Not so pepped for pep rallies
Sitting hunched over in a sweaty gymnasium with a thousand of my closest peers, waiting anxiously to hear whether or not I’m destined to be the star of today’s “fun activities,” makes BSM assemblies less like a pep fest and more like the Hunger Games. Whenever Homecoming or Catholic Schools Week rolls around, the tokened Friday assembly fills me with the dread of public humiliation, teacher vs. student icebreaker games, and people singing karaoke.
The torture begins with the unmistakably high pitch that is Señora McDonald’s microphoned voice. Yelling so loudly that even Billy Mays would cry, she proceeds to assault my eardrums announcing the fabulous list of activities we’ll be enjoying that day. Her voice drowns out my friends, who of course sit several rows behind me, as I frantically try to appear social in front of the entire grade.
Speaking of my social standing in the 11th grade, while I nervously pray that my name won’t be called for “extreme letter dunking,” I know I’ll never be picked; after all, if Señora McDonald announced “EMILY KLINE, come on DOWN,” a healthy sixty percent of the school wouldn’t know who I was. Assemblies provide the sole opportunity for me to flaunt my anonymity––as I hide under the bleachers.
After successfully dodging a relay race against the science teachers, I now must use my skills to decipher an alien language: the chants. The recyclable taunts flung from grade to grade cause embarrassment when I misconstrue “check the scoreboard” for “checkered floorboards,” or “we can’t hear you” for “pecan ear tube.” It’s a wonder I haven’t shouted “citizens” after the “SENIORS, SENIORS” chant just to get back at the taunt-masters, always one step ahead of me.
When 2:40 comes around, after getting trampled by the spirit stick and the Red Knight army carrying it, I run out of the Haben, using more pep than I’ve displayed at any point in the past hour. My nerves––or what’s left of them––calm down and life returns to normal, but the next assembly waits, looming on the horizon with that static-y microphone in hand, to threaten me with pep.