I always hated pep rallies. Hated them.
In 7th grade, pep rallies were the worst.
Cheerleaders spinning. Cheerleaders screaming, “LET’S HEAR THE SEVENTH GRADE BATTLE CRY!”
7th grade battle cry? Are you kidding? You want us to yell a silly chant in front of God, the seniors, and everybody else?
“V-I-C-T-O-R-Y … that’s our 7th grade battle cry.”
This is followed by moans and laughter from the rest of the audience and disappointed looks from the cheerleaders. They quickly forget about us and shout: “OKAY EIGHTH GRADE, LET’S SHOW ‘EM HOW TO DO IT!!”
Dozens of students to our left immediately jump out of their seats and scream, “V-I-C-T-O-R-Y … THAT’S OUR 8TH GRADE BATTLE CRY!!!” They sit down again with arched eyebrows and smug expressions.
The cheer continues its journey around the auditorium, and we discover that the only group lamer than the 7th grade is the faculty. They are always scattered about and somewhat concerned with protecting their vocal cords.
“… and that’s our faculty battle cry.” What? What did they say?
Even as I eventually figured out all of the cheers, handclaps, foot-stomps, and other appropriate moves, I still hated the pep rallies. You see, my father handed me a last name that started with “A”, which meant for about 180 days in 7th grade and about 180 more days in 8th grade, I sat in an assigned seat on the front row of the auditorium. This meant that, during every rally, the cheerleaders invaded my personal space with pompoms and spirit sticks. How was I supposed to look cool when I was constantly avoiding arm thrusts and jump kicks?
But I survived, somehow, against all odds. And I made it on to 9th grade where the cheerleaders stood farther away. And I went on to college, where there were cheerleaders, but no pep rallies. And then one day I strode off into a world filled with ties and briefcases and PowerPoint presentations.
And sometimes, now, especially during an extremely long meeting, I wouldn’t mind for someone to jump up and lead us all in a battle cry.
|HA chapel, 7th grade.|