By Chloe Sampere
As we reflect on BHHS soccer postseason, we notice that these players enter the school looking a little different than usual. Every year in October, the boys’ varsity soccer team walks into school with shaved heads while the girls’ varsity soccer shows their spirit with braids. These hairstyles are symbolic of the fact that they are going to sectionals. Although it is always the talk of the school at the time, have you ever wondered why and how this tradition began?
While talking to Mr. Allen, the boys’ coach, he revealed that this tradition for the boys began in 2005. “The team decided they wanted to come with something to unify them, so they decided to shave my head. I challenged them that if they performed really well they could have a night where they shaved my head. They won the league title, and they ended up shaving my head,” explained Coach Allen. The following year, Hayden Morris decided he wanted Byram to start a tradition because he noticed really good teams had team bonding experiences, so he shaved the heads of everyone on the team. Mr. Allen continues, “That year we went to states. Since that moment where we played extremely well, we have kept up our tradition.”
This unique experience provides “a sense of camaraderie,” explained Allen. Although shaving their heads is not mandatory, most of the team decides to do so because of the camaraderie it provides. Senior Sebastien Sampere, who is the captain of the soccer team, agrees, and says, “It unites us as a team and as a family. It also is a great method of intimidation to our opponents because it shows how serious we truly care about winning.”
As for the girls’ team, I spoke with Ms. Marinaro who explained, “The girls have been doing this tradition for many years and it’s a sign of unity. They go to the salon as a team and get the braids. This brings them together and as a team, they each have their individuality, but when they put the uniform on the are representing Byram Hills.” Senior Dylan Starker agrees and adds, “This sectionals tradition is significant as it serves as a reminder that we represent BHGVS as we walk through the school halls, as we drive through town, as we greet the other team, and anywhere else we go.”
Overall, Byram’s soccer traditions unite our teams and strengthen our school spirit to new and heightened levels. Though the soccer season has come to an end, the braids have come out, and the boys’ hair begins to grow back, the BHHS community will remember the 2018 fall season for many years to come! Great job this season!