We sing the fight song. We scream for the shoe toss. The band plays “Let’s Go, Cavs.” A few students and teachers play a simple game or two. Finally, the volleyball and soccer teams are introduced.
This is what happened at this year’s pep rally—and last year’s pep rally, and the year before that, and the year before that and, well, you get the point.
The Homecoming pep rallies are meant to get students pumped and excited for the soccer and volleyball games that night, but they are hardly effective.
The high schoolers particularly barely cheer—and they’re the ones actually attending the sports games.
Sure, little kids are more easily excited than cynical high-school seniors, but the pep rallies would at least be better if they weren’t the same every single year.
The (in)famous shoe toss is the worst offender. A shoe is tossed in the air, and the lower schoolers always scream louder than the high schoolers, who feel no real pressure to participate.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the shoe toss, but for students who have been at SCDS for several years, the toss certainly loses its charm.
An exciting pep rally needs more variation. Two years ago, for example, Ryan Eytcheson, ’03, made a professional video to introduce the sports teams.
Of course, it would be unreasonable to expect a professional video every year, but part of the reason the video was so successful was because it was new, different and unexpected.
This year the teams were simply introduced by having the team captains step out into the gym and call up their teammates one by one.
Why not use an announcer to add drama? Why not dim or flash the lights and play dramatic music?
Ideally, the games should make the audience cheer or laugh, but watching teams race back and forth balancing ping-pong balls and paddles is too slow-paced to get particularly excited about.
Do something silly instead. Dressing up the coaches was a good idea, but there are more options.
Maybe recruit a few people to have an impromptu dance-off, or take a few guys and let some girls give them makeovers.
Any silly, comedic or potentially embarrassing game would be more appealing, and excitement can be further increased by asking for volunteers from the audience instead of pre-selecting competitors.
Things can be changed up further by adding random skits, perhaps to introduce the sports teams or for general entertainment.
In addition, the rally can be hyped up more during Spirit Week, and Student Council or Sports Boosters could even provide face paint or hair spray.
The high school is certainly capable of being spirited—just look at Ancil Hoffman Day or the lip syncs at Rockvemberfest. Just add a little bit of craziness, spontaneity and variety and maybe students will actually look forward to the pep rallies.