Vikings are going down, Blazer style

Dec. 19, 2002, midnight | By Ben Meiselman | 18 years, 1 month ago

The time has come for Blair to recognize the constant competition and declare our rivalry

They're the Brady Bunch to our Diff'rent Strokes, the vanilla ice cream to our New York Super Fudge Chunk, the skinless boneless chicken breast to our scrumptious pot pie. They reside in a secluded palace in Bethesda with an Ivy League-esque campus while we wallow in mud when we're lucky enough to escape the enormous walls of our mall/prison that is surrounded on all sides by six lanes of heavy traffic.

Springbrook High School had its day as Blair's main antagonist and is welcome to remain a major competitor, but times change. The fact is, Whitman High School is our rival now.

From jazz to journalism, Whitman's Vikings have been shoving themselves into our limelight. Blair took second to Whitman's first at the Chantilly Jazz Festival, a major regional competition in Virginia. Silver Chips and Whitman's The Black and White were each named Pacemakers by the National Scholastic Press Association.

Our competition with Whitman spans many areas but runs deepest over our courts, fields and rinks. This year, Blair has garnered a deficient 5-8 record against these miscreants in varsity sports. Of Blair's five fall varsity teams that had head-to-head match-ups in the postseason, Whitman eliminated three from further contention: boys' soccer, field hockey and girls' volleyball.

Despite recent victories in boys' swimming and ice hockey, Whitman is winning. But what makes this a rivalry is that the Vikings add insult to our injury by bashing our pride.

During Blair's regular-season girls' volleyball loss on Oct 5, Whitman coach Orlando Larracuente angrily shattered a glass bottle on the floor. When Blair JV volleyball coach Mark Acton asked politely for him to clean up the mess, Acton says, Larracuente told Acton to give his rear end a peck on the cheek.

Two days later, Whitman was scheduled to play the as-yet undefeated Blair girls' soccer team. The Whitman girls dressed in red clothes that they had torn and rubbed dirt on to represent "beat-up" Blazers. "We do dress up for every game, but we wanted to do something special for Blair," says Whitman goalie Lindsay Metcalfe.

The Blazer pride Whitman is determined to destroy stems from the differences between our two schools. In addition to having the highest international representation in the state, Blair boasts a fairly even spread of black, Latino and white students, each constituting about 30 percent of Blair's population, compared to Whitman's relatively homogeneous ethnic makeup.

Montgomery County allocates money based primarily on the number of pupils at each school, but schools are "very dependent" on other sources of money, according to Business Manager Anne Alban. One such source is family donations to the PTSA and Booster Club, and Whitman is located in one of the nation's most affluent areas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's web page, the median income for a family in Bethesda in 2000 was $130,160, while the median income for a family in Silver Spring was $60,631.

Extreme opposites make this rivalry like an epic struggle of good versus evil. The Blazers valiantly challenge the pillaging Vikings, who descend on Silver Spring to steal our dignity and take it back to their Bethesda castle.

Whitman will win if we surrender our pride in being diverse, in living downcounty and in attending Blair. We simply cannot let that happen. We meet Whitman just eight more times before seniors graduate. Pump it up Blazers, because that's eight opportunities to avenge our fallen autumn athletes and crush the Vikings like the snooty rich vermin they are.

Read the responses of Silver Chips Online staff members to this article, which appeared in the December 19 print edition of Silver Chips.

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by Jeremy Hoffman

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Ben Meiselman. Ben Meiselman is a senior in the Communication Arts Program at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. He enjoys playing sports, especially baseball. Ben is seventeen years old, born May 16, 1985. He has played the trumpet since fourth grade when he began … More »

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