April 8, 2017
On the East ultimate frisbee team, taking a freezing ice bath before a tournament is not only a preparation exercise, it’s tradition. The team enjoys filling a tub with ice water and submerging themselves for long periods of time. “You scream with your friends, and [it helps us to] not get sore the next day,” says junior Georgia Smiles about the activity. Sports are very prominent at East, resulting in teams that are rich in tradition and culture.
Similarly, for the girls’ Volleyball team, getting ready for a game is not your typical pep talk. “We have a piñata of the other team’s mascot, and we just beat the crap out of it,” adds senior Amirah Bentley on how the team gets pumped up for a game. After that, the fun isn’t over. “One of our players will bring the head [of the piñata] up and give it to someone in the crowd.” Bentley has been bashing piñatas for the team since she was a freshman, and still says it gets her pumped for the games.
Junior Jurnee Calhoun mentions how this ritual helps them win their games. “Afterwards we walk around with it and the [other team’s] like ‘Wow, why do they have a piñata of our mascot?’ and it distracts them, but we’re focused on beating them, [they are] always intimidated and they just constantly talk about that instead of talking about what they were going to do at the game, and we aren’t talking about it because we already know. That’s how you get the upper-hand advantage.”
Most of the teams are all about any type of superstitious tradition that helps them to win. Anytime the ultimate frisbee team crosses a railroad track, they make sure to put their feet up. Junior Connor Scott says, “When we are driving and we pass train tracks, we lift our feet up and that way we win tournaments.” Along with this tradition comes many others, including having pasta parties, team sleepovers, and dyeing their hair red.
The team values going to many different tournaments, some considered quite special. Scott says his favorite tournament is “the one where every team dresses up in different costumes to play each other.” Each year, Scott is known for playing frisbee in his hotdog costume for this tournament. Frisbee player Ella Britton, a senior talks about the friendly ritual that the team always holds after a game. “East usually gives spirit awards to give to a person on the other team that we think really stood out, and then we do a cheer together and go our separate ways.”
The East rugby team has created their own traditions as well. Senior Sam Golla tells how the team has a special songbook, comprised of all the team’s most memorable songs. “There are at least thirty songs that we sing.”, he comments. Some of the songs include “Swing Low”, “Sunshine Mountain”, and “Cockles and Mussels”, to name a few. Fellow senior Abdul Neville also comments on a tradition of the team. “Before a game, we pass around the championship ball and say what we’re anticipating for the game, and that’s a ritual that I’m very happy we have.” The team’s compatibility and communication makes these traditions easy to form. As Coach Joe Ranalli relays, “It’s a family sport, like a brotherhood.”
Clearly, the East High sports program is rich in culture and tradition. No wonder it continues to thrive and grow. From creating songbooks to whacking pinatas, the Angels on the field and court are as unique as they are successful.