Team traditions promote unity

Kendall McGowan, Managing News Editor

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Members of the varsity soccer team sport their bleached mohawks in a display of team unity. They got their mohawks after qualifying for the state tournament. Photo by Mia Svirsky.

Bushy beards on the faces of Red Sox players, fans and even the mascot have created a communal atmosphere of victory and joy everywhere this fall. Some of the high school’s sports teams also have traditions prior to a big tournament which bring its members closer together.

When the varsity boys soccer team makes the state tournament, as they did this year, they celebrate by cutting their hair into mohawks and dying them blond in a display of team unity.

According to the boys soccer co-captain, senior Alejandro Brown, just the idea of getting the mohawks can inspire the team to work together to play well throughout the season.

“It gives us something to look forward to every year,” Brown said. “At the beginning of the year, one of our goals is to get that mohawk and get into the state tournament.”

According to Brown, Once they make the state tournament, even players who were hesitant to cut their hair at first get caught up in the excitement that team spirit can create.

“My freshman year, when I first got the mohawk, I was kind of scared because I didn’t know how it was going to end up,” Brown said. “But if it’s soccer season and we make the playoffs I’m going to get a mohawk. I’ve accepted it.”

Senior Alex Gerszten agrees that getting the mohawk is an intrinsic part of being on the soccer team.

“It wasn’t really an option to not do it,” Gerszten said. “And you’re not going to be forced to do it, you’re going to want to. Nobody’s like, I don’t want to get that mohawk.”

For senior Nathan Bermel, the best part about getting the mohawks is how it unifies and strengthens the team.

“It definitely increases the camaraderie and brings us closer together as a team,” Bermel said. “That makes us want to work harder for each other on the field and we’re better friends off the field. It’s a lot of fun,” Bermel said.

According to assistant swim coach Kim Draggoo, the girls swim team has a tradition unique to state tournaments as well.

“We might meet at the pool at 9 a.m. and we’d all go and have breakfast together at a diner that’s along the way to Cambridge-The Breakfast Club,” Draggoo said. “That way everyone gets a good breakfast in and gets kind of relaxed before the big event, and then we go over to the meet.”

Draggoo agreed that their tradition encourages a sense of celebration and team unity.

“I think everyone’s close, and everyone’s looking forward to it,” she said. “It’s a nice way to cap off the season. It brings a sense of occasion to the meet that’s not only about the meet but also about celebrating the work that the girls have done.”

Girls swimming captain, senior Michaela Schwartz, said that one of her favorite parts of swimming is the support she gets from being on a team.

“It’s a really nice team environment because you’re practicing as a team.” Schwartz said. “Being in an environment where everyone’s so supportive of each other is an awesome feeling.”

Kendall McGowan can be contacted at [email protected]