“E-E-EHS!” Your mouth is dry, throat hoarse, but the temporary discomfort is nullified by the pleasure you feel behind the words chanted for your team. The stands, full of hypothermic bodies aching for warmth, are electric. The sight of varied maroon and black dresses and ties are the unifying traits that flood the stands. Whether it be because of the pregame photo shoots, cheering, or aftermath, everyone will tell you they love The Game.
What are the first words that come to mind when you think about The Game? “Tradition and fire,” sophomore Jett Lyerly describes. “Everyone in the stands knows what’s going on, as well as the players. We all know the magnitude of the game. There is not a single person who isn’t cheering or playing their hearts out.” Win or lose, heads high or hanging, The Game is an unforgettable moment that we experience during our four years at Episcopal. If you ask any member of the EHS community what they are looking forward to this year, I guarantee most will say Woodberry (followed by an Episcopal cliché about how “lit” The Game will be).
The exhilaration is contagious the week before The Game. You feel it everywhere. All announcements end in “burn the forest,” senior dorm banners dawning the words “What do we eat? Tiger meat!” are hung across campus, “Beat Woodberry” pins are clasped onto every backpack and shirt on campus. The school pride is intense, leading all the way up to the annual bonfire where we watch our cheerleaders burn the wooden W, and hear inspirational words from Coach Voulgaris (and maybe even baby George!). Then, the day of The Game finally arrives.
The oldest rivalry in the South. This rivalry, this game lives and breathes in our hallways, dorms, campus, and even beyond our gates and into the real world where our alumni are scattered about. We all share this perpetual bond with everyone in the Episcopal community, whether they graduated this year or 50 years ago. All together, we are playing and cheering for the past, present, and future of EHS. This distinctive rivalry sends the message that win, lose, or even tie, we do it together; we’ll always come out as one, and that’s what makes The Game so special to us all.
Standing on the field last year, staring at the 14-14 scoreboard, I was disappointed to say the least. But then I saw something that embodied the importance of The Game: a senior boy was crying. It was my first year at Episcopal, so I couldn’t possibly comprehend just how momentous this game was. I watched as our players and coaches carried themselves with poise and dignity while shaking their opponents’ hands. That’s when I finally realized the significance of it all. We all feel something in that moment; whether it be sadness or happiness, we feel the effects of The Game together, and we walk out of the Game together better than when we came into it. I have even seen myself handle some hard losses or great wins with the same poise and dignity our boys exhibited after their game last November. The Game transcends sports because it truly influences all aspects of Episcopal life.
So it’s that time of the year again. The leaves are a golden hue, and the frigid autumn breeze is hitting us hard. The excitement is at an all-time high, and our hallways are exuding with school spirit and mirth. Most of all, our community is united and ready to support our boys at the 116th game. Together, we’re unified as The High School. Together, we will play and cheer our hearts out. Together, we will beat Woodberry!