What makes the Unifi Bowl stand out from other football games? Perhaps, it is the rare pep rally we hold in its honor to raise school spirit, or maybe it is the fun spirit week we hold on the days before the game. Possibly, the Unifi Bowl’s uniqueness is derived from the hint of coolness in the air we feel as we stand in the bleachers, turning the game into a symbol for the beginning of autumn. Regardless of the reason, this Friday night, the entire school will show up at Starmount High School at 7:30 PM to cheer on Forbush High School’s Varsity Football Team as they take on the Starmount Rams.
As the Bush Band strikes up an exciting tune to motivate the players and bets are taken on who will win, the most exciting game of the season will begin. From freshmen to seniors, the Unifi Bowl offers each class and their families entertainment and a chance to bond with fellow Falcons. Freshman Laura Wyrick explains that she is very excited to see the game for the first time from the student section: “I have heard from the majority of students that the Unifi Bowl is an experience like no other. People say that no matter the predicted outcome of the game, you can just feel how much school pride our student section has watching the game.”
Wyrick raises a good point; Forbush has not won the Unifi Bowl for the past nine years. However, each year, the school’s spirit is raised anew and confidence is restored in the football team. The freshman class secretly hopes that they are the good luck charms that will change the fate of Forbush football, while the senior class remains faithful that they will see at least one Unifi Bowl victory in their high school careers.
Two days out from the big game, the Falcons are more focused than ever. | Photo courtesy of Abigail Davis
These pressures can be difficult for the players to handle, and as senior Austin Mendenhall points out, “You don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of people you know.” Mendenhall has been playing safety and running back for Forbush for the past two years, and he says that being a spectator and being on the field both involve a lot of support and team spirit. “In the stands you are cheering for your home team, and on the field you are cheering on your teammates,” Mendenhall explains. He hopes that the team and coaches will grow closer through this game and confidently states that they “will be achieving something that has not been accomplished in many years.”
Cheerleaders and the Bush Band will uplift the Falcons’ spirits as the night proceeds. Not to miss is the awesome half-time show provided by the Band, which will be Beatles-themed this year. Senior Drum Major, Jamie Beamguard, speaks on the experience of playing in the school band, saying that “playing in the stands during the Unifi Bowl is quite a different experience from playing regular games. You can definitely feel a higher energy from the crowd, and there is nothing quite like ‘battling’ the Starmount band with alternating stand tunes during the game.”
Looking back on his past three years playing in the Bush Band, he says that his favorite Unifi Bowl memory is his first one: “It really is just such a different experience, and there is nothing quite like feeling that energy and excitement intertwined with the ‘first-year jitters.’”
Come Friday night, we will see how these jitters, surely felt by both schools, will play out on the field. For now, though, Forbush is happily immersed in another week of school spirit.
Sierra Winters is a senior at FHS who writes and photographs for YCS Virtual News.