Sports traditions bring unification, not intimidation

Thomas Pollick, columnist

A few weeks out of the year you’ll find that it’s incredibly easy to spot me in the hallways. It occurs in mid to late February, before the State swimming meet. My hair becomes bleached a light yellow that can hurt your eyes if you look at it for too long. Aside from the occasional strange comments that I get from others, it is something that both my friends and I get used to.

One of the more common questions that people ask me after I bleach my hair is simply, “Why’d you do it?”

Well, there are a couple reasons. The first is that my hair was turning to crap from chlorine anyways, and there was really no hope in keeping it the way it was.

The second is that it’s a tradition that the GBS swim team has been carrying on for many years. Before our important swim meets, we bleach our damaged, chlorine-infested hair and then shave it off. We’re not the only ones with a tradition.

Senior Branden McGarrity shaved his head to a mohawk with the rest of the soccer team this year and says that this decision provided a way to bring the team together.

“We gave ourselves mohawks for playoffs this year,” McGarrity said. “We got every player to do it and it united the team. In a way everyone made a sacrifice for the team.”

It’s easy to wonder why when spotting a bleached swimmer, a soccer player with a mohawk or a bald hockey player in the halls.

Having been part of the swim team for four years, it’s never been something that I’ve questioned, just something that I’ve taken part in.

Every year I know I look a little bit like an idiot, but it’s something I feel fortunate to be able to do when it’s with the rest of my team. When I go to practices and see everyone with the same hair as me, it’s a nice reminder that we’re all part of a dedicated team and headed for the same goals.

Like McGarrity, I see it as a sacrifice too, especially since I like having hair, but hey, I’m in high school and I might as well do something weird or crazy with it while I still can.