Spirit: Not Just Fun and Games

Alex Baden

Believe it or not, school spirit just might kill you. The seemingly innocent seasonal assembly can be as dangerous as a live shark winched to a helicopter, flying low and close through the streets of Bethesda.

In the recent fall pep rally, one student showed us exactly how dangerous a rally can be.

Senior Daniel Knoll was ready. He was pumped and pepped; ready for an in-school rave which promised to turn ordinary fan cheering into an all out lipstick-wearing, Alaskan pit-bull, hockey-mom-screaming orgy. He thought he could handle the crazed dancing and jumping, but Knoll had no idea what he in was in for.


As one of the approximately four hundred thousand members of the cross country team, Knoll attends pep rallies and “does spirit” this year even more fervently than he did last year because he knows that students will no longer be able to enjoy the true home game experience.

“Being on such a big team, it’s easier to get pumped up because you’re with so many of your friends,” said Knoll, who was also on stage his freshman year, when he made his pep rally debut in the swim and dive team push-up contest.

As a veteran, Knoll knew his role in the pep rally. “You have to do something to get noticed, and if you jump up and down, you’re more likely to get noticed,” he said.

Hearing his cue, Knoll walked out on stage, gazing into a sea of seated students and joined his fellow cross country team members in a massive party-boy dance.

But then, disaster struck. As gravity dragged him down from his pep-induced leap, a short kid in front of him jumped, ramming his noggin directly into Knoll’s jaw.

The next thing he knew, a deafening crack resounded inside his mouth, drowning out all the pep rally insanity surrounding him. His tooth had broken off, leading to more than an hour of reconstructive surgery.

Despite his pep-induced injury, Knoll still bears no ill will towards the tradition which left him in braces far past his adolescent awkward years.

Knoll bravely plans to be back on stage in the winter as a member of the swim and dive team.

“I’m hoping I don’t get injured,” said Knoll. “I just hope I can come out of it in one piece.”