School updates policy on team spirit days

School+updates+policy+on+team+spirit+days

In past years, the girls’ swim team held its annual suits and spandex spirit day before its meet against Central League rival Radnor, attending class while wearing leggings with their swimsuits over top.

“It was a funny (spirit day) that we always did, and it promoted a lot of team bonding because we’re all walking around in our bathing suits,” senior and girls swimming captain Jamie Semmer said.

However, spirit days such as wearing suits and spandex were banned shortly after the beginning of the winter sports season. In an announcement sent to coaches through email and posted on Schoology, athletic director Kevin Pechin stated that teams may only wear team jerseys and business casual attire for spirit days with no themes or props, explaining in the email that “our theme is Conestoga.”

According to Pechin, the change occurred as a result of a concern about the attire worn in class brought up by a teacher at a faculty meeting.

“We support the spirit days, and if they want to wear their jerseys, that’s fine,” Pechin said, “but it shouldn’t take away from the educational setting.”

When senior and boys basketball captain Connor Steele was told of the change at a captains’ meeting with Pechin, he didn’t think that his team’s usual spirit days of whiteout and jersey day would be affected by the change. As a result of the change, Steele noted that he would think twice before doing anything risky. 

However, boys swim captain Miles Whitaker realized that the change would affect team bonding. The team’s popular lazy weatherman spirit day, wearing formalwear on top with sweatpants, was initially axed due to the change before being brought back upon further review from Pechin.

“We’re not like the other teams because we can’t wear our jerseys, and we use the other (spirit days) like lazy weatherman day or beach day to make up for that fact,” Whitaker said. 

Junior Ava Collin remembers when Pechin notified the rest of the swim team through a Schoology post. The swimmers’ GroupMe chat exploded with messages, ironically encouraging team bonding as the swimmers conspired to get around the new rules.

“We were like, ‘What happened to our spirit days? We all hate these new rules,’” Collin said. “(The change) forced us all to plot with each other. We were all like, ‘Oh, if we can’t get our spirit days back, we’re gonna dye the tips of our hair red.”

Whitaker, Semmer and their fellow swim captains  decided to meet with Pechin to understand why the spirit days were taken away and to negotiate a deal for the swim team.

“Going into the meeting, we just wanted to make the point that we don’t have a uniform to wear and (that) we don’t practice together. This is one of the biggest team bonding things that we do, and we’re not breaking the dress code. It’s not really fair to just say that because you’re a team, you can’t wear any of this,” Semmer said. 

After several meetings with Pechin, the two sides reached an agreement. All teams are now allowed to participate in non-themed and propless spirit days, such as U.S.A. day, twin day, and color spirit days such as whiteout and blackout. 

Although Semmer wishes that the team could have gotten back more spirit days, she understands that certain spirit days such as suits and spandex could be seen as inappropriate for school and is grateful that Pechin agreed to work with the captains to reach a middle ground.

Pechin is also grateful for the opportunity to work with the swimmers. 

“We’re here to learn first and foremost, and if something’s becoming a distraction from someone learning and we can we can help with that and still support our teams, I’m all for it,” Pechin said.