On October 25, 2012, at 6:30 a.m., a fierce competition took place in the cafeteria at Staples High School. The morning was dark, the cafeteria was nearly empty besides a crowded senior section, and egos were high.
A mixture of estrogen and baked goods left an eerie stench in the air.
It was the Staples girls’ field hockey and soccer teams’ Senior Days, and things were about to get ugly.
Let’s begin by explaining what Senior Day actually is. Some of you may have noticed, while walking through the swarmed halls of Staples High School, simultaneous pink blobs appearing. These are the gsocc (soccer) and fhockey (field hockey) senior girls.
Here’s a helpful key: the gsocc seniors were in the dark pink, and the fhockey seniors were in light pink.
The first mistake of the day was realizing that both teams had chosen pink as the color of their seniors’ shirts.
But that’s just the beginning.
Being a member of the field hockey team, I knew what the junior girls were aiming for with this Senior Day: recognition. This is a big problem for field hockey
because while football, cross country, and soccer all get their time on “Good Morning Staples,” field hockey has yet to be recognized on the student-run TV show.
Even when the team won in overtime.
(But that’s beside the point.)
The juniors for both teams need to plan long in advance for Senior Day because not only is it a time to impress the upperclassmen you strive to emulate, it is also a time when juniors can show off their organizational and creativity skills to the underclassmen, who will in turn be voting for them as captain after the season is over.
Now, let’s take a look at the cafeteria again.
The heat of the competition in the room warmed the air, creating sweat mustaches on the girls bustling around setting up the tables and putting out the food.
The type of competition that occurs on senior day is both competing to excel and competing to win.
But why would you care?
Well, Dr. David Hibbard from California State University and Dr. Duane Buhrmester from the University of Texas did research on how competition is actually a double-edged sword.
Competing to win has been linked to depression, and a detrimental affect on friendships. Meanwhile, competing to excel leads to higher self-esteem.
I am hopeful that the gsocc and fhockey girls competed on senior day to excel, but then again, do they really need a self-esteem boost?
Most would argue no.
See? There’s a lot to Senior Day that nobody knows about. It’s not just about the boas and candy-filled goody bags.
Nobody realizes that the competition that takes place in the confined space of the senior area could lead to broken friendships, or newly found confidence because all the hard work paid off.
This Senior Day was—refreshingly—no different from any of the others; G-Socc tried to take over fhockey’s wall space, and fhockey chanted as loud as they could as their seniors made their grand entrance through the cafeteria doors, tuning out any chants the gsocc team tried to start.
It’s great that Senior Day starts out not being about the seniors, and, rather, just about a competition fueled by which team has the loudest voices, the most egotistical juniors, and the tightest uniforms.
Because, hey, that’s what high school sports are all about.