LATHROP – By all accounts Kevin Barajas looked ridiculous.
Here is a starting offensive lineman of the varsity football team; the school’s Associated Student Body President; the “Voice of Lathrop High School” and he’s out dancing around on the sidelines of the very football field he’s supposed to own in a lacey tutu.
And he did it with a smile on his face because looking ridiculous didn’t matter to Kevin Barajas.
Creating tradition and building upon it did.
“We’ve got a lot of people here tonight and that’s good because it shows we’re starting to get stronger and become a real high school,” he said at halftime of the school’s third annual “Powder Puff Game” at Bennie Gatto Field. “It’s all about school spirit and we have to do ridiculous things like this to give our school and our students some laughs then we’ll do it. It’s about tradition.”
Hundreds of people packed into the stands to watch the senior girls square off with their junior counterparts and see whether or not the class of 2013 could be the first group of pending graduates to take home the crown on the eve of Homecoming.
Marissa Elliott – a three-sport, standout senior athlete – said that it was intense having so many people watching a sporting event she was a part of.
But it also signified, she said, that the tradition that students have been building since the school first opened is starting to take hold.
“There’s a lot of school spirit involved in a game like this, and it’s an honor to be involved with it and to have the chance to be out here on this field,” she said. “The energy just feels different with this many people here. I think that it shows that we have spirit and we’re proud of where we come from.”
That’s not to say that the game itself didn’t have any merit.
Over on the sideline typically reserved for the away team, Jasmine Ivey had a look of focus in her eyes that only serious athletes ever get.
Sure she was having a good time, but she was also intent on making sure that her team secured a fourth straight victory for the junior squad – her background in sports allowing her to differentiate between the two.
But there was still something about playing before so many people, and representing her school during a week that is starting to take on more and more meaning each and every year.
“It’s a lot of fun but it’s also an honor to be out here,” she said. “It’s definitely thrilling to be out here. It gets your adrenaline pumping and all that you want to do is score that touchdown to put your team ahead.
“I’m happy to be a part of it.”