JP 3 St. Gertrude 1
For the final time this year, the Varsity Field Hockey team suited up; they were set for a matchup on Wednesday afternoon against the St. Gertrude Gators. The stage was set for a dramatic finale to the careers of many JP seniors.
The Wolves came out strong, possessing the ball for much of the first half. Ana Grasso opened the scoring with a strong shot into the cage to give JP the 1-0 advantage. Unfortunately for many, the push up pack was not all present when the goal was scored.
But a short while later, JP drove down the pitch again, and finished the campaign on a goal by Brooke Burke. The hype squad erupted and raced down to the sideline for two push ups.
Not 30 seconds after, the Wolves converted again as Michelle Planchack drilled one into the cage, setting off the fan club.
“At this rate, we’re gonna get more of a work out than the players,” hype squad-newcomer Ben Lawler said after the back-to-back goals.
John Paul maintained their 3-0 lead for nearly the rest of the game as they eased off on St. Gertrude. But with just a few minutes remaining, the Gators converted on a penalty corner to put themselves on the board.
But that was all she wrote as JP closed out the victory in their final contest for the year.
“It was a really fun, competitive game,” senior Michelle Planchak said of the victory, “I enjoyed it to the last minute.”
“I feel really sad about saying goodbye to this game,” India Hagen-Gates said of her last field hockey experience, “but even more sad about saying goodbye to my team. They are the best I could have asked for and I will miss them so much.”
“It’s really nice how you guys come out to support your team,” said a JV field hockey player for the visiting St. Gertrude squad. She was talking to the group of boys milling by the bleachers before Wednesday’s game.
That group is the self-proclaimed “hype squad,” which took a liking to field hockey towards the beginning of the season. Consisting of mostly junior guys, the hype squad celebrates JP goals with a set of push ups equal in number to the current score.
Since field hockey is not exactly a spectator sport, the push up tradition puts a fun spin on the games, attracting more students to come out and support their team. As more goals were scored, more push ups were done, and more people participated in the growing tradition.
“Even though we didn’t know what was going on, we still had a general idea when something good or bad happened,” hype squad co-founder Paul Fritschner explained. Getting acclimated with the rule-quirky sport of field hockey was certainly an experience for the squad.
Wednesday evening, though, saw a different fockey phenomenon–hot dogs.
The chilly afternoon had many hype squad members huddling up and running around to keep warm, until freshman Thomas Whalin whipped out a camping stove and a pack of hot dogs.
The squad chowed down on impeccably-grilled hot dogs as the field hockey team closed out their victory.
“I thought I smelled food!” senior defender India Hagen-Gates exclaimed after the game.
Push ups and hot dogs. Let’s hope these traditions do not fizzle out in the offseason.
“Credit should be given where credit is due for the win–and that’s to the hype squad,” co-founder Francis Bright said, hopefully jokingly, upon the final victory of the year.