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Baptized at last! Sophomores finally experience Running of the Bills

Two hundred and fifty shirtless sophomores, 30 gallons of blue paint, and a one way street: it was the perfect equation for the first-ever sophomore Running of the Bills.

Last year, the Class of 2024 could not run in the annual freshman initiation tradition—Running of the Bills—due to Covid restrictions at the time, yet they were promised that one day they would be able to descend upon Oakland Avenue in a sea of blue. Since then, the Class of 2024 has been eagerly awaiting its chance to complete the ultimate testament of school spirit. 

“I mean the school spirit was really really intense, but in a fun way,” said sophomore class moderator Frank Corley. “At some point I stood out there, put some blue paint on my own cheeks, and I even got into it.” 

Corley and others were initially concerned that the class of 2024 would not have been enthusiastic after the long wait, or that sophomores would believe that they were too mature for what is usually a freshman initiation ritual. 

“On one hand, you know that they missed that experience, but you don't know if a year later, trying to do the same thing can work. I didn't want to do another Freshman Fun Day,” said Corley. “Freshman Running of the Bills follows Freshman Fun Day. It's kind of an essential climax to that event. So I wanted something a little more mature.”

However, these concerns were quickly dispersed, as Corley and the other teachers quickly realized that little work was needed on their part to inspire enthusiasm among the sophomores. From drenching themselves in gallons of blue paint, to maniacal sprinting into the bleachers, the sophomore class did not let up a moment to show their spirit.

The night started off with the sophomores being enthusiastically greeted by members of Blue Crew decked out in white tank tops. They then gathered in their homerooms to compete in a rock-paper-scissors tournament amongst themselves. 

After the homeroom tournament, the entire class gathered together in the Field House, where the homeroom rock-paper-scissor champions competed to determine whose homeroom would get to lead the charge into the football stadium. 

After the tournament, STUCO, accompanied by the Blue Crew, began teaching the sophomores beloved, classic SLUH cheers and some new ones such as “SLUH Jacks.” 

“I think teaching the sophomores chants was great because it’s passing off a tradition that I was taught and that we were all taught as freshmen,” said senior STUCO spirit leader Matthew Kluba. “It’s like we all say, tradition never graduates whether it's on the fields or in the classroom or in this case in the stands.”

Finally, with many of their voices already hoarse, and excitement running high, it was time to release the sophomore horde onto the south field. The sophomores eagerly crowded around the seniors so that they could be doused in blue paint as the parents watched from the margins. 

“Putting on the paint with all the Blue Crew guys was awesome. Lathering ourselves up in the paint was really great, we couldn’t wait to rush the field,” said sophomore Keegan Kesterson. “And when we went down to the Drury Plaza, the teachers had us held back, because we just wanted to get out there and we were supposed to go around kickoff and they were taking too long to start the game, it was crazy.”

With their bodies lathered in blue paint, and adrenaline rushing through their veins, the sophomores took off from Drury Plaza and raced up Oakland Avenue and into the football stadium, roaring with school spirit. 

“It was really cool to see. I was out on the field but I could see through the fence, I could see them getting ready, and it was great,” said sophomore football player Archie Curruthers. “It was a great experience for them. Then they finally got to sprint into the bleachers and fulfill this very important milestone in their SLUH career. It’s an experience, storming the bleachers, like everybody was having so much fun, it was really sick.”

The sophomores quickly filed into the bleachers and immediately were led in numerous cheers, hoping to provide encouragement to the SLUH football team. And encouragement they did provide, with the Jr. Bills scoring a touchdown on the very first drive, and then adding two later in the first quarter, all the while holding the MICDS scoreless. 

“Yeah, it's always great to have a huge crowd. It’s great to have a crowd like that in the atmosphere,” said associate head coach Adam Cruz. “It was really exciting for the guys after playing in front of empty stadiums last year, to have a huge crowd. Even when things weren't going so well it was really great having the sophomore class, their parents and their enthusiasm.”

Despite their best efforts, the horde of blue sophomores and the rowdy Blue Crew weren’t enough to help SLUH secure the victory over MICDS, with SLUH falling 42-28. 

While many were disappointed with the game’s outcome, the sophomores enjoyed the experience and were grateful that despite it being a year overdue, they were still able to participate in the Running of the Bills tradition. 

“Being able to finally, after a year of waiting, go through that initiation process of SLUH was very great,” said sophomore Vincent Weinbauer. “It was a great feeling running down Oakland, it was surreal in a sense.”






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