Sentinel up! On Wednesday, November 8, Patrick Henry College hosted its first-ever pep rally. PHC's Athletics Director, Ethan Patrick, spearheaded the project to introduce students to the men's and women's basketball teams, reintroduce PHC’s mascot, and boost school spirit and morale.
The rally began by welcoming students into the Patrick Henry College gymnasium. Both basketball teams sat in two rows of chairs on the court, facing the bleachers, with their coaches sitting behind.
“This is the first ever rally in the school’s history,” said assistant coach Nathan Reily, who played for four years as a student on the men’s basketball team and has been assistant coach for two years.
“Everybody was really on board,” sophomore Abigail Spivey said. “I feel like it actually got people really behind the basketball teams, 'cause we’re not really a 'sports' college. So, it was fun for everybody to come out and feel the energy and the spirit of the whole thing.”
PHC President Jack Haye stood up to the mic and said a prayer for the upcoming season, followed by one of the student-athletes, captain Andrew Penrod, and RA Eva Cooley. The coaches then talked about the purpose of sports at the school and introduced each of their team members individually.
“Hearing the coaches talk about each member of the teams individually, and talk about how much they want to get to know us and how much they want to invest in us? That was very meaningful," said Liana DeVore, a freshman member of the women's team. "Just to know that, just like our professors, our coaches are invested in us and want what's best for us."
After the teams were introduced, senior Garrin Rose took the mic and led the crowd in organized cheers.
“I was trying to give an example that we’re in this together and we’re doing this as one school—one community. It’s supposed to be fun, not just for the players but also for the people watching,” Rose said.
Rose “was riling everybody up as if we were in a game, so I think that kind of bonded everybody to get in the spirit of rooting for our teams,” Spivey said.
The pep rally was a good reminder for students that, “you’re not coming so that [the team] can perform for you. You’re coming so that you can also be cheering, and partake in our desire to serve God and glorify Him in competition,” Reily said.
Upperclassmen on the teams have noticed a distinct advantage to having a loud student section at home games. “I think that if we keep doing [rallies], then the home-court advantage will really shine through. ‘Cause that’s the goal of getting a bunch of students out to the bleachers and making noise against the other team. It really helps the players and just the whole atmosphere,” said Christopher Ziemnick, a junior on the men’s team.
After the cheers, the students were dismissed for a raffle game and food. The school also reintroduced a surprise guest—the school’s mascot, Cincinnatus!
“The people who showed up were very enthusiastic. I think it did help to boost team spirit and team morale,” DeVore said. “I would call it a successful pep rally.”
Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.