Lord of the Flies in Action- The American Pep Rally
According to LiveScience.com, some of the top fears that plague humanity include fear of the dentist, flying, spiders and snakes. This is probably not news to any of us, but you may be surprised to learn of one of the top fears of the American Secondary School Teacher. No, it’s not school shootings or an ineffective score on the APPR or a bad tuna sandwich in the deli line at the cafeteria. It’s much more insidious than that.
It’s the annual pep rally.
Oh, I can see you eye rollers now. You are probably thinking we are all just curmudgeons who don’t want kids to have any fun, but tell me all you non-teachers out there- how many of you have as part of your duties the task of herding 1000 adolescents into a school gym, rousing them to a frenzy and then controlling the result? Ok, ok- if you are a cop, I will give it to you. But you have guns in that case….
The poor, unarmed Secondary Teacher native to the United States of America is in general a non-social creature. Sure, we love a good Homecoming Football game, but we also like our quiet time. We do not like crowds. We do not like noise. Seriously. I became a teacher because I love literature, not crowd control.
This is why Pep Rally day is called Black Friday in my house.
My dread of the Pep rally began in my first year of teaching when an enthusiastic crowd gone wild stormed down from the bleachers and out the gym door, trampling Mrs. J beneath their sneakered feet. Mrs. J was one of the most kind-hearted, highly respected and oldest teachers on the staff. She was much beloved by both staff and students, but a crowd has no conscience. The poor woman held up her hands like Moses parting the Red Sea, but it was like the storming of the Bastille. She didn’t have a chance, poor woman.
I shouldn’t complain, I guess because I vividly remember pep rallies from my own HS days. In those days, there was the official pep rally in the Gym, overseen by the teachers. We were all very well-behaved. But then, there was a secret pep rally. In the darkness of Turkey Road, we gathered around a bonfire, chanting for our cause. It was standard for one of our football players to steal a jersey from our rival team and use it to make a dummy, an effigy of our opponents! I cringe when I remember how the dummy was violently tossed about before being thrown into the fire. We all cheered!
Good God, it wasn’t a pep rally; it was like a Satanic Cult Meeting, some bizarre Lord of The Flies gathering where we all succumbed to our dark side!
Perhaps, school officials have realized the danger of this riling up of the adolescent competitive spirit. Perhaps that’s why school pep rallies have become tamer. We have also yielded to pressure to include all teams, not just football. Consequently, each sport team is announced and the roster is read while they come down and we cheer for them. So, it’s not really much more than roll call, actually.
Boring maybe. But safer. Seriously, much safer.
Featured Image: http://uca.varsity.com/images/Additional/11_UCA_peprally5.jpg