Spirit at a standstill

Dec. 31, 1969, 7 p.m. | By Sally Colwell | 51 years ago

Blair's student body needs a pep injection

"Do we have to go?" one of my classmates asked a few weeks ago.  I begrudgingly got my books together and left class to attend yet another mandatory assembly dreamed up by Blair's administration, an event otherwise known as a pep rally.
It was truly pathetic.  Absolutely nothing was entertaining, since the DIVAs and break dancers had been banned for the simple crime of being clubs instead of teams.  
Instead, the basketball team came out and played basketball. Then, another team played basketball.  Then, a short basketball game was played by people who did not seem to belong to any particular team. It was fantastic.   
There was no "pump it up" cheer and certainly nothing that in any way differentiated the seniors from the rest of the school.  We stared straight ahead and applauded occasionally until we were released, and I came away feeling that Blair had reached its lowest point spirit-wise.
I wasn't the only one.  In an informal poll conducted on Feb 27, more than half (well, 51 percent) rated the pep rally at "one" on a scale of one to five. Another 33 percent gave it a two, and one gave it a five.  I marked down his vote, but made sure to sigh audibly and give him a look.  
And our problems aren't limited to the quality of our pep gatherings.  
As I gratefully left the offending rally, I came across a poster for the spring dance.  It was divided right across the middle, the bottom half being devoted entirely to things not to be allowed at the dance.  "No sneakers," it said, "no club clothes, no underwear as outerwear, no jeans, ID required, no freak dancing."  
I wondered why exactly the administration was determined to make us hate being at Blair.
So I decided to throw my own dance and wrote the following invitation:
Hey Blazers!  Your attendance is required at this year's School Spirit Shakedown.  It will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. this Friday in the wrestling room.  
Students who fail to show will receive one unexcused absence for each of their classes, unless they bring a note detailing why they were unable to attend, which can be only because of a death in the immediate family.  
The cost is $30 for singles, $75 for couples.  Party-goers must be dressed in appropriately spirited garb.  This means wearing red shirts with white pants (no hats, my fun-loving friends!).  
The shirts must be long sleeved and turtle necked, and preferably made out of wool sheared from a Peruvian llama.  The pants must be pleated down both the front and the back of the legs and should be at least two sizes too big.  
Anyone violating the dress code will be forced to spend their lunches in the boys' locker room for seven days.  No sneakers, stilettos, club shoes, dancing shoes, bowling shoes or gray shoes are allowed.  
Anyone who does not have fun will be suspended for a number of days equivalent to the level of fun he or she does not have.
Blair is becoming a police state.  Would it hurt to let people cheer for their class separately? Would it hurt for some people to make the infamous fashion faux-pas of wearing sneakers to a semi-formal event?  
If you prune a tree too much, it dies; at this point the administration has chopped us down like so many freak-dancing trees.

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Sally Colwell. Sally Colwell is co-centerspread editor and is tremendously excited to be on paper this year. In her free time she enjoys reading novels, drawing, not practicing the violin and attending demolition derbies. During the summer she is a counselor at Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies … More »

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