A/E Pep Rally Skits Face Review For Tonight’s Performance

Cindy Efinger, Director of Student Activities, and Blue Key Heads screened varsity team skits last Sunday for their appropriateness in tonight’s Andover/Exeter pep rally, following in line with this fall’s administrative decision to judge skits prior to performance. Riley Gardner ’10, Blue Key Head, said that each team had 10 minutes to present a five-minute skit, with a majority of the team present. Nathalie Sun ’10, Blue Key Head, said no skits had to undergo significant change after the review. She added that if teams had been unwilling to cooperate, Efinger and the Blue Key Heads would have cut their skits from the rally. “We want all of the teams to be in the skits. We’re just trying to find a compromise,” said Sun. Gardner said, “Most of the teams knew what we were expecting.” Gardner added that a number of inappropriate dance moves were changed during the review process. Sara Alban ’10, Blue Key Head, said that the reviews were very relaxed. “Cindy [Efinger] gave a really intimidating speech in the beginning for each team about not changing their skits, but then it wasn’t intimidating after that,” Alban said. Gardner added, “I was excited to be able to preview the skits. It wasn’t particularly fun, but it wasn’t a scary experience at all.” “The hardest part was scheduling, but we tried to be flexible with the teams because we know [reviewing skits is] a new arrangement,” said Gardner. If teams missed their time slot, they had a chance to preview their skits at a later time. The Boys Varsity Soccer Team missed their initial time slot. Garnet Hathaway ’10, Co-Captain of the Soccer Team, wrote in an email, “It took [our team] a while to finalize a skit, and we were fortunate enough to be given a second chance for a previewing session.” Bobby Vardaro ’10, Co-Captain of the Varsity Football Team and Co-Head of the Andover Athletic Council, said that his team had to show Efinger and the Blue Key Heads the music and dance moves that the football team would be using for their skit. According to Gardner and Alban, the Boys Varsity Water Polo Team and the Boys Cross Country Team chose not to participate in the pep rally. As of press time, the pep rally was scheduled to be held at Phelps Stadium, but it may be rained out. Charlie Walters ’10, Blue Key Head, said he wanted to move the rally to the gym if it rains. Mike Kuta, Director of Athletics, said that if it rains, the pep rally might be held in the gym, but he would prefer if the school held it in Smith Center. “When [the Smith Center] was transformed from a dining hall to a community multifunctional space, one of the thoughts was to put the social functions in there as well as testing and alumni events. The pep rally fits into this category well,” Kuta said. “I really think the Smith Center would be a cool place to [hold the pep rally],” Kuta added. Kuta said that using the Smith Center for social functions and standardized testing should preserve and elongate the lifespan of the gym floor. Paul Murphy, Dean of Students and Residential Life, announced that skits would be subject to prior review after he originally considered canceling them altogether earlier this term, as previously reported in The Phillipian. Murphy, along with Efinger, Kuta, and the Blue Key Heads all discussed this decision. Murphy sent out an email including his guidelines for the skits in the week following his decision to allow the skits to continue. While writing the pep rally guidelines, Murphy gave the Blue Key Heads a chance to contribute. “They had a chance to chime in and say if something was good or not good,” said Murphy. According to Murphy, this document was sent to the Blue Key Heads and the Athletic Advisory Board, which is composed of team captains. Murphy wrote in the pep rally guidelines, “This is a community event and, as such, all skits must be suitable for any members of the community from young children to students and parents to older relatives who may be present to support the teams.” A number of the guidelines listed involved promoting positive energy. For example, one guideline stated, “Team skits must promote the players on the team enthusiastically.” Another stated, “Team skits must motivate the spectators to cheer for our teams and not against Exeter.” Another major topic included in the guidelines was lewd behavior. According to the document, team skits must not have sexual displays or include any offensive language, including in music. Teams were also required not to single out younger players in any way, a form of hazing. Murphy also prepared in case “a team performs a skit different than the one performed at the rehearsal and that does not meet the decency standards of the school.” If this happens, the document instructs Blue Key Heads to immediately shut down the skit in the moment. “If a team performs a skit in this manner, the team will not be allowed to perform during the following year’s pep rally,” Murphy wrote. If teams disrespect the guidelines, Murphy said including skits in future pep rallies will come under review again. According to Gardner, there is also a possibility of disciplinary action for teams that do not follow the specific guidelines. Sun said, “We don’t think [the skits] will be a problem. [The pep rally’s] going to be fun. We’ve got some tricks up our sleeves.”