Andover-Exeter is a day, an event, unlike any other on the Phillips Academy calendar. As the blue hoards emerged from the buses Saturday into the snow and onto the Exeter campus, one of my friends reminded me that this was the reason why we actually chose Andover over Exeter. I swear, on the bus ride up, we did not pass more than two other people. Then, there is the snowfall up in the “boondocks.” A hard lump formed in the back of my throat as I watched my peers practically cling to one another as they made their way into the monolithic edifice that is the Exeter athletic facility. As we trudged towards the prison-looking building, it was not fear per se that made us cling or made my mouth dry. Instead, it was anticipation of the battles to come. Our anticipation would be replaced with excitement as soon as we walked into the first game: Boys Varsity Hockey. A contingent of faithful Andover crazies, led by Mac King ’05, Alex Lebow ’05, Nathan Kellogg ’05, and David Wilkinson ’05 had managed to obtain the Varsity boys’ rather fragrant home uniforms, and proudly wore them along with face designs from Braveheart. “Its funny how when those guys put on their uniforms and start hitting on the ice, they become our heroes,” said Geoff Miller ’05. The first period began slowly, ending 0-0. In the second period, Exeter managed to sneak one behind superstar goalie Cory Schneider ’04 and into the net. In the third, the Exies scored two more, with one coming on an open goal. With a mere one minute left to play, the five seniors who had led this team the past several years — Paul Chiozzi, John Doherty, Dean Boylan, Tom Kennedy, and Captain Drew Ward — took the ice. For those of us that had followed the team all season and cheered for them by name and by nick-name, it was a poignant gesture. “We stuck by our boys all season. We are proud of them even with the loss,” explained Lebow afterward. With heavy hearts, we headed back to the basketball courts for a final battle in the war of Andover-Exeter winter 2003. The Big Red dominated the fast-paced second half and came out victorious in yet another game. The agony of defeat appeared evident on everyone’s face. So while we were not victorious in every event this past Saturday, the Big Blue still consoled themselves knowing that there will always be next year. Andover-Exeter is the greatest weekend of sport on either campus. The rivalries are always there, no matter what. It truly is a fan’s paradise. Every game is hotly contested, the athletes’ emotions run high. Each basket, each face-off, and each second means something spectacular. Win or lose, it was Andover athletics at its best.