Pep Rally: Prepping for the Big Day

Braving the misty drizzle, Phillips Academy students, faculty and alumni flocked to Phelps Stadium for the annual Andover/Exeter pep rally this past Friday. Amid the cheers of psyched seniors, the pep rally began with a performance by Andover’s Drumline, opening announcements made by Mr. Efinger and scenes of our Blue Key Heads antagonizing Exeter’s “Red Bandits.” The Blue Key Heads would continue to bring smiles to the countless faces in the crowd during a series of skits counting down the “Top Five Reasons to Go to Exeter.” Among these reasons was: the “active” social life—illustrated by Thor Shannon ’09 as an Exie telling riveting tales such as: “One time when I was six, I played in the sandbox, and there was a rock.” However, it wasn’t entirely up to the Blue Key Heads to entertain—the six varsity teams that performed skits did more than enough to hold the audience’s attention. Girls Volleyball lined up on the turf, their T-shirts spelling out the word “undefeated.” The whole team then began a spirited dance to MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This,” with Megan McCafferty ’10 conducting the dance train. The Girls Cross Country team then sprinted out onto the field, some carrying leaves, some in Andover track uniforms and some dressed as Exeter runners. After half of the Cross Country team formed a line representing the Sanctuary, the Andover runners ran effortlessly through—while the Exeter runners wheezed their way to the start line and were chased off the fictional course by Andover students posing as trees. Boys Soccer stalked onto the field in navy hoods, and as “Everybody Dance Now” began to blast throughout the stadium, the team launched into a carefully choreographed dance routine. The skit ended with a pink bear jumping through a hula-hoop—only to be tackled by the Andover soccer team. Annie Pates ’10 said her favorite skit was Boys Soccer, “followed closely by Girls Volleyball because they were all synchronized; it was really funny.” Andover’s Varsity Field Hockey team made it clear that their team “warms up a little differently.” The team rushed the field, got into formation and performed “Everywhere We Go,” a memorable cheer from Remember the Titans. Girls Soccer, clad in black from head to toe with neon bands tied around their arms or legs danced to the song “I’m a Gummy Bear,” amusing the crowd by walking like Egyptians and doing the Macarena. Last, but certainly not least, Boys Varsity Football made a simple, concise, heartfelt speech asking the crowd for their support for Saturday’s game. After the football team walked off the field, the stadium went dark, and a fireworks display dazzled the audience. As the opening beats of “We Are the Champions” sounded, the Class of 2009 began to cheer — and their enthusiasm was infectious. Soon, Phelps Stadium was filled with the sounds of Andover students singing along to Queen’s hit track in addition to “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel and “Time to Pretend” by MGMT. Despite the overwhelmingly raucous cheers of Andover’s current student body, during the entirety of the show the faint chant of “Oh-eight, oh-eight oh-eight oh-eight…” infiltrated the stadium, the recent grads reciting the refrain all together one last time, having returned for the weekend. This year’s pep rally was held outside, unlike last year. “There’s a definite difference between being outside in the football stadium and being inside in the gym,” said Blue Key Head Nadine Khan ’09. “Nothing compares to having it outside, especially when you’re going to end it with fireworks. It makes the whole night; it gets kids pumped — like ‘this is where it’s going to happen.’” “I thought the pep rally was really fun,” said Katie McLean ’12. “I loved all the excitement; everyone was so into it. It had great energy and really got everyone pumped.” “I’m so glad it went so well,” said Khan. “[The class of] ’09 definitely cheered the loudest.” This small display of “class warfare” aside, this year’s pep rally did a truly excellent job of uniting the Andover community in pursuit of a single goal: wrecking Exeter.