Henry Mali, '22
Covered in blue body paint, dressed in Luke Harmon’s borrowed kilt, and prepared to lose my voice, I marched up Pilgrim Road to the Beauvoir Parking Lot, hands full with apple pies, body full of excitement. After two long years, the pent-up anticipation of Homecoming weekend was absolutely contagious across the Close.
Kicking off the weekend with the Thursday evening pep rally, practically the entire student body (Upper and Lower School alike) packed into the stadium stands and field, ready to throw themselves into the evening’s antics. Beginning the pep rally on a cordial note, BEEF Club Heads introduced the captains of the Varsity Soccer, Football, and Cross Country teams. The most notable introduction was that of Varsity Football Co-Captain Chase Williams, who listed off each senior teammate by nickname with his booming voice.
Then (organized) chaos ensued. Tug-of-war teams assembled.
I am embarrassed to say that the fifth form vs sixth form tug-of-war ended in a controversial fifth form victory. The sophomores lived up to expectations as they dominated the sophomore vs freshman tug-of-war, and to close out the war was a mixed grade Lower School battle. While the teams perhaps may have been uneven and lopsided, every Lower Schooler emerged from the scrum bright-eyed and grinning.
Relay races followed. The race culminated with Lance Gartrell’s come-from-behind sprint, as a wild mob chased him in hot pursuit after his victory for the sixth form. In the end, everyone carried this spirit in coming together, arm in arm, to belt the first verse of the School Hymn. The underperformance in tune was compensated by the boys’ overperformance in volume and spirit. From Thursday evening, the fun only escalated.
Friday afternoon’s IAC soccer home opener against St. Stephen’s St. Agnes was full of zest. The BEEF Club assembled, decked out in their sports jerseys, ready to cheer on the Bulldogs and heckle the opposing Saints. Wayne Frederick’s lone goal proved vital to the Bulldog’s 1-0 victory over the Saints.
Saturday’s football tailgate was not one to miss. The pregame activities ranged from boys painting each other’s faces and chests in blue paint, to applying water to their STA crest tattoos, to cornhole, to, last but certainly not least, the infamous pie eating contest. Eight competitors, four teams, four grades, four pies. The pie eating contest commenced in a frenzy of yells and camera flashes to record this legendary event. While some may argue over the winner of the pie eating contest, I strongly believe that Ernie Revilla and Cal Schaberg, the sophomore duo, were the first to devour their cold apple pie. The rowdiness continued from there.
The Braveheart theme did not disappoint as boys sported colorful kilts, blue face paint, and even sticky fake mustaches and beards. The blue powder throw highlighted the first half as the football game ended 0-0 at the half. The start of the second half opened up the scoring with touchdowns from Miles Harmon and Alex Tilton. In the dying seconds of the game, when it became clear that the Bulldogs would emerge victorious, the BEEF Club made its way from its usual fence and stadium position to the sidelines of the field, ready to storm the field and congratulate their friends on the football team. Keeping the BEEF Club back and away from the field as they whooped and hollered was no easy task. Who knew that telling hundreds of rowdy high school boys to stay off the field after a victory could be such a hard task?!
As the handshake between the Bulldogs and PVI ended and the football players began to turn the corner and slowly accelerate their jog towards the quickly approaching army of BEEF, something just felt right. A Bulldog victory on Homecoming weekend just felt right. The BEEF Club was back; STA football was back; St. Albans School was back.