If there was any stress from the looming ACT the next morning, members of the Blue Tide didn't show it. As the sun began to set, there was laughter in the Jesuit High parking lot as the crew began to paint themselves royal blue.
"It definitely strengthens the bond that we already have as students of Jesuit, but it also brings more kids together who might have gotten lost on the periphery," said senior Peter Johnson. "I love it because the quietest freshman and the boldest senior can be a part of a unit, where they attend school functions like games, but know they're a part of a smaller, more committed group."
The fan section, formed by the Class of 1980, according to director of student activities Mike Scicchitano, has become an important part of the student culture at Jesuit. Students plan weekly themes that involve costumes and are very enthusiastic about being a part of the group and upholding the tradition.
Just like Peter Johnson, who watched upperclassmen before him and wanted to be a part of the tradition when he was a senior. Now, he helps paint the chests of underclassmen before the game.
"Many of our students came to Jesuit games as young kids, and they remember seeing the Blue Tide," Scicchitano said. "There's very much a sense of a responsibility to uphold the tradition — it's not about attempting to 'one-up' or outdo the past, but rather to continue the tradition."
As the Blue Tide members ran through the locker room tunnel and proudly made their way to their usual section, a sense of pride could be seen on their beaming faces. With every yard gained, first down reached and touchdown scored, their cheers could be heard from around the stadium.
"J-J-J-E-S, U-U-U-I-T, J-E-S, U-I-T, JESSSSSUIT."
Do you have an idea that you would like to see featured in "More Than a Game"? Eve Edelheit can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3309.