From James Hall to Arute Field, my roommate and I trudged up the mildly slanted hill, followed by a handful of other Blue Devils. White shirts waltz past Copernicus Garage; as we got closer to the field, laughter and voices got louder and louder. Finally, our large group makes it to the bleachers, and we were at the pep rally.
There was no shortage of excitement at the pep rally leading up to the homecoming game. Performances from the dance team, pep squad, and cheerleaders were anything but disappointing. What we neglect as viewers about these performances is just how much preparation is needed for these performers to give us the final product.
Gabriella, a junior on the cheer team, said the squad spent hours prepping for the rally.
“…the only thing that is really seen is like a fragment of what cheer really is…,” she said.
The pep rally gave insight on how much we as an audience can take for granted.
It had not occurred to me that cheerleaders are often in the weight room just like the football team.
Entertainment of any kind is work, and it is essential to adjust how much we underestimate our cheer squad, pep squads, and dance teams.
Gabriella said that the “…stereotypical cheer stuff ” we get to watch for two minutes is not a true identity of the rigorous sport.
Central Connecticut State University is kept us on our toes this year. Fireworks were a new and appreciated addition to this year’s show. For many, the fireworks were a highlight of the night. The final set of fireworks exploding through the air were just the spark we needed to start the party outside the field gates. At the circle in front of Arute, there were some unique attractions to keep students occupied. Muncher’s Intl. served Jamaican cuisine; the line that stretched the length of the football field proved that this was a good choice for a post pep rally food truck.
The second of the two food trucks was Craft Bird. Their signature Yard Bird chicken sandwich was in high demand; the truck also had an excellent vegetarian-friendly option and delicious American-style sides with each meal.
A personal favorite out of all the attractions for me was the Dripavelis clothing truck. You can usually find the truck at school events selling the brand clothing. However, fashion desires came true at this pep rally with all the trendy clothing the truck had to offer.
You could find our Blue Devils blindly shooting bean bags into the night sky for cornhole, whacking their best friends off a blow up platform in an inflatable sword fight, getting some airbrushed ink, or dancing like no one was watching when they heard our current Gen Z anthem, GYALIS come on.
The post-pep rally celebration had as much going on as the pep rally itself.
I had the pleasure of speaking to some members of the football team to see how they felt about the party in their honor.
Noah Washington said the crowd’s energy disappointed him.
“I didn’t like the atmosphere that everyone came out with. We need more of that for the football game… everybody has to come out,” he said.
Washington said the team really fuels off the energy of the crowd.
Now a challenge exists for the crowd at Saturday’s homecoming game. It is up to the fans to bring the energy Washington was looking for at the pep rally. If we show up for them, they can show out for us Saturday. Hearing some feedback from a player encouraged me to try and get involved at the Homecoming game.
The pep rally set the tone for the CCSU football team’s homecoming matchup against Columbia. The event was a chance for us to support our university family, and I was happy to be a part of it. I am looking forward to bringing some good energy to the homecoming game and seeing some fired-up guys in helmets crush the Columbia Lions.