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High school sports embrace long-held traditions

Joey Gilroy, Special Feature Editor

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As students walk through the hallways at Revere High School, they look around and see young men with bleached blond hair. Others look at their hair and know that it is the traditional hairstyle of Revere’s men’s swim team. For many years, the swim team has carried out this rite of passage.

Traditions connect current athletes with those from before their time, and bring current teammates closer together. From activities as elaborate as ping pong tournaments to something as simple as team dinners, each sport at Revere High School has something that unites them as a team and creates subcultures within the community.

The cheerleading team at Revere has many team customs for both of their seasons, but the oldest traditions occur during the fall cheer season. Senior Hannah Grayem explained how the “Baby Bottle” tradition works within the program.

“Every year at our cheer camp the new cheerleaders are given a baby bottle filled with candy and ten facts about another cheerleader and they have until the last day of camp to find out who their big [sister] is,” Grayem said.

Not only do the freshmen receive gifts, but the junior cheerleaders give presents to the seniors at cheer camp. The juniors take time and put together a gift that resembles their assigned senior’s personality. Along with the cheer souvenirs, the senior cheerleaders also receive special red briefs to wear with their uniforms, while the underclassmen wear blue ones.
Before football season starts, both the cheerleading teams and football teams come together to have dinner and officially begin the season.

Cheer traditions do not stop once the season begins. There are two special games for cheerleaders during the season, Homecoming and Youth Night. Grayem explained what the cheer squads do for those games.

“For homecoming, the freshmen, JV and Varsity cheerleaders all cheer at the Varsity game and the senior cheerleaders paint t-shirts for all of the underclassmen to wear,” Grayem said.

After fall cheer basketball season begins and cheer continues to maintain their traditions. Each year on Senior Night, the cheerleaders take boys from the senior class and perform an elaborate dance routine during half-time of the game. Grayem explained what all of the cheerleading traditions mean to the team.

“Our traditions as a team have brought us closer and have made each year of cheerleading different and special. Freshmen have a different experience [and] have different opportunities than the seniors. This is part of what makes cheerleading so much fun to be a part of,” Grayem said.

Cheerleading is not the only sport to have a myriad of traditions. The Revere Swim team has several well-known traditions. For years, the team has had a “bleaching party” where swimmers meet at someone’s house and bleach their hair blond. At the end of the season, the boys. . .then shave their heads to prepare for the final competitions. Junior captain Alec Johnson explained why the swim team continues these traditions.

“The bleaching is the trademark of all high school swimmers, [it is] just being part of the team. The shaving is the mindset, [you are] going to go your fastest, all of your hair is shaven off, [you are] sleek, and [you are] going to get your fastest time,” Johnson said.

In the spring the baseball team has created a new tradition within the last few years. Senior Jared Baumgardner explained the origins of their newest tradition, ping pong.

“We [do not] really have many traditions but a big one is ping pong. Playing baseball in the spring is difficult because of the weather. With only limited to gym time, our coach lets us play ping pong to get our mind off of being stuck in a gym all day . . . . It started a few years ago when Dave Neale challenged the coaches to a game of ping pong and then ended up bringing his table in and keeping it in the locker room,” Baumgardner said.

Since the year that Neale brought in his table, the baseball team has had a ping pong tournament every season. The tournament brings together both players and coaches to compete and see who is the best at the game. Baumgardner explained what the game means to the team.

“It means a lot to the players because we hate being stuck in a gym just as much as the coaches do. Ping pong is easy to pick up and everyone can play. The team looks forward to the tournament every year now,” Baumgardner said.

Every season, every year, every team in Revere has traditions that the players carry on. From traditions as simple as a team dinner, to those as iconic as bleaching hair, Revere continues its storied history through the subcultures that are cultivated within its walls.

Graphics by Jacob Zimmerman.

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High school sports embrace long-held traditions