Ramming The Hill

in Editorials | November 10, 2023

          Even after 135 years of Hill and Lawrenceville competition, The Hill School has yet to learn that clacking spoons will not automatically enhance their athletic abilities. While Hill storms athletic fields in matching navy blazers, Lawrenceville’s long-term commitment to preparation and athletic excellence is the key to the recent winning streak. If the Meigs-Green Cup was awarded on a basis of how seriously a team takes the rivalry and the formality of the school’s dress code, Lawrenceville may have to cede the award to Hill, but thankfully, the Cup represents hard work, composure, and overall dominance instead. 

           The Hill School is founded on time-entrenched customs. Students are required to memorize their school chant and fight songs, attend biweekly chapel services, spend lunches in a family-style dining setting, and most visibly, wear blazers…everywhere. Besides immersing students in a 19th-century boarding school living history museum (especially as the school requires day students to board for at least one year), traditions like these are designed to galvanize Hill spirit, especially when it’s most needed—when the Lawrenceville Goliath visits Pottstown. 

          Unfortunately for the Hill, ritual alone does not win championships. While Hill is whacking wooden dinner tables, exchanging brooms, and reciting Edwardian songs, Lawrenceville conducts its own Spirit Week. Instead of the weird, ritualistic traditions which Hill partakes in such as the questionably motivated red meat meal before Hill/Lawrenceville Day or the continuous droning of the Hill School Fight Song, Lawrenceville has successfully modernized how students bolster school pride, instilling the process with a sense of humor not found in the Hill’s sit-down dining halls or gothically elevated campus. The Lawrenceville Spirit Week started mellow. Monday, students left their pajamas on. Tuesday, students and a few spirited teachers dressed in costumes for Halloween. Wednesday, students twinned with each other. Thursday, students donned the blazer (and wore them better than Hill students do). Friday, students threw on their Lawrenceville merch and gathered for a pep rally that celebrated friends and athletes. Each successive day brought students closer together and added more school spirit into student life. Participation in each event was celebrated, and only grew throughout the week. Impressively, Lawrenceville’s consistently high turnout at voluntary events exceeded that of Hill’s mandatory events. Even though Lawrenceville lacks a bonfire and many of its pre-Covid traditions, Lawrentians don’t need event after event to know that they will sweep Hill, or to know that the Meigs-Green Cup will go home with them. Instead, Lawrentians channel their energy and excitement into fewer, more impactful events. As opposed to uniting solely through a hatred of Hill, the Student Council gathers students on a basis of appreciation for one another. 

          While Spirit Week is a common tradition between the two schools, Lawrentians know how to show up and show off. With the Social Rep crafting a theme for each day, every Lawrentian is challenged to upstage each other, and even better, to upstage the Rams across the border. Pajama-clad athletes, teachers in costumes, and students choosing to don blazers show what real school spirit looks like: effortless and natural, something distinctly Big Red. Even at the week’s final pep rally, activities were based on a light-hearted spirit of games and fun competition. The student body did not excitedly gather in anticipation of tearing Hill to shreds; instead, we built each other up through student dance performances and displays of athletic prowess. 

          With each school-spirit event crafted to deliver a new, original experience for students, each event delivers more—students don’t feel worn out by being demanded, repeatedly, to cheer on command. Instead of the futile and anticlimactic collection of Hill’s Lawrenceville Week, with iconoclastic celebrations intent on criticizing Lawrenceville’s perceived flaws, Big Red focuses on fostering community and building on students’ preexisting excellence. Lawrentians focus their energy into fewer and more concentrated events, bringing their spirit to each one in full force. 

          Lawrenceville continuously proves that there is much more to winning Hill-Lawrenceville day than having full buses and a loud fan base. Hill’s stylized pre-game rituals have clearly failed to translate into tangible success on the field, while Lawrenceville's balance of tradition and commitment to excellence have rendered them the more formidable competitor as proven by our respectable 3-year win streak. We do it better @hillnews.