Macho Volleyball provides an electric game and friendly competition to kickoff Winterfest week

Bathed in the incandescent light of the gym, six senior boys stare down the six junior boys across the court. With the goal of redemption and victory engraved in the senior boys’ minds, they prepare to annihilate the inexperienced juniors in the 2020 Macho Volleyball game.

Senior Bryce Kerr was a member of the junior team during last year’s Macho Volleyball game. After the juniors left the first of three matches victorious, their lead was quickly answered as the seniors responded with winning the next two matches. The tradition of the seniors beating the juniors lived on for yet another year. 

“We should have beat the seniors, but what happens happens,” Bryce said. “It was a really fun experience being with [my] class.” 

Although the junior coaches—such as seniors Lauren Schofield, Ellie Ingraham, and Rachel Nicholson—did not conduct practices heavily last year, the lineup and performance of the junior team was rather impressive. In Bryce’s opinion, the junior coaches were very successful at being inclusive and making sure that every member of the team saw the court. 

As for the goals that the seniors and their coaches have for the upcoming game, Bryce personally has one brief, matter-of-fact ambition: win. 

“That should be the goal for everybody,” Bryce said. “And, that shouldn’t be too hard.” 

To set themselves up for success, the senior team already has a select number of practices scheduled. With soley winning on his mind, Bryce isn’t worried about the competition from the senior team’s junior counterparts. 

“We don’t really need to practice that much because the juniors aren’t that good,” Bryce said. 

Junior Aidan O’Meara completely disagrees with Bryce’s assumption involving the potential of the junior team. Aware of his classmates’ athletic abilities, Aidan is positive that a blowout will occur at the game—completed by the juniors. 

“Juniors have a really solid group of guys coming out,” Aidan said. “It will be excellent. I think that with the combination of kids in our grade, we have some great volleyball players. I expect us to perform very well.” 

Having attended the Macho Volleyball games that occurred his freshman and sophomore years, Winterfest week means something slightly different to Aidan now as a participant of the game this year. 

“[The games] are very rowdy,” Aidan said. “I [am] excited to get to participate [in] my junior and senior years. It will be cool to actually play.”

As to what the game means to the upperclassmen as a whole, Bryce believes that the game represents a chance for the guys of FHC to directly participate, through rivalry and competition, in the spirit week leading up to Winterfest. 

Principal Steve Passinault believes that the Macho Volleyball game during Winterfest week is the equivalent of the Powderpuff game that is played during Homecoming week. Receiving widespread interest and participation, Passinault sees every year the school spirit that is created as a result of the game. 

“We don’t have boys volleyball, so originally that was the intent: to have a fun, friendly competition between the classes,” Passinault said. “The week of fun activities breaks up the monotony of winter in Michigan.” 

Passinault truly enjoys attending the Macho game every year; specifically, he is humored by the fact that the male athletes of FHC who are skilled in other sports are completely out of their element. Along with the sharing of jokes and trash-talk between the members of both grades, Passinault appreciates the experience that Macho Volleyball is. 

A new change to the Macho Volleyball experience, enacted this year, is that a freshman versus sophomore scrimmage will be taking place before the upperclassmen game. The underclassmen game is being held to encourage more underclassmen participation and involvement in Winterfest week.

But, it is to be expected that some upperclassmen obtain negative opinions involving the initiation of an underclassmen game like Bryce does.  

“I don’t like it at all,” Bryce said. “Same thing with Powderpuff, I think it’s dumb. I’m not the biggest supporter of it, but whatever they want to do, they can do to get ready for next year’s [game].” 

However, other upperclassmen share the same indifference involving the subject of the underclassmen game with Aidan. 

“I guess I don’t like it but only because I didn’t get to do it as a freshman and sophomore,” Aidan said. “I feel like they should have to wait their turn, but I’m sure it will make the teams better and the games better.” 

[The games] are very rowdy.

— Aidan O'Meara

Even though the spirit weeks that precede school dances have taken a turn towards being more inclusive of underclassmen, upperclassmen of FHC still look very forward to the Macho Volleyball game.

“I’ve been preparing for years for this—ever since middle school gym class where I learned to play volleyball,” Aidan said. “I’ve been pretty amped up for a long time to participate in this great Ranger tradition.”