As we all know, the Baylor vs. McCallie game is the grand finale of Spirit Week and may as well be the pinnacle of the entire school year.
Students in years past were eager to don their red clothes and pack the football stadium with unmatched merriment and pride in our school — however, good ol’ ‘Rona happens to be a fan of football too. So how does the virus influence our choice in whether or not to attend the game this year?
Unfortunately, there were many who could not risk the possible exposure. Temperature checks were taken upon entry into Finley Stadium, and although masks and spacing six feet apart were required, the sheer number of people in the stadium still posed a threat to immuno-compromised people and/or their family members. For example, Jamie Fowler ‘21 did not go because “[she couldn’t] risk getting sick right now, both for [her] health and [her] family’s health.” She continued, “I know it’s more spread out, but I still don’t want to take the chance.” These real concerns and sacrifices are aspects of the current situation our whole community is sure to understand and sympathize with.
On the other hand, nothing could keep Chloe Crooks ‘21 away from the football game. “The [Baylor-McCallie] game to me was always an excuse to hang out with my friends, listen to loud music, and yell and scream and run around in the name of school spirit,” Crooks explains. None of that energy dies due to COVID-19.” And, in a way, the circumstances create an undoubtedly unique experience for her senior-year Baylor vs. McCallie game. Indeed, the game is a wonderful opportunity for students to let loose and have fun with their friends, and Ibilola Esho ‘22 agrees with the view that the Baylor vs. McCallie game “has always been more of a social event” than a football game about a longstanding rivalry. Thus, ultimately Esho decided, despite her qualms about our school properly following safety measures, to join her friend Natalie Lusk, who came all the way from Florida, at the football game to “just hang with her” and have a great time.
It is no surprise the game brings all sorts of people together, attracting former Baylor students like Lusk as well as new Baylor students. This school year’s additions to the Baylor family includes boarders Vivi Christopoulas ‘23 and Sydney Harris ‘24 who were excited to attend a Baylor vs. McCallie game for the first time. Christopoulas went to show her support for the Baylor football team and to enjoy the game with her friends, and in doing so, she found a sense of belonging in the stadium and among the stands.
However, going to the game appealed to Harris not only because she could spend time with her friends from Baylor. Before the game, she said, “I plan on seeing and hanging out with lots of friends from my middle school. Most of them go to McCallie… [and I] can’t wait to catch up and see each other again!” Harris also had fun “meeting new people and interacting with those [she] knew from both schools,” so the big event helped her, even as a new student at Baylor, create new bonds and bridge the divide between Baylor and McCallie the rivalry often perpetuates.