Blazer athletes rep their school against rivals
It's game day and the stadium lights glow as the Blazers stand ready to step onto their turf. Fans are stomping their feet in the stands, decked out in red and white, cheering for their team. Across the field, Northwood students stand equally excited, waiting for the first whistle. Each team wants to win - for the title, for their school, for the bragging rights and for the boulevard. Everyone knows that this match is much more than just another game: it's a battle.
Battle of the Boulevard
Every Blair v. Northwood game attracts the attention of students, teachers and coaches. Athletes train harder and play harder. Earlier this year, the boys' varsity soccer team took on Northwood and they knew that this win would be especially important. Junior Aaron Oke felt that they would need to play well in order to defeat the talented Northwood team. "We knew we had to go out strong because this is a huge game," Oke says.
Coach John Haigh also understood the importance of the game for his team. "It was a big deal," Haigh says. "It was the one game they wanted to win more than any other." At the end of the game, the Blazers triumphed 3 - 2 over the Northwood Gladiators and the stands went crazy. "It meant a whole lot," Oke says of the victory. "It felt good because they were ably ranked and the Gazette said they were predicted to win states, so it felt amazing to beat them.
"The Blair v. Northwood games always pullout the largest crowds. I love that Blazers are so excited to rep their school and support them at such an important event," senior cheerleader Sydney Smith attests. "I see people at those games that I've never seen at any other games."
The teams also love looking into the stands and seeing a sea of exuberant faces. Varsity football player senior Frank Aje is excited about their Nov. 6 game against Northwood. "We're going to go out big. It's the battle for the boulevard, man!" Aje exclaims.
However, the team isn't all talk and no walk, as they acknowledge that serious practice will help lead to a victory for the Blazers. "We've been practicing," Aje says. "We need to focus. We need to work."
Not quite the golden days
While today's Blazer athletes may exchange some words on and off the field, Macdonald remembers past Blair athletes as being more aggressive. "When it came to Springbrook back then, we were not good sports. There was lots of name calling and fights...I remember more than a few isolated incidents during games against them," he says.
Macdonald doesn't believe that Blazers today truly understand the concept of a real rivalry. With stands being nearly empty at Blazer home games, he doesn't think there is enough school spirit to foster a legitimate rivalry. "It's difficult to explain to modern day students what school spirit even means, let alone the intensity of a real rivalry," he says.
Although Blair rivalries may not be as intense as they once were, Blazer athletes still feel the competition on the field. As they lace up their shoes, they've got their school in mind. In rivalry games, they are all stepping out on that field together, as one school, ready to claim this boulevard.
Katie Sint. Katie Sint is 5 foot 2 and her last name rhymes with "squint" which has lead to the creation of many Asian jokes. Katie likes Sour Patch kids, Iron chef, laughing, Bubble Shooter, The Office and naps. She plays volleyball and is a CAP junior. More »