Everyone is LAME: The death of spirit days

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Mismatch spirit day in Kindergarten

   You wake up ready for the day and eagerly get dressed in an outfit that would normally kill you from embarrassment. But today, it’s okay to wear: it’s a spirit day. You spent all night preparing and planning for today so that your themed outfit can match the enthusiasm of your fellow classmates. It’s not every day that this extravagantly embarrassing outfit could be worn in public! You arrive at school and promptly search for the other students dressed similarly to you. Only, no one is dressed up. You walk the halls in shame as people gawk at your appearance. 

   Spirit days are school days in which students are allowed to dress up as they normally wouldn’t, with their outfits aligning to a specific theme. They provide an opportunity for students to bond over their school spirit and have fun dressing up. They are usually tied to a specific event, such as homecoming, or red ribbon week, and have different themes for each day. They really only come once or twice a year, so when spirit days arrive it’s a necessity to make the most out of them; otherwise, you’ll have to wait a year until the next one rolls around. 

   In years previous, participation in spirit week included most of the student body. It wasn’t uncool if you participated: heck, it was uncool if you didn’t. Everyone was looking to see who outdid them, who had the best and worst outfits, and what teachers decided to participate as well. I’ve participated in spirit days since kindergarten, and every time I put my full effort into my outfit.

My Hawaiian outfit, 1st grade

One year I forgot to dress up, and I cried the whole day because I was sad I couldn’t participate. To be fair, I was a whiny child who would cry if I even so much as dropped a fruit snack, but still, they meant and continue to mean a lot to me. Every year has been the same fun and enthusiasm, until my sophomore year.

   Going into high school, I worried that my favorite tradition would dissipate, as the stereotypical “too cool for school” high schoolers I saw on television wanted nothing to do with standing out. However, high school seemed to offer even more opportunities. Not only were there multiple weeks throughout the year to dress up, but every football game had a theme, too! Homecoming week my freshman year was even one of the most fun dress-up weeks I’d experienced. Every day was a fun and unique theme, with a pep rally at the end of the week. Things seemed to be looking up, and I was looking forward to three more years of enthusiasm. But at the end of my freshman year, COVID-19 hit, halting any school spirit.

   My sophomore year was a mix of half online and half in-person learning, so it was hard to have any unity when it comes to dress-up days. We had a couple of days on which you would dress up and send in a picture of your outfit, but it wasn’t as fun when you can only see a sixth of everyone contained in little boxes. Nonetheless, I still participated and even won some contests for it. I noticed that not a lot of kids participated, but it wasn’t too out of the ordinary, since most kids did not participate in online learning in general. Students seemed to care less and less about school work and school spirit as the draining COVID school year went on. This was the first noticeable sign of the downfall of school spirit. 

Barbecue dad outfit, junior year

   This school year started, and is ending, in-person. I had high hopes that this year would bring reparations for the previous disappointments, now that everyone is back in the school, but this year proved to be the most disappointing of all. Homecoming week was the first heartbreak. I, of course, went above and beyond in my outfits, but a very small percentage of students did the same. Some of my friends did participate with me, so it was not a total loss. It was more than the previous online spirit days, but not enough to ease my pain. Football season rolled around and I found myself, again, being one in a handful dressing up in the student section. Some games had more participation than others, but overall there was not enough to strike me as “school spirit.” I enjoyed dressing up and making the most out of my outfits, but was very disheartened in the fall spirit days. The most devastating spirit day, however, occurred on February 22 of this year. 

A tutu, tennis shoes, and a very fancy bow-tie for 2/22/22.

   The day was “Twos Day,” celebrating the twenty-second day of the second month, in ‘22 (2/22/22). The theme was “tutus, ties, and mismatched tennis shoes,” sticking with the alliterative theme of “T.” As to no surprise, I wore all three: a tutu, a bowtie, and mismatched shoes. The advertising for this day had been all week, so I was under the assumption that at least some students would show spirit. I was wrong. I got to school and there was a total of one student dressed in a tutu: me. I was alone in a tutu, only in the company of the stares that came with wearing a tutu to school. I saw maybe a couple of people wearing different shoes or a bowtie, but not enough to clarify that it was a spirit day. I was left alone to be an embarrassment, whilst the other students didn’t have the care to dress up. My spirit was crushed, and I will never get over it.

   Student body, I have a message for you: all of you are lame. I have tried again and again to participate in one of my favorite school activities, only to be disappointed with the crushing weight that I’m the only one who cares. LAME! ALL OF YOU ARE LAME! Do better. Who cares what other people think?! Wear that tutu. Dress like a cowboy. We’ve already lost some/most of it to COVID, so do what you can to enjoy the little bit of high school we have left.